Well maybe I should begin at the beginning. Not the beginning of time that would take forever or the beginning of me that is starting to get too long but the beginning of my adult hood, relationship with Brian and ministry.
Some of you know this story, I honestly can't remember exactly who I tell what to (think how great this is going to be when I get beginning stages alzemiers) and I'll try to make it brief. I ended up going to GLCC because I didn't "feel" God leading me any where and I knew people who went there and had a potential room mate who was both nice and clean. It took me two years before I even declared a major because I didn't know what to do. I also started dating this really cute boy with deep brown eyes and wonderful wavy hair, he was going to be a minister. I did not want to be a minister's wife in any way shape or form (especially hair shape, big and poofy). Even at nineteen years old I was wise enough to understand that you can't marry some one with out also marrying their calling from God. To try and pull them away from that only leads to bitterness, resentment, and hurt. So I had a decision, marry the man I love and embrace his work as my own (for those of you who don't know if you are in professional ministry it permeates every thing and it is a family affair even if only one person's name is on the paycheck) or move on pursue my goals and dreams even though I wasn't sure what those were. So pretty much God and I fought about it for a year (and I didn't get my way imagine that).
Finally my desire to be with Brian for the rest of my life, coupled with the fact that I was beginning to love the Bible in a whole new way led me to say "fine God, I trust you; I trust that you know best I will make this sacrifice for you." (feel free to insert early adult hood dramatic martyrdom into that "sacrifice for you bit"). Almost immediately after marrying Brian God began to show me how much I loved ministry, how cool it is, how neat teen agers are (the worst possible kind of ministry I thought at the time was youth). Those early years taught me so much about God's bride, the church. Even in the times where we were experiencing hurt beyond understanding (in our first full time ministry we didn't go a single year without losing at least one child or teen ager in an automobile accident) I could feel God at work I could see his hand moving. I learned about faith, provision, guidance, I learned that small town super "old school" congregants can still love the Lord and their communities even if they don't like women serving communion or electric guitars.
Very quickly I came to realize that God knew so much better then I did about what would make me happy and what I was meant to do. It wasn't being a world class musician, or author or FBI profiler, it was ministry. All kinds but especially youth ministry. I know with out a doubt that I am a very lucky person I get to do what I love when I want to and I get to do it standing right beside my husband. Not very many people can say that. If I suddenly feel God is pushing me to help lead a women's bible study I can, if I want to take a group of girls on a jewelry making excursion, I get to it's not weird at all because of Brian's Job title. I get to be involved with a group of people who because of their age are changing and maturing so fast. I can to see someone go from dolls to disciple almost over night. I get to have a real impact and influence on young women and that to me is one of the most incredible things God has allowed me to do. I don't just like it I LOVE it!!!
Sometimes, many times I don't know who's growing and being ministered to more, me or them. And I suppose it doesn't really matter. All I have to do is open up my latte machine and home and I get to be part of people's lives; It totally rocks. I have always loved doing what we're doing but lately it has been even better. I can't exactly put my finger on why, I'm sure it has a lot to do with a lot of things (I'm getting more sleep now for one) but the group of kids we have right now are just so cool. These high school girls in my coffee club are so sweet, polite and mature. They really care about each other regardless of school affiliation which is something that prior groups have struggled with. Things are so good right now I sometimes catch myself waiting for the other shoe to drop (sorry God but you know my human tendencies toward disaster thinking). I also love it so much that I sometimes catch myself wondering if the girls really like it too, I mean if coffee club and hanging out is actually something they want to do or something they feel obligated to do...
Well last night at our youth group Christmas party the other shoe did drop. Literally my coffee girls went in together all on their own and bought me a pair of Converse All Star high tops, in red. I have wanted a pair since Jr. High (you may remember my Christmas list post). They also got me an ornament shaped like a cappuccino machine and a super fun coffee dish towel. Now I would love them no matter what, and I haven't been feeling stressed about them but that gift really meant something to me. It was like they were saying "we love you too, and we like being around you." It was as if God was in on the gift sort of like a confirmation that I'm doing the right thing (we all need those now and then). It's hard to explain but it's only a few years and this group will be gone we'll have a new one and I know that they'll all be special in their way but to be part of this little group right now... I'm not sure it will get any better. It truly is a blessing and an honor to be part of their lives.
And I love the shoes, I've got them on right now. Thank you Allie, Chelsea, Danielle, and Mary you girls are a bright spot in my week and a joy in my heart.