Reflection in the coffeeshop window…

For anyone who doesn’t know: up until about 3 months ago I was working two jobs. Director of an active youth ministry department and also a part time nannying job. My days usually consisted of office hours in the morning – starting between 7 and 8am, nannying in the afternoon and then going straight to evening programs. I ate breakfast at my desk and dinner in my car more days than not (or just didn’t eat) and ended up pulling late nights on a regular basis to catch up on paperwork, planning, etc.  I didn’t take days off or vacations. I love my job at the church and I love the little treasures I was nannying for.  But after two years with all these balls in the air, I started to lose my balance.

Everyone saw it coming. I was a wreck. They could have given up on me – but they didn’t. A family from the church felt God calling them to increase their giving in order to cover the cost of me coming on full time. And they were obedient.

Fast Forward to today [can we still use that phrase? does anyone “fast forward” anymore?]

Today is my day off. I’m at Starbucks catching up on some personal emails and enjoying a Venti Cafe Americano and free wifi (shout out to the Starbucks Rewards Card).  That’s right, I get days off now… EVERY WEEK!

I’ve chilled with students several times this week … before, when they would call to see if we could hang out and chat, I usually had to say no because I wasn’t available. I also had lunch with my youthworker buddies yesterday and I didn’t have to leave early to get to work. I could just sit and enjoy our time together.

On top of that, I’m prepared for this weekend. Sunday school, bible study, youth group – ready to go. And it’s not even Saturday night (or Sunday morning, yikes) yet.

It’s taking me time to adjust to this new way of life. I sometimes have trouble going to bed early just because I’m convinced there must be something that needs to be done before I can crash. I’m so programmed to GO GO GO all the time that it’s taking time to downshift.  But I’m getting the hang of it – and it’s glorious.

The biggest joy is that I have time to slow down to enjoy my life and give my students the care they deserve.  I can stop what I’m doing to listen to their stories or call them to check in when they come to mind (instead of trying to make a mental note to call when I have time)

As I sit here on a beautiful sunny morning sipping my coffee and reflecting on my life …

I’m amazed that God gave me the courage to jump out of the boat. To give up my secular job (the one with good pay, benefits and vacation) with no idea where my next paycheck would come from.  I am generally a wimpy, weak person. That strength was not my own.

I’m humbled by the protection I found in the shadow of His wings – even as I approached exhaustion and total burnout.

I’m grateful for how He has sustained me through the past two years as I learn the joys and perils of youth ministry through my own successes and failures.

I’m totally pumped for the opportunity to live life alongside my students and their families.

… and I’m so blessed to have seen the face of love in my church family.


Posted on September 19, 2008, in youth ministry. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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