This week we spent three days at the Willow Creek Conspire Conference, a conference (our first) just for Children's Ministry workers and pastors. Even though we drove back and forth and got to see our sleepy kids in the evenings, I still really missed them while we were gone.
At the same time, having three whole days of car rides and uninterrupted time to just reconnect with Adam and take in all of the information was invaluable. I met some amazing, inspiring people who are working this children's ministry thing out just like we are. I sat under the teaching of some phenomenal leaders - people who have amazing stories to tell and wonderful insights into this thing we're doing. People like Phil Vischer who is the creator of Veggie Tales and who has an amazing story to tell. People like Christine Yount Jones the editor of Children's Ministry Magazine, which has been an invaluable tool for us since we started about two years ago.
I feel fired up, but internally conflicted. See, the past year has been full of changes for us as a family and for me personally. I finished up my second book. In case you haven't seen the cover, let me just post it again because I love it so so much:
and as I said before, I had nothing to do with how cool it looks so I can brag about it and not feel like I'm being - you know - braggy.
Anyway... there was the book. We moved. We had another little bugger to add to our clan. This guy, remember him?
(The boy one, of course... the girl one has been around for a few years.)
And I've gotten really involved in some things that I really love. Memory Makers Magazine for one thing... working as a Contributing Editor for them is literally a dream come true for me.
So with all of these things going on and the whole being sure I don't miss little things like this:
tiny little feet sticking out of the blanket. Feet that melt my heart...
I carry on an internal struggle. How do I do everything God has put into my heart to do? Especially when you throw in CYT - Christian Youth Theatre, which Adam and I are happily bounding into with full force. I mean, what could be better than an organization that trains kids in theatre and music - the primary passions of our lives? You've got KIDS, THEATRE AND MUSIC... that's me and Adam to a T. Surely God wants us to dive in head first, right?
Please tell me you have the answers because I don't. How do I reconcile keeping my life in balance, doing God's will and still having time to sleep? How do I pursue personal and professional goals while still helping Adam with our ministry? How do I sit quietly and wait for God's voice to inspire and motivate me when everything around me is so loud that hearing HIS voice is getting harder and harder and harder?
About five months ago - maybe not quite so many - I started to know for sure God was changing something. He was up to something. He was telling me about one of the big dreams I've been holding onto, preparing to release me into pursuing that dream. I've been working towards that... I've been praying towards that...
...and then there are so many other things pulling my attention. What am I really supposed to pursue when I really love all of the things in front of me? How do you compartmentalize the day so you can tackle each one and not allow anything to suffer? Why is God silent in times you need him most?
So, I'm conflicted and inspired and motivated and tormented all at the same time. I'm a 'do it right' kind of girl. I am a rule follower. I don't like to do anything the wrong way and I most certainly never want to step out of God's perfect will for my life. Maybe I'm putting unnecessary pressure on myself, I don't know... I just know I can still feel Him at work, still feel things shifting... still feel myself asking hard questions and struggling to find the answers.
And all I can say is, "God, I'm Yours. Do with me what you will..."
I can't tell you on a blog entry how very much I got out of this conference and how insanely much we needed it. I can't explain the feeling of having my gas tank full of information that is both practical and easy to implement. I can't deny the excitement I have as we embark on a year with such wonderful tools at our fingertips.
And as always, I continue to pray God will be at the healm (or is it helm - seriously, if I'm going to keep using this analogy, I should look it up...AHA! According to Wikipedia, It's HELM: the entire steering apparatus of a ship - not to be confused with HE-LAM which is what Wikipedia, in all its wisdom thought I was trying to spell.) ha. Just goes to prove that good ol' Wikipedia isn't so smart after all. Or something.
Anyway, I continue to pray God is at the helm of our ship. And that's all I can ask... he'll steer us in the right direction. Not always out of choppy waters, sometimes right into the eye of the storm... but he's right there with us, manning the wheel and throwing us that life jacket when we get tossed overboard.
Pray for me as I wade through so much information. I feel like there are some important decisions in our future.
...and if you ever get a chance to go to a Willow Creek Conference in your specialty: go. If you have a CYT in your area, sign your kids up. Even the non-theatrical can benefit in self esteem and have so much fun.
Off to a b'day party! Happy Weekend!