This has been a crazy year and once again I’ve fallen behind on posting.
So much has happened since April 8th 2016, the last time I wrote.
We hired a Pastor of Young Adults and Student ministries which has been great. The Neigenfind family joined us in ministry and extended Student Ministries to include Young Adults.
We also have hired an Adult Ministry Pastor and the Olson family has enriched this community so much already.
I finally had time to catch up on all the required reading for my Consecration requirements with the C&MA!! (Whoohoo!! Free at last!)
For two weeks all I did was read.
It was a challenge, but ultimately so rewarding.
I did my share of procrastinating and brought a lot of the pressure on myself, but it is hard to justify sitting down and reading when the team went from 3 down to 1 in the Student Ministry department.
I like to jump headfirst into things and that is so easy to do in a ministry that never stops. Meeting with leaders, parents and students took precedence to reading required theological focused books.
Life on life ministry is vital in a youth department, but so is staying in the word and being solid on theology.
Life was an unbalanced chaos for quite a while, but I’m happy to say it has since become more balanced.
Like a boat blown over by wind and waves, I’ve been righting myself and bailing out the seawater and stress I allowed to seep in.
I completed all the reading and benefited from the two week intensive.
I’ve never read such large chunks of scripture in one sitting before and so was never benefited with the perspective it brings.
It is one thing to be familiar with certain passages in their isolation, but it is quite another to see the thread woven through the entire bible first hand. Or to see the chronological order of what I previously viewed as isolated incidents.
For instance, I’ve read the account of Joshua and Jericho. I never paid much attention to Joshua’s solemn oath in Joshua 6:26-27 where he states that anyone who “undertakes to rebuild this city, Jericho” will be cursed and that “at the cost of his firstborn son he will lay its foundations; at the cost of his youngest he will set up its gates.”
But it is hard to ignore when later you read in 1 Kings 16:34 that Hiel of Bethel “rebuilt Jericho. He laid its foundations at the cost of his firstborn son Abiram, and he set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, in accordance with the word of the Lord spoken by Joshua son of Nun.”
Sometimes I still see bible stories in flannel graph images in my head, a throw back to Sunday School lessons. Thankfully as I’ve grown I’ve been continuously reminded that the Bible is a historic account of God working people’s lives and the flannel graphs have been replaced with images of real, living people.
The common thread of God’s continued revelation, patience and love being poured out on people is astounding. Reading through the Old Testament and continually seeing “scarlet yarn and hyssop” being used with a spotless sacrifice to cleanse kept nagging at my mind.
Hyssop… hyssop… What is the deal with hyssop?
Fast forward to Christ’s crucifixion in John 19:29, Jesus is given a wine vinegar soaked in a sponge that was tied to the stalk of the hyssop plant.
God kept giving spoilers all throughout the Old Testament of what He was doing to redeem humanity. We see them because we see the whole story, but I wonder how much this resonated with the Jews in the day, who knew the Law and saw Jesus crucified.
God wasn’t too subtle about any of it. There were recorded miracles in the Old Testament that were full previews of what Jesus would do.
So while reading is sometimes a luxury I don’t always feel free to engage in, it is a necessity. I need to constantly be reminded of the Bigger story at work. This isn’t God’s first time around the block revealing what He is doing. He is laying so much of it out in the open, inviting us to discover Him and what He is up to.
I was given a book by my mentor, one that she said altered the way she views God.
She has been walking through my ministry journey for quite some time and has traveled the road before me as a woman in ministry.
I am forever thankful for the women God has surrounded me with, from my mother, sister, sister-in-law, relatives, teachers in school, friends in life, co-workers, counselors and life mentors. They have all had an impact that will forever ripple out from my life and the lives around me.
Thankfully they all encourage and share the revelations and blessings God has unleashed in their lives. The most recent unleashed revelation was this book, With: Reimagining the Way you Relate to God. It is by a man named Skye Jethani and he addresses the fact that we have missed the invitation to be with God because we have gotten stuck and wrapped up in living life under, over, from, or for God.
It took me a while to finish the book, trying to saver every bit of it, but even within the first few pages it had already rattled some unhealthy views I’ve ascribed myself to when it comes to life with God. Needless to say, I highly recommend this book!
Now I’m reading The Emotionally Healthy Leader by Peter Scazzero in preparation to an upcoming District Conference with the Alliance. I’m only two chapters in and it is again rattling unhealthy patterns and habits I’ve defaulted.
I’m a reader but ever since college I haven’t been as much of a book lover as I once was. Hooked on Phonics worked for me and I grew up reading constantly. But then come papers, huge reading loads of dry text books and I found myself skimming. With my two week reading purge for the Consecration requirements I fell back into really reading once more. My roommate questioned when I became a bit of a hermit, hunkering down to get all of my reading done so that I could spend more time reading. I laughed because it was true, but now I can read at my own pace and not because of an overwhelming deadline! I’m thankful for the refreshing time enjoying reading and learning out of a drive for personal development and not an assigned reason!
Time has flown by and so much has happened, but so much is still the same.
I’m still living in Florida working as Youth Director. I’m still following/stumbling after God in this journey of life. I’ve grown and learned so much since April 2016. I’ve weathered a lot, both literally (Hello Hurricanes) and figuratively. Thankfully God is still the same today as He has always been.
Thanks for following the journey even when the updates aren’t regular!