This Post Should Be Pithy and Reflective…

2012-2013-570x320…but it won’t be.

I’m not a resolution maker because I never keep them.  And I love success so much that if I know I won’t make it, I don’t even try.  So no deep thoughts there.

I can’t write reflectively about 2012 because I’m just glad it’s over.  Reading through my post about 2011 (which I didn’t even remember writing), we had endured a hard year and I was hopeful for 2012.  Having endured 2012, I have accepted that sometimes we just go through hard times.  It’s not meant to be better.  There might not be a lesson this side of heaven.  And the rising of the sun on one ‘special’ day does not necessarily illuminate the outlook on the future – and that’s OK.

I could revel in all I’ve learned in 2012 – but it’s just a re-hashing of things I should already know, have learned ‘again’, or lessons I learned in one day…only to forget, or ignore, in the next.

Much like 2011, I look back at 2012 and hope I haven’t missed the hand of God at work for straining so hard to get through 2012.  But if I have, I know He has a really big hand.

So for all the things this post should contain, all it really holds is gratitude.

I’m thankful for the many encouraging people God has placed in our paths.

I’m thankful that many of those people have been used to make our financial rope more elastic.  We wouldn’t have survived this year without their intercession.

I’m thankful for a family that believes I am the best…especially when I know the truth.

I’m thankful that God sees me worthy of trial – though I am not always appreciative.

I’m thankful for the folks who have reminded me this year that God has used me – especially during the days where I felt hopeless and expendable.

I’m thankful for the future, though I know not what it holds.  When I get there, I pray I am as thankful as I am this morning.

For my next round of student families, wherever you are, I am thankful for you – and looking forward to the day when we get to meet!

And I’m thankful that You hold me, Jesus – especially on the days when I feel like I’m falling….

2013 – let it commence.


Grandma’s Kitchen

A few months ago, I was challenged to think of a literal place that brought me complete joy, peace, safety, comfort.  I wanted it to be church.  I gave a valiant effort.  I thought of the youth ministries I have served in the past 20 years.  I thought of dear friends made over the course of ministry done together.  I thought of influential people in my history – professors, pastors, and the like.

But try as I might, I could only think of one place that brought me the kind of security we were thinking about: my grandmother’s kitchen.

I can still see her robin-egg blue enamel kitchen table with mis-matched leather chairs shoved against the wall.  And just behind, the make-shift counter – probably recycled from an old tool shed somewhere by my grandfather.  That counter top was always chock full of stuff – dishes awaiting their permanent home, the huge, black rotary dial phone (on a party line!), and her old clay cookie jar…which I can see clearly in my own kitchen as I write this.

Because we lived on what I have affectionately dubbed ‘the family compound’, I would walk up the hill to grandma’s house every day before school.  She made me pancakes for breakfast almost every day – and every afternoon, gingersnaps standing by in the cookie jar.

She doctored scraped knees in that kitchen.  She ‘told the cow how to eat the cabbage’ in that kitchen.  She comforted scared and scarred children in that kitchen.  She listened to dreams -and encouraged them in that kitchen.  She served, prayed, disciplined, comforted, played, cried, laughed, cooked, cleaned, and loved  in that kitchen.

She pastored me in that kitchen – so in many ways, THAT church is the safest place I’ll ever know.  I miss her kitchen – and her influence and counsel in my life.  I am overwhelmed that God knew from the very beginning what kind of refuge I would need as a kid…and He ordained that position to my grandmother.  And no matter how long I serve in student ministry – how many churches, pastors, or people I lead – my safest place will always be that ‘church’ just up the hill from my house.



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