I remember when I first started in ministry. I had lots of naysayers, including people in my family. I was not the one expected to commit to full time ministry. That job was reserved for my much more “religious” brother who didn't commit as many sins as I did. Working in children's ministry was one of the only places in my life that made any sense at the time. Besides being a mom, it was the only thing that came natural and that I was good at.
Regardless of the comments from the doubters, I knew it was where I needed to be. But it didn't come without consequence or mistakes. I was so overwhelmed at that time in my life, trying to balance it all and be it all for Jesus that I lost a really great friend, and unfortunately hurt her in the process. I gave up opportunities to work elsewhere making more money, which as a single mom I needed.
No longer was I, or am I, able to make “gut” or logical decisions about my future. Every move I make or don't make involves prayer and more prayer and wise counsel, and often times tears. Me being in ministry has put my entire family in frustrating positions and financial difficulties.
Ha! I'm obviously not the salesman of the year when it comes to convincing you that ministry is awesome! Oh but it is! All of those sacrifices and struggles are worth it when you hear a teenager pray for the first time, or a kid run up to you and hug your leg on Sunday morning. When the kids in the neighborhood want to know when you will start a Bible study for them, and when teenagers don't want to move because youth group is so important to them. Then there are the proclaimed atheists who now know this Jesus that adores them. And the addicts who know that Jesus is the only answer.
It is just that in times like these, when me and my husband must make a hard decision where we don't seem to win either way, it is so hard not to feel guilty. Ministry is not just a sacrifice for me, but for my husband, for my children. I am so incredibly grateful that the sacrifice Jesus made was enough for my family to be 'all in.' But it is hard to swallow that in order for me to pursue what Jesus has for me, my husband must take a second job to support our family or work countless hours of overtime.
Ministry has these moments when you and your family must come together, completely unified, with faith in God that He will make all things right. It is ugly and beautiful all at once.
Don't give up.
What are some sacrifices you've made for ministry? Comment and let me know.
Wednesday brought me great excitement. I hadn't seen my Hoodies in a few weeks so I was ready to have a house full of teenagers along with my counters covered in red solo cups. I decided that I would teach these kids a little about Christmas. My plan: quickly go over the Christmas story and then talk about how Jesus was a long awaited promise, and answer to prayer. I planned on digging into prophecy until…
I learned that 80% of the kids in my living room did not know the real reason behind Christmas. I will wait until you read that last statement again, because I know you are overwhelmed with disbelief. …. ….. ….. ….. …. …..
On to plan B (which I never had to begin with) Open the Bible and start with Mary getting pregnant. So we chatted, and decided that we are not much different: chosen, but scared, favored in need of making a choice. For the first time, they understood the Christmas carols they have been singing for years. And finally knew that the words were “Silent Night, Holy Night” and NOT “Silent Night, HOPELESS Night”.
After the Hoodies left and the shock of the evening subsided, I thought of how many people out in the world don't really know why we celebrate Christmas. So as my family and I rage against the man this Christmas, I believe Jesus wants me to share the real reason for Christmas this year with strangers, family and friends.
So now, I am praying God will bring people across my path, divine appointments so to speak. And this weekend I will empower and equip my kids to share the story of Christmas with everyone they know.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, that whoever shall believe in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. God sent his son not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17
“Is this where you tell us we can't afford Christmas presents this year?”
That was the first question when I sat the kids down in front of the tree last night. We had just had great fun decorating and being silly. I quickly calmed their fears,”No, you will get presents this year. But I do want to talk to you about Christmas.”
We talked about the insane Black Friday video and the behavior of this world. We talked about prople and what they consider normal. I am blessed, and proud to say, that my kids do NOT think the Christmas crazy is normal.
“I want this year to be different. I want every year from now on to be different. I want Christmas to be about family, about creating memories, about serving others and about Jesus!”
We spent time coming up with ideas and here are some of them:
- Drive around and look at lights with hot apple ciders of course
- Spend time at Barnes and Noble
- When we go to Texas, bless the residents at my grandfathers nursing home by putting treats on their doors
- Wrap presents at the salvation army
- Find a creative way to bless people at the airport when we are traveling
- Eat at Cracker Barrell and look around at the Christmas store
- Visit downtown San Antonio
Most importantly we spent time in prayer asking God to open our hearts and change our lives. We prayed for daily opportunities to bless others, and that we would be willing to listen. We asked for an abundance so that we can rock people's world for Jesus by buying blankets for the homeless, and giving needy families money or groceries, or being able to pay for someone's meal.
As a mom, my prayer is that my kids would willingly forfeit their “rights” to new perfume or a pair of headphones in order to buy those blankets, or give that money, or buy that meal. I am living in great expectation that my kids will get so much more out of this Christmas season than America can offer. They will have no other God or Idol, they will see Jesus for who He says He is, and live their lives in awe of Him with a heart for His people.
It is going to be a great Christmas! Stay Tuned!
So I am toying with this idea–like always. The question over and over in my head for the last week or so is this: how do I create an environment in my home centered on Christ?
I know, you’re shocked. My home is not centered on Christ? Of all people? A children’s and student minister? What has this world come to? It’s people like me who ruin the sanctity of all things Christian family.
Oh Please! I know of way too many pastors whose own kids don’t even read the Bible at home, and barely pray with their family. Why do you think Pastor’s Kids have such a horrible reputation?
In reality, I live in a Christ centered home. We pray together, I have random Scripture posted all over my house–even behind the bathroom door. We talk of things Jesus, I encourage my kids to show his love, be his light. But there are a few things missing, and I’m ready to change that:
- Bible reading time
- Intentional, Holy Spirit led prayer time
- Focus on doing God’s will in our everyday life–especially at school.
So starting this week, I am going to initiate a mandatory time with the Lord. Lots of people oppose this, saying we should not force our kids to read the Bible. We shouldn’t force our kids to be Christians. We shouldn’t make our kids do anything they don’t want to do.
But I make them brush their teeth, and take showers. I make them go to school–horrible ones at that. I make them hug each other when they are mad. I make them do all sorts of things because I feel it teaches them to be societal-accepting adults.
My kids do homework, and work hard to get good grades, so they can get a “good education” and prove to the world how smart they are. The other night, my daughter spent 30 minutes completing homework on evolution, a theory that opposes the very creation of people by a loving God. A theory that is opposed to what we believe as a Christian family.
This world is falling apart, my kids need to be saturated with the Spirit if they are truly going to make a difference in their sphere of influence. My kids need to know what the Bible says about all things controversial. My kids need to be the light in the darkness, and that starts by striking a match.
I expect whining and opposition. I expect several reasons why they CANNOT read the Bible on a daily basis. I expect apathy, and frustration. I expect, “Do I have to?” To which I will simply reply, “Yes, you HAVE to.”
What do you think? How do you view “mandatory” Bible time with kids and in families? What do you do to keep your family submerged in Jesus?
I have all these kids that come to my house on Wednesdays. We call it Uth. I feed them, we play games, and sit around my living room (usually piled on top of each other) and talk about life, and what the Bible says and why it’s true.
So many of them don’t think it’s true. So many of them think anything can be true. They think whatever works for you is ok. They don’t think. I’m certain that’s the problem.
There is this constant state of confusion. So many of them don’t see anything wrong with their lives, their choices. They don’t see their need for Jesus. So last week when half of them raised their hands that they didn’t really believe that Jesus was the only way I became nauseous. I told my testimony of why Jesus is MY only way and how I KNOW that no other self-proclaimed god would rescue me, transform me, love me.
I went to bed that night convinced that what I am doing is not enough. My heart was in a frenzy, my head spinning, I had to do more, be more convincing, persuade them. For a week I contemplated, pondered, even considered everything I’m doing as completely meaningless.
This morning I said, “Jesus, what should I do. How can I convince them?”
He said, “That is not your job. Your job is to give them truth. My job is to show them that it is true.”
I want every child who walks out of my door on Wednesday to understand the tremendous love and grace and justice of Jesus. But if they don’t, it’s not my problem. In fact, I’m certain Jesus doesn’t see it as a problem he sees it as just another seed planted that he will water and nurture and grow to His perfection.
So tonight, I will pull up my overalls, throw on my rain boots and trek into the garden of precious kids, some sprouting, some blooming. But I will nourish them with the truth, give them a few hugs and wait for Jesus’ love to overwhelm them so they can no longer be contained in their seed.
Pray for us, would you?