He was a fast bugger...but we were determined. Little did the he know we had a beast of our own waiting in the wings.
You're going down now Beast! We laugh at your attempt to escape! We speak your name with contempt! We scratch at you in the manner of the animal kingdom. You. Are. Finished....or are you?
We have conquered the beast! He shrinks away from our attacks. The only thing we fear is licking the slime ridden leaf we used for capture. (ok, well...that only bothers mommy)
The worm..eh-hm..BEAST is done for.
Moral of the story: On occasion sacrifices have to be made for knowledge...or at least a toddler's curiosity. Our apologies to the entire worm population and the offense they may feel upon viewing this film.
This is our last summer as official youth pastors. It's hard to believe, really. I'm sure as our church plant is still in its infancy we will be deeply involved with youth next summer, but it's not going to be our main focus any longer. It's strange. Students have been our life. We have had our hearts broken by them, our fill of fun with them, our house brought to life by them, a renewed understanding of grace through them and a solid belief in hope established for them.
While I am more than ready to move out of youth ministry, I will never ever be one that says it wasn't worth it. I have LOVED being in the youth ministry. I have LOVED how passionate teenagers are about EVERYTHING. I have really really loved seeing some of our students grow up to be faithful, passionate, generous adults who are now raising their own kids to love Jesus.
So, this summer, as I begin to complain about our crazy schedule I will stop myself. I'll treasure the hilarious/delirious moments that are sure to happen during fundraisers. I'll savor every life-changing, albeit late night, prayer whispered at camp. I'll relish in the texts and emails about the latest friend-lationships. I'll pour out words of hope and belief with joy.
I'm overwhelmingly excited for all of the new experiences to come as a lead pastor's wife, but there is a bit of me that is sad to close the youth chapter of our lives. So, bring on the summer (with the appropriate weather, please) and the crazy schedules! Bring on the teens and their crazy lives! I'm ready.
Bear (endure, carry) one another's burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete what is lacking [in your obedience to it]. Galatians 6:2 (amplified bible)I have read this verse over and over my entire life and until the past year I thought it simply meant when people were in need or sad we were to support them. I now realize it means much much more. We are to bear, endure and carry one another's burdens and the things we don't like. This is easier said than done to say the least.
Over the past two years some of the relationships I hold most dear have crumbled. These are people who know who Jesus is, people who have experienced His love and grace and celebrated His victories. Yet, circumstances shocked, choices were made, hurts accumulated and old defenses were shouted over the whisper of Holy Spirit. They ran and my heart waits, heavy and troubled.
I have experienced the spectrum of grief including anger. My body has felt the physical ache of loss and the weight of wondering. I could spread my hurt. I could let it turn bitter and sour on my tongue. I could let it fester in my mind and lead to general distrust.
There are other options. I could obey God's word and bear it. Endure it. I could carry the shadows of people I once knew deeply and pray, covering with love. I could ask for a heart like the One who has had to bear, endure and carry my choices, defenses and hiding all the way to the cross. By grace, this I choose.
Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, Doesn't have a swelled head, Doesn't force itself on others, Isn't always "me first," Doesn't fly off the handle, Doesn't keep score of the sins of others, Doesn't revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end. 1 Corinthians 13 (the message)
How did this happen you say? Welp...it all started with this post. I needed help. I needed motivation. I needed an inner Billy Mays to smack me with a shamwow and snap me out of my apathy. Like magic, this post appeared in my beautifully organized google reader (yes...my closet is messy and my google is organized..priorities people!). The entire post is full of good stuff and fantastic links to other posts that have helped me tremendously. One point, however, stood in large bold typeface above the others and it was this point that I believe pushed me around that last corner toward a complete about face. Are you ready to read it? Are you sure?
This past week we also officially decided to become a part of Growing Healthy Churches Network. They are awesome! Brian and I went through there assessment this past January (in order to find out if we were crazy enough to do this whole church planting thing) and I fell in love with the leaders and their passion for church planters and the spread of the gospel. A few weeks ago we had a regional cluster with other church planters and I was again reminded why I'm thankful for GHCN. It's a weird and insanely hard thing to do, church planting, and it's great to meet and pray with other people who know exactly what this strange role is like.
Beyond the house and church stuff, we have one great big little thing keeping us on our toes...ELLI! She has officially learned to walk (WHEW! Barely made that 15 month old mark) and has decided that this walking business gives license to get into everything that was once off limits. Yep. This morning Brian caught her in the cupboard under the sink chewing on a banana peel she had pulled out of the garbage (YUCK!). We had only been out of the kitchen for less than 15 seconds! Needless to say I've been scouring every parenting book I own for strategies to keep her occupied and me sane. On the flip side I've never met a funnier toddler. A day doesn't go by that I don't crack up at one of her funny little quirks. Here are a couple peeks at what Miss Elli has been up to lately...
PS...uh...daddy was in charge of Elli's hair in video #2...