The last year has been quite the unexpected journey for me and my little family.
About this time last year, I was in my final days of a job at my church. It was a position that God had called me to do for a time, but those of you who know me best know that I am very honest about the fact that I am not a ‘kid person.’ (You can read all about that confession here.)
Since the position was working with children, I was excited about stepping down and turning over the reins of leading an amazing team of 50 plus evening childcare employees to someone else.
Because we loved our church, Joe and I had poured our hearts into this job for over 2 years, and in the fall of 2011, God let me know that the ministry was in a place where it was a good time for me to step down. (I wrote about that journey here….beware it has four parts and is a short novel.)
In the final days of my wrapping up that job, I got an email from my friend and coworker, Dean, who was helping to launch our church’s second campus and he wanted to ask me some questions.
Assuming that those questions were about ‘how to do Community Group childcare on a second campus,’ I came to that meeting armed with many ideas that would help him.
I was also armed with something else. In the back of my mind I had the idea that he might just ask if I was willing to lead the evening Community Group childcare on the new campus. I had already prepared my gentle answer of “No thank you, but I’m honored you asked.”
I came prepared with a couple of names and phone numbers of people who I would recommend to do that job.
Dean did ask me about childcare. But then came the real question.
Would I be interested in leading the Children’s Ministry on the new campus?
I really wish that I could see a recording of my face during that meeting. Looking back on it, I wonder if it was obvious that I was about to burst into laughter at the thought of stepping into another role of working with children.
The girl who only babysat 2 times as a teenager, and still wonders if those 5 children are emotionally scarred adults from an evening spent with a babysitter who didn’t have a clue what to do with preschoolers.
The girl who always told her family and friends that she was not going to have babies but was going to adopt kids that were 12 years old or older.
The girl who would look at her Elementary education friends in college and think, “Why do you want to torture yourself for the rest of your life?”
I am not sure how my theology lines up with the commonly quoted phrase, “God has a sense of humor.” But…the last 13 years of my life would be a great case study in a book that wanted to prove that statement to be scriptural.
This self-labeled ‘not a kid-person,’ has spent the last 13 years of her life surrounded by children.
I was a children’s pastor’s wife for 7 years. I had two babies. I worked on staff at my son’s church preschool. I’ve served as a volunteer in my kid’s classes at school and church.
And finally after working on a church staff leading a team of childcare workers, somehow I found myself in an office talking to Dean.
He mentioned that my name kept coming up by the Pastors of the church for the position of Children’s minister for the new campus.
How did this happen?
They obviously don’t know me well or they wouldn’t have asked.
I don’t remember my exact answer to Dean, but I know it went something like this, “Give me a few days to talk it over with Joe and pray about it.”
That seemed more spiritual of a response than what I was feeling in my heart, “Are you kidding me? Thanks but no thanks.”
The next couple of days were spiritual torture. That is the only way I can think to describe the struggle in my spirit over the week following that first meeting with Dean.
I didn’t sleep much. I went through a box of Kleenex (and those who know me know my tears are few and far between.)
I called up wise friends for advice, looking for the one person who would say, “Holly, no. That position is obviously not God’s will for your life.” That response never came.
I spent hours praying and offering up to God all the reasons that I should not accept the position. He didn’t seem impressed with my well researched and presented case.
I even had a friend go over with me to where the new campus was being built and pray with me. I secretly was hoping that there would be a message written in the clouds above the building saying, “This job is not for you.”
The answer came slowly. I could hear it gently at first and after a week it resonated in my heart.
Yes. Holly. I want you to tell them yes.
Despite the fact that I didn’t have a clue why God would want to use me to build a children’s ministry team. . . .
Even though I didn’t see at all how this fit into the ‘call’ that I felt to ministry . . . .
I said, “Yes.”
I was very honest with the church staff and let them know that I was confident that God was calling me to build the ministry, and that He had someone else that would be able to carry the children’s ministry forward once I got it off the ground.
Little did I know that the road ahead would be one of the most challenging, yet by far the most rewarding years of ministry I have ever experienced.
Ten months into the job, just as I was getting into the groove of being “Children’s Minister” (Can you hear me chuckle as I type that title?), the struggle in my spirit began again.
It was gentle at first and then once again there were sleepless nights, and I was leaving a trail of Kleenexes everywhere I went.
I knew it was time. It was very clear. God wanted me to step down and allow someone else to carry the mission forward.
This time my debate with Him sounded very different.
When I would hear the Spirit say, “It is time to step down because I have someone else I want to lead the children’s ministry,” I had a lot of good arguments as to why I should stay.
“But I love working on church staff”
“But theCHURCH at Midtown has become my family”
“But there are still a few more things I would like to do before I turn over the reins of the children’s ministry”
“But I have enjoyed having the extra income.”
These conversations with the Lord, always ended with me being reminded that I am called to be obedient.
Delayed obedience is disobedience.
So, this Sunday I will walk down the halls of theChurch at Midtown for the last time as a children’s minister. (still I can’t help but giggle at my title for the last year)
I have shed buckets of tears. I have woke up every morning this week at 4 am thanking God for the blessing of this past year.
I think back to that meeting just a year ago. Sitting in that office with Dean. Wanting to immediately say ‘thanks for asking but I’m not a kid person.’
Oh what blessings I would have missed out on this past year had I gone with my gut and said “thanks, but no thanks”
Tears stream down my face as I type because I am so full of gratitude.
Thankful for parents who taught me that to obey is better than sacrifice.
Thankful for a husband who supports me in my ‘call to ministry’ and who is a ‘kid genius.’ I could have never done the job without him. For dressing and feeding our kids every Sunday morning and being willing to do whatever I needed him to do to help as we launched the campus.
Thankful for the staff of the CHURCH at Midtown, who I have had the privilege of building a church with over the past year. I am going to miss that ‘uni-office’ that we share.
Thankful to my Midtown church family for entrusting their kids to my leadership. What an honor it has been to lead a team that loves on their kids each week.
And of course, thankful to my Father in heaven who just may be up there smiling at what He can do through someone who is not ‘a kid person’. Perhaps He might even be giggling. Maybe just maybe He does have a sense of humor.
I may not be a ‘kidperson,’ but I indeed am a child of the King. And I have learned that however He wants to use me to build His kingdom, my answer is ‘Yes.’