|Photo from Chad Case Photography|
Last night I watched a movie with the kids, read Andrew a story, prayed and did bedtime songs with them all, gave them a kiss, turned off the lights, and......
......went downstairs, got my guitar and then sat down back upstairs in the hallway outside their bedrooms playing old youth ministry songs until all three kids fell asleep.
Playing those old songs brought a flood of memories to mind. Times of playing guitar and leading a middle school ministry out of a conference room at the local community center. Times of sitting around a campfire at Sonshine Music Festival wishing I could spend forever doing that exact thing. Times of gathering up music equipment and setting up a worship venue in my parents barn. Times of gathering in a circle in the basement of a church building near our mission site and playing songs, praising God with students for hours until my fingers wanted to fall off. Times of sitting in a living room with 3-7 kids, no one sounding great, but everyone enjoying being together and focusing on Jesus.
In a lot of ways my guitar represents a different chapter of my life. I look back now and I can see how blessed I was in the position I was in, and I didn't recognize at the time how much I truly loved what I was doing when I was working with students and working in a church.
It's hard not to miss those times and feel down about how things have gone for me. There's no one to blame but myself for the choices I've made that have cost me so much. Like gold being refined by fire, I've had to be heated up pretty hot to burn away some of the junk in my life, and I'm so grateful to Jesus for his love, and forgiveness, and grace, and restoration.
I'm asked often if I ever think about getting back into full time ministry. The answer is, I think about it all the time. I just am unsure what that will look like for my family and for me. We love our friends, we love our church, we love our neighbors, and we love our city. We are starting to feel rooted here in Northfield and the idea of packing up and moving somewhere is a hard one. Full time ministry and pastoring, isn't something you want to do by commuting.
I don't know what the future holds for me. I see guys who have gone through much more junk than I did back into pastoring years before me, and I wonder why God hasn't lead me back there yet. I don't know why but that's not for me to dwell on. I just need to seek him daily and he'll direct my steps in the way he wants me to go.
Let me encourage you with these 4 things.
1. Enjoy where you are. Don't get focused on looking elsewhere.
2. Invest in the people around you. Take no one for granted.
3. Deal with your junk now. Otherwise it will eventually cost you.
4. Thank God for where you are, a lot.