Visions of youth ministry have always played large parts in my adult life.
I think it comes of the fact that, despite my introverted ways, I longed to reach out to help those who’d hurt like me.
Now, there were several opportunities in the “traditional” molds over the years. For a while there, it seemed it would be THE mission.
Most chances were dashed to bits, however. Often the catalyst was immaturity– my marriage’s, my first husband’s, and, yes, much to my chagrin, my own. 🙄
Following our separation and eventual divorce, I drew big red lines through such dreams like mistaken passages in a manuscript.
Obviously, I was wrong about the call on my life. Apparently, I didn’t do anybody any good, least of all myself.
I adapted my hopes to teaching toddlers, but that was more or less so my children and I could continue to have a roof over our heads.
Ministry was no longer really on my mind then.
Though, looking back seven years after my retirement from the classroom, I see that the way God allowed me to love on those kids was, in fact, ministry…
And that brings me to the point I wish to make now. But, first, a little further background. Bear with me, folks 😉:
Nearly eight years ago, I found myself sinking in the mire of online dating and a gripping depression I’d not experienced since the earliest days of single motherhood.
I was near to throwing out my profile and, honestly, my computer altogether when God allowed me to see one more profile-the unique and Godly man who eventually said “I do” to me and the hectic world a single mom of special needs kids naturally inhabits. Not just “I do”, really, but an “I do” replete with generosity and good humor. 😊
He, too, had seen much pain, some of it in ways similar to my own, some in ways I can never fully imagine despite the years of knowing his story ( Would love to tell it here at some point with his permission. 🙂).
Anyway…safe to say the Lord came through as only He can, offering us a second chance at love!
Ah, but not just in marriage. But, also, as it turns out, in co-laborers who have a yearning to minister, especially to the young.
So… suddenly, there was a rebirth of old dreams, a uniting of one another’s.
Oh, it wasn’t necessarily a let’s-drop-everything-and-go-to-seminary stirring.
He was a truck driver in those days; I found myself rather quickly a stay-at-home mom out of necessity.
But, there was that knowing there was something He had for us to do together.
We didn’t know exactly how or when, but we felt sure of a call.
Many events tumbled out over the years. A blending of families, a dilapidated country home, job loss, a business begun, a lot of writing…
And yet, no definitive answer to the question of ministering seemed to show itself.
We had hopes of a property behind us being transformed into a big youth center, but lack of money and an abundance of windstorms begged to differ. 🙂
Oh, we’d volunteer at children’s church, sometimes VBS.
In the last two years, we have even begun pitching in with our small community youth group.
Mostly doing the meals and clean up after, occasionally taking the opportunity to share some testimony, as well as lending our middle son to percussion for our rather modest worship time.
Doesn’t necessarily sound like everything we dreamt of.
What constitutes a ministry, anyway?
Is it a state-of-the-art building?
A worship band complete with strobe lights and smoke machines?
Is it crowds of teens enthralled by your words?
An activity-filled roster or a fancy camp to take them to?
Or…. is it simply meeting the ones He brings to you where they are?
Feeding the bodies of busy latch- key kiddos and listening to the anxieties of the day?
Giving them an encouragement from scripture for the week?
Supplying them a new song to sing to the Lord?
A phone number to call or an open door to knock on when those anxieties crop up beyond their capabilities to deal?
Ah. The seemingly small acts of life. 🙂 But, all necessary components in His kingdom, I am learning.
For, you see, beyond the Wednesday to Wednesday, this dilapidated house of ours has become a lot less than the Green Acres it was ( literally, thanks to my handy husband ☺️) and more the place for drop-ins.
A safe space to have a cookie.
Not to mention jam sessions, acting lessons, building projects, and, best of all, deep Biblical discussions. ☺️
Many things I love to be sure, but things that don’t really look like the norm of ministry or what I expected His call on us might mean.
Even a few things, despite the love I just professed, that the introverted me has had to make room for at times, to be honest!
But, suffice to say, I am finding He will direct us to the places He can use us most and equip us for the call, whatever it looks like.
When we are obedient to answer the need knocking on our door, that is. 😉
What needs are knocking at your door, friends? I pray we can all discover what they are and seek His strength to answer. God bless!