Friday, August 31, 2007

Comfortable or Potential?

So, I made a bet with Jamie J that I would post when she does. I also pestered Julianna into an update. I guess it's only fair that I follow through with my end of the bet and post.

School started a couple weeks ago and all of my regularly scheduled church programs have started or will be starting in the next week (this stuff is-6th grade confirmation class, sunday school, 3/4 grade religion, 5/6 grade religion, chapels, other high school stuff, middle school stuff, pre-planning for vbs, planning for our fall carnival, district stuff, source stuff, planning not to stress out stuff).

Now that I type it, that seems like an awful lot. Anyway, I'm excited for the structure that the school year brings. The J in me craves a regular schedule that summer doesn't often provide. I'm also excited that I have a year of internship and 2 years of experience under my belt here at Messiah.

I'm finally getting to see some of the fruits I've been praying for these past two long years. I feel confident in my abilities to carry out projects (if I can survive a gathering year, I can survive anything!), to see things through and to build lasting relationships with youth but also with adults and volunteers. It's a good place to be.

I also though, am praying about the next step. Maybe it's a natural occurrence. Several of my friends who took calls to their internship churches have taken their second calls to other places, others are getting interviews, others have left the church ministry to do other kinds of ministry.
When I was first considering a call to Messiah, I set a goal for myself of staying through that freshmen class's graduation and then I would start to consider my future either here or elsewhere. This year, those freshmen are seniors. So, May brings graduation and contemplation. Before we get there, though, September controls my immediate future. We'll see what happens.

Mainly, I'm torn between the potential and the comfortable. I love my youth and their parents. I like the opportunities that I've been given to explore some other areas (writing for thesource, chairing our district gathering, writing the district gathering drama two years ago, etc.). I like the DCEs and the district that I'm in, but I wonder how much would actually change. The question I ask myself is this: if I stay will 5 years find me with things exactly the same. Is that what I want?

I'm not sure I know the answers, but it's something I'm pondering and praying about amidst all the craziness that comes with the structure I've been missing since april.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Adventures in Home Visiting

At the beginning of the school year last year, I sat down with most of the 6th graders as a way for me to get to know them before Confirmation started. I decided to do the same thing this year. Now, there is a family that I've visited before, three years ago when I was a new intern, the internet directions to their address sent me to some trashy trailer park (which is NOT where they live). Anyway, their youngest son is entering the 6th grade so I set up the home visit and headed on over there. As they live in Mustang, I only drive over there two or three times a year. After getting off the interstate, and exiting the highway, I found myself making a quick left turn onto the road that leads to their subdivision. Along the way, I meet a policeman. I'm not worried because I'm not speeding, but I also notice a barricade in the left lane at the stop sign about 20 feet in front of me (I didn't see one when I turned and there were cars behind me) and then I notice the cop car coming up behind me with his lights flashing. Confused, I pull over. Here's what happened next:

*Roll down window
Policeman (yelling): YOU! BRING YOUR LICENSE AND GET OUT OF THE CAR AND COME SIT IN THE FRONT SEAT! (yells at other cars he has signaled over on the shoulder) YOU! YOU STAY THERE UNTIL I TELL YOU TO MOVE! (returns to yelling at me) DID YOU GET YOUR LICENSE?! JUST COME AND SIT DOWN RIGHT HERE. (I walk back to the police car) I ASSUME YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID WRONG?
Me: Was I speeding? I'm sorry I don't live in this area
Policeman: (still yelling) I GUESS YOU CAN'T READ. THIS ROAD IS CLOSED (yells at cars behind him). I WILL BE THERE IN A MINUTE. YOU (to me) SIT IN THE CAR. (we get in the car and at this time I am crying because I really feel terrible and stressed that I am going to get arrested)
Me: I'm so sorry. I'm a youth worker and I live on the North side of town and was on my way to visit one of my youth for a home visit so I never come this way. (I was trying for some sympathy)
Policeman: (not yelling, but very unpleasant as he is looking over my information) Where do you live?
Me: On the North Side of town. I didn't know this road was closed
Policeman: You need to have your eyes checked then. Didn't you see the big sign when you turned?
Me: No, I'm so sorry, I didn't see the sign.
Policeman: This ticket is $206. What are you going to do about that?
Me: (shrug shoulders, sob more)
Policeman: Well you're lucky I'm going to give you a warning. Do you promise to use your eyes next time?
Me: (thinking, yes, though in 12 months when I might possibly drive on this road again, I don't imagine the road will still be closed) Yes, and once again I'm so sorry.
Policeman: Don't do it again. (Gets out of car, starts yelling at other cars behind him, motions me out of his car, hands me back my license and sends me on my way).

So that was my run-in with the law.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Letter to You (or things I wish I had said)


I know that life is changing for you, that there are things happening more quickly than you can comprehend or cup or catch. I pray that you know that in all this changing that God is constant. That He doesn't change. That He will, can, and has held you up all this time, before you even believed in Him, he was there. He was constant.

I know that you are struggling with what you feel is right and what is demanded of you. I want you to experience the goodness of God's grace. I want you to know that there is freedom in His forgiveness.

I know that you have felt judged by Christians in the past, but I want you to realize that there are those of us that care about you. That we bear no judgement, that we have no room to judge. We want you to know Jesus and the many gifts that brings. Him, the way, the truth, the life.

I want you to be filled so full of God's love that it changes your life. That you allow God to mold you into person you were created to be. That you stop doing the things that harm you, that you realize that God's love is more fulfilling than the things you're currently doing. I pray that you discover the beauty of God's Word, his Love letter to you. I pray that you may someday take to heart the things that God is speaking to you in those words.

Mostly, I hope that you allow God to work in you and that you come to understand the height, width and depth of his Love for you. Love so amazing that He sent His son for you. His son who died and rose and opened Heaven's doors for you.


Friday, August 17, 2007

ABC of Growing Up

There, there, baby
It’s just text book stuff
It’s in the ABC of growing up
Now, now, darlin’
Oh don’t lose your head
'Cause none of us were angels
And you know I love you, yeah
~Speeding Cars, Imogen Heap

Earlier this week, while in Colorado, a friend made the comment that the line between being young and foolish and old and stupid was a very thin line. I thought and still think that line happens at 25 (and because I'm 25, I would like to perhaps make a petition that line be moved to 27 so that I can have two more years and young and foolish behavior). It seems like the time between college and 25 is like the grace period given with your student loans, you can still be an idiot and it's acceptable. Shortly after 25, grace for the same mistakes is harder and harder to come by and the consequence for foolish decisions have a much higher price tag.

At what point do we really learn? If given a similar situation and similar circumstances, will it produce similar results? Will we alwyas fight the same battles and the same insecurities? How do we grow up, buck up and make those necessary changes that move you from foolish to wise?

Monday, August 06, 2007

Catching Up

Due to the very busy nature of the past, oh, month or so, the last few days have been a chance for me to catch my breath and begin the slow process of catching up on everything that's fallen to the side--sleep, bills, friends, family, work etc. It's a process. I've found that the longer I go doing the little maintenency things the harder it is to do something completely in one go.

Example One: Before I had a Washer and Dryer, I would wait forever to do my laundry because I didn't want to lug it to the laundry room, but it would take forever before all my clothes were clean. Example two: The longer I went between cleaning out the fridge meant an evening wasted and a couple trips to the dumpster. Example Three: The longer I waited to take my car into the shop meant a MUCH more expensive repair bill.

Usually, the longer I waited to do something and the more things piled up, the less discriminating I would be. I just wanted to be finished with the cumbersome task. Who cares if I just bought those carrots and does it really matter if this new shirt is washed on the wrong setting? At least it's all finished right?

Can the same be true of friends who stop keeping in touch? I've been thinking about this a little bit since I ran into a friend at the Gathering whom I hadn't really talked to in about 6 months and another friend whom I recently emailed that I hadn't talked to in a few years. All the little things that make up the everyday get forgotten or simply glossed over and in an effort to "catch up," life is shortened to two or three sentences, "Yes I'm still in Oklahoma City, DCE-ing, yes I'm still single, yes I'm still enjoying what I do".

It does seem a little bit like the pile of laundry that can build up when you don't keep at it. The process of getting it finished is so overwhelming that everything gets lumped together. The process of actually truly catching up with someone is so overwhelming that it's easier to give the one or two sentence response as opposed to the "we should go to lunch and truly catch up" response.

The other way that catching up, like doing laundry, is successful is if you keep at it. No more waiting until mom comes to visit and does the laundry for you and no more waiting and waiting until opportunities deliver your friends to your front doors to do the catching up.