Thursday, April 23, 2015

From where I stand | Vol. I

Wednesday nights.

Youth group.

Wednesdays are crazy days. There is so much to get accomplished before each service.

But. These moments, with the lights dimmed and God's presence surrounding this awesome group of kids. These are my favorite moments.

As they run around like lunatics. As they say the silliest things. As they pray over each other's needs. As they listen to God speak to them. As they worship their heavenly Father.

These are my favorite moments.

I love this view.

Monday, April 20, 2015

A Monday Morning Cup of Grace

This last week was a bit of a mad rush to Friday. I'm talking arms flailing, hair flying, you best get out of my way type of mad rush. You see, Adam and I scheduled and were attempting to pull off our first youth group lock-in - a big deal for us first time youth pastors. So this past week was spent finalizing all details, brainstorming for better ideas, rehashing schedules, and creating a beaucoup of handmade, crafty materials. All this while juggling our normal week to week schedules.

Well, the lock-in was a hit! I'd say we had great success there. My poor home, however, was a little bit neglected in all the to-do. Of course, Saturday being the day after a lock-in (that's an all-night, no sleep type of event for any who don't know) I had no desire to move or think, let alone clean my house. So, Sunday morning I woke up to filth. Everywhere. Dishes in the sink, no clean towels to shower with, skim pickings in my closet due to the backup of laundry, and dog hair, again, EVERYWHERE. Add on the fact that it rained overnight, so my pups returned to the door covered in mud and I was still rather exhausted from Friday night and you have the perfect storm for a full on Jess meltdown.

And sure enough, sitting in my closet trying so hard to find something to wear to church (and failing), I lost it. I lost all resemblance of a full grown adult and reverted straight to a tantrum throwing two year old. Things were not how I wanted them. My house was not clean. My dishes and laundry were not done. My dogs were not tidy and well-behaved. My husband was not helpful. My closet was not full of wonderfully new and stylish outfits. Things were in disarray and I didn't like it. So instead of handling it, I lost it. Instead of giving grace to my home, my family, and myself, I condemned it all. I got angry and frustrated and I threw a fit.

Now, I'm not saying we can't ever throw fits. Sometimes our frustration just has to come out in some physical, tangible way...and crying is probably one of the better outlets to choose. Instead, I want to look to the root of my little temper tantrum. What causes all that frustration to build upon itself until I just explode? Looking back now, I'd say it was because things were not going my way.  I like things tidy and neat, I want my house to be clean. But, you see, husbands and puppies tend toward disorder. Really, I tend toward disorder. Without intentionally setting aside time to re-order my life, it seems to blow up into utter chaos around me. And that is not how I like things. So I get angry, I get frustrated, and I throw a fit.

But you know, life isn't always going to go my way. I'd say this is a very basic fact of life. Chaos happens. Disarray happens. I can't always live in my ideal situation. Am I really going to throw a fit every time life just happens? No. I'd be wasting quite a bit of time and probably be missing out on some really great blessings and life lessons. So, today I'm working out a life lesson, a God lesson. I have to give grace - to myself, my family, my friends, my home, my workplace. Grace is required in every area of life. I've been given so much grace, now I have to work especially hard to give it back.

So maybe you're like me today. Maybe you are starting off your week in need of some grace. Take it, cut yourself some slack. Or maybe you need to offer it to someone else this morning. Take a breath and give it freely. Wherever you are, I hope you'll take the time to stop, re-collect yourself, and pray for some God-given grace.

Happy Monday, y'all!

Picture by David Mao /