As the summer draws to a close and the school year upon us, I have been reflecting over this past summer. It has been a summer where I have tried to be mindful of my family. My job as a Youth Minister requires many nights away from the family. And juggling my primary vocation and my job can be quite a balancing act.
But this summer, with Alesha and the kids out of school and at home, we’ve spent many mornings sleeping in and spending quality time with the kids. I can’t believe how fast they are growing up. It seems like yesterday we brought a new baby (Jay) home from the hospital, and this week he’ll be starting kindergarten.
As I’ve reflected over the time we’ve been blessed with this summer, and I’ve began to prepare for a new year of school and youth ministry, I’ve tried to pinpoint the lessons of this summer. As many of you know, the Lord definitely teaches me about His heart for us through the craziness of my kids.
Last week, the Lord brought to the forefront of my mind something that Jay did every single morning this summer. As Alesha and I would lie in bed, morning after morning, we would here a loud thumb as this 3 foot nothing kid jumped out of bed. That was immediately followed by the pitter patter of little feet running to our bedroom door. And every day, as he ran into our room, he would exclaim with enthusiasm, “What are we doing today!?”
Recently in my journey with the Lord, I have come to the realization that most of my movements, personally and in ministry, have been MY movements. Meaning, rarely did I ever stop to ask the Lord what He wanted to do? Or where He was leading?
As of late, I have been trying to be mindful of asking the Lord to lead me (as a husband, as a father, as a man and as youth minister). If I am going to be completely honest, I am still “leading the Lord” more than I am surrendering to His movements.
But as I continue to reflect on Jay’s morning question, “What are we doing today?” I am beginning to realize if this life is going to make sense. If I am going to be the man (husband, father, youth minister) that the Lord knows I can be, I have to ask the Lord every morning, “What are we doing today?”
Once again, my little man, in all his 5 year old glory, is teaching me how to approach the Lord. So as we begin this new year of school and ministry, please pray for me to ask the Lord “what He has planned.”
Imagine what the world would be like if we allowed the Lord to lead us instead of telling Him what needs to be done. Where is the Lord leading you today? What does He have planned?
“Ask and it will be given to you…” (Matthew 7:7)
Several weeks ago, Alesha and I were in the house talking and Jay was playing outside. All of the sudden, we heard a loud bang and then a loud cry. He was running with the hose, which he wasn’t supposed to be playing with, and he tripped. He fell, head first, into the metal fire pit we have. Alesha and ran outside to get him. He was crying hysterically and asking us to kiss it (because everyone knows that a parent’s kiss can heal anything). He had the biggest bump on his forehead. The funny thing was he needed us to put a band-aid on it.
You see, for some reason, my son thinks that band-aids can fix anything. It doesn’t matter if it is cut, an ant bite or even a bruise, a kiss from mom and a band-aid is what he needs.
The last weeks of Lent, leading up to Easter, this was my meditation point. What are the things in my life that I put “band-aids” on instead of seeking real healing?
As funny as it may seem, Jay’s thought about band-aids, aren’t far off from the way we deal with our hearts. I know for me, there are areas in my heart that I don’t even like to look at because the wound is so painful. So I mask it, maybe even pretend to allow God to bring “understanding” to it. But I rarely seek healing from it.
Jesus, when he shows up on the scene, tells us exactly why he has come. He unrolls the scroll and reads from Isaiah. “I have come to heal the broken hearted.” You and I look in all sorts of places for happiness. We spend our days trying to avoid “triggers” or situations that cause us loose our cool – our joy. We spend time and money on things that are momentary fixes – band-aids. We rarely go head on into our hearts seeking true joy.
When Jesus walked to the garden the night he was arrested, he stopped and told the famous “Vine and Branches” parable (John 15). In that great parable there is a line that sticks out to me, “I have told you this that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete” (v11). You see, Jesus was on his way to die and he was talking about his joy. Life is not always about avoiding discomforts and hardships. But I am convinced that if we find our joy in Jesus, the healing that comes with that encounter can help us to always be a joy-filled people.
A friend of mine often says that happiness is a decision. You and I chose to be happy no matter what the situation is.
This Easter season, while we rejoice in the reality that the tomb is in fact empty; let us take a look at the band-aids in our lives. Just maybe we can peel them off and fill that empty tomb with our hurts and our sins, the very things Jesus came to heal and destroy.
See you in the Eucharist.