Sunday, March 1, 2009

That's enough.

I just got back from a trip to ....Phoenix...., where we went with our youth to the Dare2Share evangelism conference. What a trip! I haven’t been too involved with our youth lately, and I’ve missed that. Really, I can’t remember the last time I’ve had so much fun!

But as we drew near to the parking lot at the East campus and we said our goodbyes, I became kind of sad. We parked, everyone got out and parents arrived and everybody started heading back to their respective homes. While the last of them were heading out, I went in to lock up the office (which I had opened up earlier so some of them could use the restroom and throw away some trash). When I walked out, all our youth were gone.

I got in my car, turned on my iPod, and the song “Fearless” by Building 429 came on via the amazing shuffle feature of my iPod.

And I started crying.

You see, this was my last youth trip.


…it’s still setting in.

So I cried most of the way home. I miss youth ministry, and I really miss my youth. I missed being at “the Mix” the past couple of Thursdays, and I’ve hardly been able to spend any time with my youth lately, because my job now requires me to spend most of my time at the office or meeting with adults in networking meetings. As the weeks go on, I am less and less able to be with my youth – which is totally understandable and reasonable – but it doesn’t make it any easier.

Thinking about the near future and how in just a few months, I will be totally separate from any youth activities …well, it’s hard. Really hard. Don’t get me wrong, I am SOpumped about the Northeast campus and I don’t at all doubt my calling, but that doesn’t mean it’s not terribly difficult saying goodbye. Often, it feels like my heart is being torn out of my chest.

Going into it, I knew that this was my last trip with my youth and I made a decision going in that I would not let that fact loom over me and spoil the weekend. And I know I’m not leaving; I’m being sent – but it’s still being sent away. And it’s still painful and incredibly awkward for me.

So in these last few months before I fully transition out and say goodbye as we launch the Northeast campus, I’m cherishing EVERY moment. Every hug, every conversation, every laugh – EVERYTHING.

As we were at the conference and I saw my youth worshiping; as we walked the streets of Phoenix collecting cans for the Phoenix Rescue Mission; as I shared a room with Troy, Jeff, Mitch, and Stephen; as we stopped for a quick dinner in Las Cruces and I listened to the walls of the restaurant filled with the voices of our youth and adults; as we traveled home today and I had the pleasure of hearing my beautiful girls in the back of the SUV singing and laughing away - my heart just welled up with joy in those moments.

I treasure every moment, because I know the remaining ones are few. I know that change is necessary for growth and is part of life, and I’m fully confident that I’m right in the center of the will of my Papa in Heaven, and I have a great peace that passes my comprehension …but still …this is hard. Harder than I think anyone around me understands.

And it’s terribly lonely.

And it’s in these moments that I just remember God is always with me, and He’ll never leave me, and He reigns. He knows what’s best, He only allows what will be for the benefit of His Kingdom, and He loves me more than I can understand – even more than I love my youth.

And all I can do is cry out to God for comfort and solace.

And He reminds me of His presence.

And that’s enough.

“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ – Hebrews 13:5, NKJV

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