I mentioned the other day that I’ve spent a big part of my adult life serving students for Jesus. What a great time it’s been! There have certainly been ups and downs, failures and successes, joy and heartbreak, and more lessons learned than ever taught. All of it has made a huge impact on me, and on those close to me too.
I remember the day I knew that youth ministry was it for me. I’d already been volunteering for a while, but there was a day when, as I was studying and journaling one day sitting at my kitchen table, God spoke to my heart and placed a tremendous love for my younger brothers and sisters there. My children were very small then and it would be a few years still before the way was opened to me for full-time ministry – all of it spent learning, helping, praying, growing in understanding and developing invaluable skills.
It boggles my mind – and blesses me, and humbles me – to think about it all. Yes, it makes me all sappy to think about those first middle schoolers I walked with having middle schoolers of their own now. Countless graduations, weddings, babies, vocations of every kind. What a privilege to witness and be a part of their lives in both the beauty and brokenness.
Which brings me to today. Having taken several months out of ministry to other people’s children to care for my son through an extraordinarily difficult time of illness and struggle, I find myself seeing the light at the end of that tunnel for him as his health improves and he looks forward to high school graduation and college. That approaching light has given me time and perspective to prayerfully wonder how God will have me serve next.
What’s next? I’m wide open to serving students, and those who serve students, in any number of ways – speaking, teaching, church, parachurch, not-at-all-a-church, some combination of any of those – wide open. So far, only God knows the answer.