Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The New Plan

You know how sometimes you want to say something but the timing's not right? So then you can't really think of anything else to say because the only thing that comes to mind is the thing you can't say? Kind of like the mole scene in Austin Powers? Yes? That's been me for a while now. The timing is right. So...read on...

Last summer I did something amazing. Fun. Different. Illogical.

Some of you may have read a couple of posts about it...it was a pretty big deal in my life. I became a children's ministry intern for my church's summer program. Some of you may call it VBS. We call it Kids Club. Whatever you call it, I was the oldest intern in the history of our church--most of the other interns were in college. A couple were just graduating from high school. I was 27.  And I loved every second of it. I would work my full-time university job, jump in my car, and zoom to church where I would spend my afternooons and evenings. I got to oversee the fun work of helping kids learn to love Jesus and have a blast while doing it.  I was exhausted every night. And I was thrilled.

So here's the thing--my dad is a pastor. I've seen what it looks like to have ministry as your vocation. But for me, well, I had never, ever thought about full-time ministry. It just didn't occur to me that this might be something I liked, let alone something I might be good at.  In fact, I really just felt lucky they let me be a part of the coolness at all.  The flip side of my dad's vocational ministry was my mom's life of volunteer ministry. She's always worked tirelessly to support my dad and our church as a volunteer.  I kind of thought that would be my life, too--a cheerful volunteer. And it has been my life up til now.

I started serving in the nursery when I was about 12. I loved it but for some reason I never saw it as ministry. Or a career. I just loved babies and I loved my church--they both needed help and I was there to provide the service.  I served in the nursery providing care and activities for children age 0-5 until I left for college.

When I went to college, I found my current congregation and joined about two years later.  Funny enough, I put off becoming a member because "I wouldn't be there that long." Little did I know. Ha!  I began serving in preschool-aged ministry the minute I joined and served until I left. When I returned,  I immediately volunteered to serve again. All this to say, I always loved serving with the younger kiddos and absolutely loved seeing and building the foundations of a relationship with Jesus in those little ones.

But. During Kids Club, for the first time ever, I fell in love with the idea of ministry as a career. I left each day, exhausted and completely excited about what was going on in the lives of not just the kids but the volunteers. And in my life, too.  And I kept thinking how amazing it would be if I really got to do this. This ministry thing. Full time.

It is with the utmost joy that I get to announce I will be joining my church's children's ministry team full time beginning May 1. I will be the Early Childhood Director, overseeing the volunteers, programming, and curriculum for children age 0-5. I feel incredibly humbled and blessed to have the opportunity to serve my church family full time in this role.

Leaving the university I've called home (and work) for about nine years now is bittersweet but I will never really "leave" Mizzou. I mean, Jon Hamm said it best, right? ZOU. Forever. Just, you know, not in a working capacity for me. For now.

Yes, I have a degree in higher education. And I feel that education has served me well. I am very much looking forward to seeing just how much preschool kids and college kids have in common. My guess is they're probably more alike than I imagine. Ha!  In all honesty, though, I really do love college kids and get to be a part of their lives still in different capacities.

It's funny. This whole adoption slow down has been a bummer, to be certain. I will tell you this, though. If I had an infant at home now, like I originally thought I might when this process started, I don't think I would have even considered changing jobs.  But God is so, so sovereign and knows so much more than I do. Lucky for me, he only reveals things to me on a need-to-know basis because I probably couldn't handle it all at once.  I don't have a baby at home right now to shepherd in the Lord . But I have several hundred kids and families to love and share Jesus with instead.  And you know what? It wasn't my plan but for me, for now, it's better.

To those of you who have already shown your support, I say a huge thank-you. To those of you who are just now hearing, please pray for me, my amazing co-workers-to-be, and for the ministry workers at your own church. I know we all need it.  It's completely humbling to think I get to do this, to be a part of this ministry thing.

But.
 
I can't wait.

19 comments:

  1. How amazing!! Congratulations - can't wait to read about all the amazing things I know God is planning to do through you! :)

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    1. Thanks, Ryan! I really am so very excited!!

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  2. You are just so precious, and I couldn't be happier for you. I love your statement that God only reveals things on a need-to-know basis b/c we probably couldn't handle it all at once. So true. Sending you my prayers for this next chapter!!!

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    1. Laura, you are so kind and I have been and always will be blessed by your friendship and your involvement in my life.

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  3. Congrats!!! You will do absolutely amazing :) What a wonderful place for you!

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  4. Wow Congratulations!!! How exciting!!! God is not only using your gifts for His glory, but you'll also be such a pro mom when your son comes home!! So so happy for you. The Crossing is lucky to get such a great lady!

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    1. Thanks, Ashley! You are so right--I get a front row seat to watch some God-fearing mommas before I get to do it. How awesome.

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  5. Yahh!! So excited for you!!

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  6. Once again....so very proud of you, Jessica. Now wouldn't it be cool to have that children's ministry pack shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child? Hmmmm You're an inspiration to all. :)

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    1. Oh Kim, you have always been my cheerleader! Thank you!

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  7. Jess this is wonderful news. I am so very happy for you.

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  8. Allison (Bybee) MirabitoApril 12, 2012 at 3:33 AM

    This is awesome! I am so excited for you:)

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  9. nice post thanks for sharing..looking for to visit more...blessings

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