" No one ever asked me how it felt to be me, but when I told the truth about that; I felt free!" -The Help

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My Testimony

Believe it or not I am going on the youth mission trip this summer. Yikes! One of the requirements for participation is that we write our testimony. Apparently sleeping with the youth pastor being an adult sponsor does not exempt one from this requirement. I have written my testimony before for mission trips so I thought it would be easy. I was wrong. None the less here it is....My Testimony:

As I began reflecting on my testimony and how I would ever convey my spiritual journey in less than 30 pages I began reading the testimony I wrote 6 years ago before the Taiwan mission trip. As I read what God was showing me 6 years ago, I was in awe of how His story of love was still being written in my life.  In fact, I can see so clearly how God had been preparing my heart THEN for what He is doing in my heart NOW.
I was blessed to have been raised in a loving Christian home where my story with Christ began.  My family was very active in our church and I was surrounded by the love of Christian mentors growing up. I had heard all my life that God had a plan for me but it was never a reality to me until the summer before my sophomore year of high school. That summer I was involved in a serious car accident. I remember being in the Emergency room when the doctor told my family and I that there must have been “someone” watching over me, because I should have never survived the accident. From that time on, I felt strongly that the Lord had a plan for my life, because after all if He didn’t He could have just taken me then.
 I got through the drama of my high school years and began school at NNC. (Yes, I am that old).  My only two rules for finding a husband were that he must never have worked at McDonald’s and he can’t be a ministry major.  Life lesson #45, “Never say ‘Never’ to God.”  Lesson learned. Two months after arriving on campus I met Johnny. In our first conversation I revealed to him my two qualifications for a husband. So, he kept those two “little” things about himself a secret for several months as we dated and he attempted to be the “exception”.  It worked. In 2000, I made Johnny a happy man and said, “I do”. I slowly began to get involved with the youth group at college church and God began to create a love for students in my heart that I never could have imagined. God shaped my heart in a way I never thought was possible; it was all part of his master plan.
I continued to believe Gods plan was being fulfilled in my life, until 2005. After TWO, count them TWO resident years at College Church I was as far away from God as I had ever been. I remember reminding God over and over again that He had promised He had a plan for us. Because, you know...sometimes He needs reminders, right?  I told Johnny that I didn’t believe God has a plan for our lives.  We hadn’t felt led to a church after several interviews and I was beginning to think maybe God was going to grant my wish to never be in ministry. But as you know...that is the not the end of the story. In fact, Gods plan for our life was bigger than our wildest dreams. The events that have led us to stay at College church are not coincidental. Here we are…12 years later, still at College Church. Talk about a plan bigger than our wildest dreams. 
Today, I stand before you as a wife, a mommy, a professional, a pastor’s wife, a friend, and a daughter of the King.  Becoming a parent has been a challenge for me.  I have found myself in unknown territory and am constantly trying to figure out how to direct my children to the feet of Jesus when I myself am not always there.  The last 4 years have proven to be difficult for me. I have come to realize just how broken I am.  I have been forced to survey what is really important in life and to cling to those things with all my soul. There are days I go to bed and can see so clearly the plan God is still unfolding in our lives.  And then there are days I go to bed and wonder what in the world we were ever thinking being in ministry. We have experienced some major changes in our life and ministry in recent months, but God has been so faithful while I asked questions and prayed we were doing the right things.  I have been reminded of the faithfulness of God to place people in my life that I need at just the right time. I have been blessed with an amazing family and one-of-a-kind friends. I am so thankful for a husband who loves me no matter what. 
I am excited to be going to San Francisco this summer.  It would not be possible without the help of some amazing family members who will be watching my boys – thank you!.  It has been 5 years since I have been on a mission trip with students.   Whew! We’ll see how this goes.

Friday, May 4, 2012

HOLY! Week

Well, well, look at that…another month has passed and look who hasn’t blogged. I feel like a broken record when I say “things have been crazy around here,” but it’s the truth.

Holy week came and went. It seems to do that every year. What’s the deal with Holy Week anyway? I think it should be re-named “Satan attacks families in ministry” week. Seriously.

Holy Week is like Super Bowl week for pastors. It starts with the setting up of the “Stations of the Cross” on Monday, moves to rehearsal for the week’s events on Tuesday night, shopping for the all church Easter breakfast on Wednesday night, conducting the Maundy Thursday service on Thursday night, Good Friday service on Friday night, all church Easter egg hunt, soccer game, family Easter celebration on Saturday, making breakfast for the entire church on Sunday morning, Easter sunrise service, Sunday school, church service, company for lunch, and….collapsing. Oh, and I forgot to mention, anything that could possibly go wrong in life probably will. You know, like the offer on your house that has been up for sale for 6 months is denied, your son has a major, heartbreaking issue at daycare and oh yes…Jazbar’s death. How ironic is that? Jazbar died on Good Friday. It’s a good thing I have a sense of humor or I might have been a little creeped out by the symbolism of that. (Sidenote: If you don’t know who Jazbar is please read my Jazbar post.)

Needless to say, by about Wednesday I was one tired mama. By the looks of the face book posts of many of my friends in ministry, I was not the only one feeling that way! I was fading fast and was in the beginning stages of bitterness. I had shared with my sister that I didn’t think people in the church (any church) realize the sacrifices families in ministry make during Holy Week. You know what her response was? She told me something I will never forget. She told me that she thinks I am exactly right, that people don’t understand the sacrifices ministry families make, but she said she is SO glad they don’t. Huh??! What does that mean? She went on to tell me how she thinks it is a good thing that people don’t know the sacrifices made because it might cause them to feel guilty or take away from their Holy Week experience. I mean, if I knew the service I was enjoying was at the sacrifice of a family’s time together I don’t think I would be able to fully experience the joy of the service. Further, she reminded me that the reason we are in ministry is to provide a meaningful place for people to meet Jesus face to face. Isn’t that the truth???

Once again, I stand reminded of the reason we are on this crazy journey called ministry. The days when I am feeling like “no one understands” I quietly remind myself...”and that’s probably a good thing.” I never want my temporary feelings of being overwhelmed to affect someone’s eternal experience of meeting Jesus face to face in a service. I am sure I will need many more reminders throughout this journey. In fact, I might just set a task to read this post on the Wednesday of Holy Week every year.