So as I start to write this post it is 1 AM and I can’t sleep. It is Thursday night and I need to be at work at 9AM in the morning and if I don’t get the right amount of sleep I will not be able to function. The problem is my mind is running and I the inspiration to crank out these posts are here now, at 1AM. I know. How can I write at 1 AM? Well, part of it is my creative brain, part of it is the Holy Spirit giving me the right words, and part of it is Grammarly to correct spelling and grammar errors lost in translation between the Holy Spirit and my brain.
Now, this next part of my story is probably the hardest thing I ever had to do. I need to give you some background of my involvement in my church. I started as a middle school small group leader in 2012. I went through 3 different groups of middle school girls I personally had and many guy and girl students that I poured into outside of my normal small group. In 2013, I started volunteering in the 5th grade program and started to pour into those students as well and in 2016 I joined the college group and started to pour into them – funny enough some of them I had in 2012 as 8th graders. Over the course of 7 years I become very attached to many of the students that came through our student ministry.
See the easy part for me was turning in my resignation because I knew it was time to leave. The hardest part was having to tell my kids, specifically my Project 5 Leaders. See most of these leaders I had from 6th to 8th grade and then they became leaders their freshman year. They always asked me to stay through their graduation and as I accepted the fact I was going to be leaving, I had to find a way to explain why I wouldn’t be there for their last year in high school. See I am a very emotional person and anytime I would think about it I would start to tear up. Thankfully, all my students of all ages were so used to me tearing up they didn’t know what was going on. At my last Camp Kidjam during my last session I remember I couldn’t control the sobs as I knew that was my last time with them. That was my last time planning that camp for that program.
Leaving something – someones you put your heart and soul into is the most painful experience I have ever went through.
You want to talk about surrender. The girls and boys that I pastored over the years became my children or as I would call them my “chil’ns.” I felt a motherly obligation to be there for them and protect them, but as I prayed about leaving them I realized that was the most selfish thing to claim. I am not their protector. I am not their parent. Because I am not God. I had to come to realize I did my job with them – I helped plant seeds and helped prune them, but the true gardener who could keep them on the right path was not me, but God.
Whether you have kids or you have a program or people that you pour into, we need to remember that they are not ours, but God’s. My 5th graders, my middle schoolers, my high schoolers, and college students aren’t really mine, but God’s. I was just there for a season in their life when God thought I could be used in their lives, but seasons change.
“There is a time for everything,Ecclesiastes 3:1
and a season for every activity under the heavens”
All you can do is teach them about God and point them towards Jesus, because the one who does the real work is our Heavenly Father.
Those kids, those students will always have a place in my heart, because not only did I pour into them, but they poured into me as well. We learned from each other and whenever I hear or see Psalm 139:14, I will look back on my group of girls and students that I would speak this verse over again and again. I have that verse hanging in my bedroom and in my living room. I will continue to pray those words over all my new students and kids at my new church and future churches, but it will always take me back to my first gems that God blessed me with.
So here is my challenge for you: What are you being selfish with? Your career? Your kids? Your ministry? What do you need to get a better perspective on?
While you think about that here is a collage of my gems God blessed me with over the course of seven years. I couldn’t get everyone in the collage, but here is a good chunk of them. God, I pray you continue to protect them and guide them on the path you set them on. God Bless,