Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I think this will happen in Heaven

Everyone will worship God together. No matter what. Forever.

...for the Bible tells me so:
After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. 10 And they were shouting with a great roar,
“Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne
    and from the Lamb!” 
(Revelation chapter 7)

Friday, September 13, 2013

He is

Here we go ...

Last Sunday I had a "Vision Sunday" for the parents with kids involved in the children's ministries at church. It was great! I planned for weeks, had a breakfast for them, and spent about 40-45 min sharing with them what the ministry is all about. I shared with them what we teach, why we teach it, the resources we have available, how the church wants to partner with them as they raise their kids to know Jesus, and all the events we have weekly and on special occasions.

I stood on the stage - with a mic like the pastors and the podium they use in preaching.
I had the chairs still arranged like the Sunday morning worship service for seating.
I saw a lot of parents out there - the children's ministry covers birth-5th grade.
I've ever done something like this ... and I was nervous.

Nervousness always hits me up in weird ways. Sometimes I can't eat, and then other times I feel like I'm a bottomless chocolate pit (because chocolate cures everything right?!). Sometimes I can't sleep, and then other times all I want to do is crawl in bed and go to sleep because that seems like an escape. Sometimes I spend my entire car ride (which is currently about a hour long) practicing my speech while passers by probably wonder who I'm talking to, and then other times I just ride in silence for the calming effect. This time, though, was different.

This time, my nerves lasted all of 5 or maybe 10 minutes and that was about 3 months ago.

Yes, I was nervous, but not for long. Why? God comforts with peace that passes all understanding. I can teach a class full of kids all day long everyday and not bat an eyelid. Standing up in front of a room full of adults makes my heart skip a beat - or two, or ten - even if it's just to literally say, "Welcome to church! We're glad you're here!" This meeting, this room full of people, this moment - it was good. He gave me peace last week that doesn't make sense to me based on my normal pattern of nervousness. He gave me peace that kept me going through planning, preparing, and speaking. He gave direction for our children's ministry that I simply delivered to parents. Did you read that? He gave peace - He gave perseverance - He gave direction - HE!

There have been multiple times in my life that I've known I was doing something the He wanted me to do. Teaching, for example, is one of those things. God gave me the desire to teach as a 6 year old when I taught my 4 year old sister to read, and again as a 3rd grader with a stellar teacher who helped me transition a move to a new town. God gave me the desire to teach as a high school student who met Jesus while volunteering at a kids camp, and again as a college student who loved the education program at Charleston Southern University. You see, he directed me to do what He wanted me to do based on circumstances, scriptures, and influential people in my life. It was good to know where I was going.

As a Children's Minister, for almost 2 years now, I've gone back and forth asking God why He took me away from teaching. I knew where I was going. I was confident that God had directed my path. I am also confident in where I am now. I know God brought me here. There was, however, a gap. It wasn't very big, but it was there. So, knowing that God is not a God of confusion, I resolved to pray about it. As soon as I knelt at the prayer bench in my office to ask the question I heard an answer. I think it was the shortest prayer time I've ever had. A word popped in my head as if I somehow knew the answer already ...


He needed me to be completely sold out to teaching in order to learn all the ins and outs. That way, the experience I gained from a Christian university and an award winning elementary school would be invaluable as a Minister to Preschool & Children. I can't tell you how many times I've felt glad that I was a teacher first so that I knew how to handle something! He knew that I needed to be prepared for this job by having that job first. He knew that I needed 6 "Open House Nights" as a teacher in order for this meeting to not be so scary. He knew that the things I learned as a teacher would be essential for this role in this church in this town at this time.

I'm SO thankful that He chose me to follow this path so that He could teach children about Himself and draw them close. I'm SO thankful that the mistakes I've made in the past didn't completely break this plan. I'm SO thankful for His grace. I don't deserve to be in this role ... I don't deserve to feel these kinds of blessings ... but I'm SO thankful for them. And isn't that the picture of salvation? We are offered something we don't deserve. God's Son, who lived a blameless life, took on our punishment in order that our relationship with Him could be restored. God is more than good. He is more than smart. God is graceful - more than we deserve. God gives peace that we don't understand in order to fulfill His will in ways we never expected.

I'm SO thankful that He is.