In my former life (a.k.a. yesterday), I would have first written about all of the breakthroughs my students have been having at camp this week. I would have written about the teenagers that I didn’t know very well prior to our trip, who are now making fun of me, laughing, and smiling (because at this event, I have become their youth pastor). Maybe I would have mentioned that one young girl, Hailey, met God for the first time. Or perhaps I would have described the tears of freedom and joy that Erin cried when she let go of her pain and asked God to take it. And, I will write about these things because they are the most important things I get to be a part of—they are the reason why we are in ministry today. But I can’t share the heartbeats of the students I’m doing life with unless I’m able share about my own struggles and breakthroughs.
For the three people who read my blog, you’ll notice that I’ve changed the title of it more than once. OK, more than a few times. I’ve been like the sand shifting with the winds of change and trends and “good marketing”. Ugghhh. It’s uncomfortable to admit this because I know that I’m a chamelion in so many ways. I thrive on new ideas, on new themes, on metaphors and symbols that define who people are (including myself). That’s why I’ve gone from having the “Lotus” blog…to the “Lotus Christian” blog…to the “Youth Ministry Notes” blog…and so on….
Tonight–as I write this blog at 2 AM—, I want to humbly reclaim “Lotus Christian” because somewhere, when I wasn’t watching, it got lost.
It’s a long story, so here’s the skinny version.
I came to camp to be with my students, to pray with them, to do all the things a good pastor should do. But God was broadcasting some things into my heart that prepared me for tonight’s message, for tonight’s worship.
For so many months (actually years), I have been perpetually trying to prove my worth. I’ve been trying to be THE quintessential youth pastor. I’ve been trying to show everyone that they’ve got us women all wrong. It’s been hard enough to stay in ministry, let alone try to do something great.
So I wrote a book. Some girls that I really respect and admire even said it was pretty good. But writing a book or being successful in that way isn’t delivering immediate “results”. So, I helped this person and I helped that person. I said “yes” to so many people (even when Doug Field’s told me I should say “no” more often). I spent more hours at work and less hours with students. I’m firing every piston and looking for every inroad to validate the ministry that I feel like I’ve given up so much for.
When, all along, God has been calling me to surrender. I don’t need what I’ve been looking for. God will use me to make me a light–pain, screw-ups, pride, and all–God will use this vessel for His glory.
Louie Giglio was our camp pastor this week. I didn’t take a single note of what he shared (which is really sort of weird for an anal type A note-taking type like myself). But his words broke through to me tonight in a rush of clarity. God wants to make Christ’s name renown in my life, by way of joy or suffering, God–if we ask him to–will make himself known through us.
Tomlin’s song spoke to my heart:
Jesus Messiah…Shine your light and let the whole world see…We’re singing, for the glory of the risen King…
Writing this out makes the reality of what’s going on my heart seem so flat and unreal. But the knowledge that God has granted me tonight has changed me forever.
The cause that has been in my heart since I was seventeen years old cries out. The lotus flower is the metaphor of my life and calling to ministry. God is making all things new as we watch God alive in history redeeming humankind and creation to himself. God is able to call the purest things out of the mud and the disaster. God can do anything.
I’m rambling at this point but it’s a start., just sharing what’s going on…one baby step towards authenticity. I’m praying for gratitude, for meekness, for a broken heart for the things that I used to go nuts about. There’s so much to do.
I feel like this is only the beginning of how God is going to use our family…
Thanks Louie for allowing God to use you. Thanks Chris for being faithful. Thanks God for reminding me of the person you’ve been wanting to use all along.
More about our amazing and wonderful students to come…