Oh church camp…you leave my mind in a constant Tug-O- War match. Should I go to camp, or stay home? Will I be able to spend time with the teens, or will my daughter need all of my attention? Will God move, or will the Word fall on deaf ears? And the questions go on and on… But in our ministry (yes our ministry because although my husband is the youth pastor I choose to be in the ministry with him) I constantly remind myself that God will prepare me, God will give me wisdom (I do have to remember to ask for this) when I need it, God will speak, move, and show up, and God will get all of the glory!
At the beginning of my husband’s ministry we were young and fully committed to sharing our lives with teenagers. Our house was open 24/7 and my weeks off were spent with young people between the ages of 11 and 18. As our life changed and our daughter was born a lot of my ministry opportunities changed. Now my home is open, but noises have to be kept to a minimum after a certain time. My breaks are spent with teens, but a two year old is coming along for the ride as well. It has been a difficult balance to find, and by no means do I think I have it perfect, but this trip has been the best one since miss priss came along.
The girls rode in the car with us this year while the boys took over the bus. We laughed and cut up throughout our six hour journey. We watched movies and napped (well not me, but most of the others). I felt like I actually was able to continue to build relationships on the car ride instead of either A) focusing on the drive with a toddler screaming for mommy throughout the trip and wishing I had my husband to help or B) feeling like my husband was being kept away from the teens on the bus so he could drive his family to camp.
I haven’t made it to all of the small group sessions because mommy does have to put a sweet little girl to bed, but she has played quietly while we have done several bible studies. It has been incredible to get to help teach these young ladies and listen to them grasp concepts that may have alluded them before. This is the part I have missed the most in the last few years. It is so exciting to open God’s word alongside teenagers and help them take away something real.
Listening to Kyle preach is always one of my favorite parts of it being our ministry, but especially this time. He wasn’t sure he had the sermon right or made an impact, but I was in the room. My ears were listening, as little girl colored in a Dollar Tree coloring book, and I know what I heard. I heard a lesson that was relatable, real, and a little cut throat (learning about struggles and how God sometimes allows us to struggle is never easy to hear). I was able to encourage him afterward and remind him of how God uses preachers to speak into the hearts of the listeners in ways the speaker could not have possibly done.
Watching the teens love my little one and her attach to them is so encouraging. These teens will possibly be her small group leaders, teachers, coaches, and hopefully role models as she grows up. I want them to love her (because if mommy comes then baby girl comes too) and I want her to love them! These students play a HUGE part of our family’s life!
The best part of church camp winning the game of Tug-O-War in my mind is being together as a family. Spending time with our youth and serving alongside each other. Neither of us was raised as a preacher’s kid so we don’t really know what we are doing as our little one comes along but we do know that we are better together!