With the second week of school coming to a close, I know it's time to finally accept the end of summer and look to the programming of the fall semester. But, even though I am able to stay where I am and be present for all that is coming, I think reflection is still important.
In the past, I would have packed up my car and had quite a long drive down I-35. During that drive, I would have the time to think about all the things I had accomplished – all the mountain top moments of my internship. But somewhere around Waxahachie, I would begin to realize how packed the summer was, and quickly after, how drained I was. Then around Hillsboro, I would begin to thank God because I knew nothing that I was apart of during the summer was a success because of me.
The summer in ministry is usually “a marathon,” and this summer was no different. There was a lot packed into a few months, but again God showed He was greater than any to-do list or calendar. Despite the physical exhaustion and stress, almost every week children were in the church hearing about the goodness of God. Multiple mission trip teams were able to see God move 20 minutes from home, in a different city and even in a different country.
And through the many long weeks, God continued to show me that He uses messiness and makes it beautiful. And He takes the best plan and makes it unimaginably better. And, He takes the times of insecurity and doubt, and shows up in big ways.
I know this should not surprise me anymore, but I continue to sit in awe of the opportunities God presents to me. I am forever grateful for the way God carries all my baggage and turns it into an incredible gift, and in my reflection I was reminded of a verse in Matthew.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
When Jesus was saying these words, He was talking to people who were so concerned with what was legally right and wrong, they did not stop to think about others. And while I know personally and as a church, we strive to do everything with excellence, I never want to be at a place in ministry where I disregard the many relational opportunities I have, simply for the appearance of perfection in all that I do.
That is why I am so fortunate to have experienced four summers at Lake Highlands UMC. I have had the opportunity to see events improve, to see God at work through growing numbers at camps and Vacation Bible School, to see God place more opportunities in our path as a congregation by starting new ministries or partnerships in missions, and to see God provide the physical and emotional resources to make it through the summer.
I wish I had repeated this verse, in Matthew, every day before coming into the office, but even without a physical daily reminder, I can look back at the past three months, and the years before that, and know that God has taken the burden so we can find rest in Him while we simply sit in awe of all that He has done and will continue to do.