Thursday, November 14, 2013

10,000 Reasons

I've had the song 10,000 Reasons resurfacing periodically in my soul over the last couple years- somewhere between the competing daily renditions around me of Old McDonald, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and my two-year old's latest a cappella version of the musical score from Star Wars.  I hear it quietly at first... and then it builds to full volume somewhere in the back of my brain and as I hear the words, I blink and refocus at my surroundings.  It kind of reminds me of the scene from The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy suddenly steps out of the house after the storm and her world is transformed from black and white into full color.

We all know that every day there are 10,000 reasons to be stressed, afraid, angry, and downright cynical with life.  During this morning's rush to get three little people and myself out the door it seemed like every zipper got stuck, every shoe was missing, every ounce of compliance to obey disappeared, and in our triumphant moment of arriving at school only slightly late- the baby has a blow-out diaper on cue in the parking lot and we discover the box of wipes is empty.  In the short time between first opening my eyes this morning and now, I feel as though I've already had a million moments of repetitive frustration.

But then quietly I hear it, "Dear one, how very much you need my grace! And I have more than enough... "  Seriously, people... just like that.  Grace.  And that's only ONE of the 10,000 reasons we could come up with just today. So in the chaos of the day, in whatever stresses or fears are distracting my focus from the Lord, I blink away the colorless pit (where I put myself, by the way) and the explosion of joyous color almost knocks me over.  Look! I have warm food to eat.  Look! I have a cozy home full of more than I could possibly need.  Look! I have these beautiful little people with sticky fingers and stuck zippers hanging on my leg and they are incredible.

So when you see me...rushing because I'm late...with my unwashed hair, my kids in mismatched socks and crumbs on their cheeks, know that my smile is genuine as we are celebrating our victories and praising God for our blessings instead of focusing on the things that aren't going so great today.  We keep doing our best and sometimes that looks like complete chaos, other times it looks a little more "put together," but it's always perfect because Jesus is perfect and He is the one we are chasing after with all our hearts. 

"The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds obey him!"
Matthew 8:27

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Blog is Reborn... (Because This Occasion is Worth it!)

The thawing of winter (or that one cold day we had in December, anyway), always makes me think of new life and rebirth.  We are in a season of new life as a family as we are expecting our third child this summer and I just left my job of eleven (eleven!) years. While our world is opening up to brand new opportunities and transitions at every turn,  "newness" is always an interesting experience for me. It's in those days when I feel most unprepared- yet so overwhelmingly blessed to have even another day, let alone a whole new season of life to live.

Eleven years seems like only moments in a way- after graduating college, a lot of my peers embarked on grand adventures around the world or early little families with bouncing babies.  I rolled right out of college into the first and only job I've ever had- at The Hills Church of Christ where Chris Hatchett hired me with very little knowledge of who I was... and I spent eleven years working as a youth minister there. 
I can't imagine a better way I could have spent that decade (+).  The innumerable ways God blessed me through that ministry have shaped my heart and my life in a way I could have never dreamed. I not only fell in love with a generation of students and families, but also fell more in love with the Lord and the way that He works in his children.

It has been an incredible honor to serve at the Hills, to be associated in any way with a family of faith that loves so effortlessly and listening so wholeheartedly to the Spirit.  The staff and the shepherds can make me weep in an instant with their sincerity and dedication to God and His people- and I can't believe I got to witness the beauty of those hearts in action for so many years.

To the hundreds of students, staff, families, mentors, and volunteers: thank you for loving me, for humbly following my lead even when I clearly had no idea what I was doing, for trusting me to listen to your heartaches, and for letting me work along side you in the often messy, tough business of ministry.  It's been an amazing journey and I can't wait to see what's next.