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"Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick,
    but a sudden good break can turn life around. "

I've found that it's always in the exposure of vulnerability that I find wings. When the days are long and spirits are low, it's there that my God comforts me.

Frankly, it's been a pretty awful year. I'm a people person to a fault, and days alone leave me gloomy.

In Nashville, I was in a community where my 'people fix' was at an all time high - a constant flow of friends, coffee, students to mentor, concerts, dreams, dates with my sister, and slumber parties. I think most people would get frustrated with being at work around the clock, but my work was like breathing, and it left my heart light. My co-workers were my very best friends and we were all chasing after a common vision. We were a framily, and I slept hard at night and rose with joy in the morning. Then I left. 

Somewhere along the lines I got it muddled. Being a pastor became about me and my glory, and I started to care more about my own significance than building God's kingdom. I started to like the sounds of compliments and praises so much that when the sounds of disagreement came my knees buckled. My strength wasn't found in knowing that God was my peace - instead my peace and my sanity became about whether or not my students, their parents, and my coworkers liked me and believed in me. YIKES!

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. - the apostle Paul

My work had become about me, and so in a "your ROD and STAFF they comfort me" moment, it was gone. The Lord called me out of Lancaster, and it definitely felt like in His loving kindness, He was disciplining me. Yes, moving me on to new adventures (seminary), but in reality I think leaving Tennessee was more about taking a hatchet to my pride than anything else.

In the months to follow, my heart grew sick. So many silly, insecure, and frustrating questions pounding my mind daily. Was I significant? What was I made for? Was I wrong about ministry? Did I mishear the Lord? How long would I be unseen? Did I matter? It's amazing how quickly you shrivel up when you're fill comes from man.

Something else happened too, in the midst of those dark days. Suddenly, my time was spent studying. I was studying the Word, and the word became life. In the fall I got to journey through the Old Testament and sat under an Anglican priest, who was more like a father. His gentle, patient exegesis (unpacking) of the Old Testament was like healing ointment. He would ask, "What is the Old Testament about?" and "What are God's people called to do and be?". He did so with kindness, knowing some of us might be asking "What am I called to do and be?". We sang ancient hymns, and my heart began to mend. In time, I would learn that among many things, that God was a good, good father. That He was still for me. And that He loved me so much He wouldn't allow it all to become about me. 

Selfishness like shrapnel began to leave my body. I began to remember that ministry was about loving God's people - and that loving God's people was ultimately about loving God. God was at the center, and everything else flowed out. It wasn't about me. It wasn't even about them. It was about Him. 


JOURNEY TO WAREHOUSE242

Sometime before Christmas I was mopping around, and Daniel said, "I think the Lord is going to put you back in ministry". He did a simple google search, and thanks to the good people over at Youth Cartel, I found out that a wonderful church in town, Warehouse242, was hiring a youth director. I knew about Warehouse242 because the pastor spoke at a chapel service at my school. I kind of muttered that I wasn't sure about it but inside I felt a little flicker of life. I had spent the last 6 months up to that point gutting out my heart, and wanted to make sure that I was moving forward for the right reasons.

Daniel sat with me, and started an application, but I didn't think much about it. 

The next day after leaving a lecture, a student we hadn't met before ran after us. He had a huge smile and said he wanted to get to know us. He was friendly, and warm, and before long we started swapping stories. Without any initiation on our part, he told us that a church in town, Warehouse242, was looking for a youth pastor. He didn't know that I was interested in the position, and with big, blinking eyes Daniel and I starting to wonder if God was up to something. 

We get in the car and sweet Daniel surprises me with a date clear across town to go walk around a big mall I hadn't been to. It was a Saturday night and packed to the brim (pre Christmas shopping). In the sea of endless shoppers, Daniel and I recognized a fellow classmate working at a pop-up shop in the middle of the mall. His eyes were aglow with recognition, and before long we were putting together that we were in the same class. Within three minutes flat he told us that his other job was as the...interrum youth director at Warehouse242. We asked him more about the position, and he gladly and openly explained that they were looking for a full-time position and he was interested in other areas of ministry. He encouraged me to apply. Again, was God lining something up? 

I applied. Heard back. Spent the next several weeks meeting and falling in love with the search committee. The search committee experience was like nothing I'd ever walked through before. The team was warm, loving, and seemed to want to get to know me as a person. We met often, over dinners, and I would often get text messages or emails from various team members just to let me know they were praying over me and for me. I had an instant connection with one of the teammates whose friendship has already become so dear to me, and throughout the entire process I just felt the goodness and kindness of God washing over me. 

In the meantime I was still applying for other jobs, and trying to not give my heart away quickly. It was impossible. Even though I had been so anxious about stepping back into ministry my heart came alive. I got to meet the students and pretty soon my head was swimming with dreams. 

The day that I went in for my last interview Daniel got a Facetime call from a group of core students at LCA. All was well, they were just checking in to say hi. Something about that sweet call made me realize that they were okay, that God had them on a path, that I was just a part of their long journey, and that in the end, God is so faithful to complete every good work that He starts. 

I accepted the position at Warehouse242 and starting Monday, will be their full-time youth director. I'm so full of hope, excitement, and joy in starting this leg of my race. In the few months of praying that led up to this choice, I sensed that God had finished my sentence for me. Hope deferred makes the heart grow sick....but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. 

When I left Tennessee, my hope was in being known. 

Now my hope is in God being known. 

I finally realized my longing, and my sick heart, would never be healed through the praise of man. That my tree of life is God being made known. He is my fill. He is my peace. He is my all in all.

And ministry - that's just an overflow. 


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