His Kingdom Here

August 9, 2016

There is a lot that I could say about National Youth Gathering, but I’ve honestly been avoiding writing anything. It seemed too sacred for words, almost. But today I made myself sit down and just do it, because the world needs to know just how awesome my kids are.

Confession time.

I am often afraid of talking about God. It’s easier in church or Sunday school, but even then God sometimes becomes a distant relative we say a forced hello to at family reunions. It isn’t that He’s weird or smells funny. It’s just that we don’t know Him. So we wave politely and then hurry back to people we’re more comfortable around.

It’s hard to say, for someone who works in ministry. People assume that my pretty words on this screen equal a close relationship with God. People assume that prayer comes naturally to me. People assume that because my Bible is worn and full of scribbles, I fully trust God and His Word and His promises.

But I still struggle, because Jesus isn’t the popular thing to talk about.


Fast forward.

nyg 1

During National Youth Gathering, I watched my kids like parents with their children on Christmas morning, wanting to experience that childlike wonder secondhand. I desperately wanted to remember how I felt as a 15-year-old, completely overwhelmed and enveloped by the presence of God in that place.

Instead, I experienced something even better.

Instead, I watched as my kids had that experience.

I watched my kids worship earnestly and wholeheartedly, alongside 25,000 brothers and sisters in Christ. I watched them take care of one another, despite the heat and humidity and sleep deprivation. I watched them show great love to their friends, their leaders, their neighbors.

And on Sunday, August 7, I watched my kids talk about God.

Uninhibited.

Unashamed.

Unafraid.

I have never prayed so hard in my whole life as I did then, watching my kids walk up to the lecturn to speak. I prayed for peace and deep breaths and reassurance, for the congregation to laugh when the twins made jokes. I sat and prayed and watched as my kids shared their faith in the presence of their church family.

And suddenly God didn’t seem like an obscure relative anymore. 

Because of you, my sweet kids.


Two things nudged me toward DCE ministry: attending National Youth Gathering as a student in 2007 and 2010, and this story about Becky that I shared last fall.

During NYG, I got to be Becky to one of my students.

And you know what?

In that moment, when I felt like I was totally epic-failing, God worked in my life and in the life of that student. It only took 24+ years for me to figure out that God works through my weakest, worst moments.

Now, exactly one year after being installed and commissioned as a “real life DCE”, I feel like one.

Because of you, my sweet kids.

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