For starters, here's a couple of sentences I never thought I would speak.
- I’m dropping the kids off at youth group.
- I’m ok being without a job for a few months.
Both sentences go together, because as many of you know, I told the church I had youth pastored at for 15 years that God was telling me it was time to go.
Now I know that when someone invokes the voice of God into a decision, it can sound like they're passing the blame onto the Deity. After all, who's going to argue with the voice of the Lord? I imagine people largely fall into 2 categories on this matter.
Group #1 imagines the youth pastor just wants a change, but doesn't want people to dislike him for making the choice to leave.
Group #2 wonders when the youth pastor started hearing the voice of God.
For group #1, all I can offer is the invitation to walk where my family walked this year and then ask yourself if you'd make that choice...willingly. For group #2, I sometimes wondered the same thing. But the results can only be explained as being of God. For I never dreamed up the results.
To describe the results, let me offer you a few numbers.
3. Number of months I went without a job. When I did rejoin the workforce, it was in the highly lucrative position as a substitute teacher. I'm not complaining, since I was happy to be getting paid at all, but whatever we're paying teachers needs to be doubled immediately. Pro athletes should be told they can play games for a living, but the revenue goes to those investing in the next generation.
40. Over 40 actually. That's the number of churches I looked at, interviewed at, or had some level of interaction with, looking for a job. I really thought I was going to remain in youth ministry.
1. My family assumed we were moving. We really did. I applied far and wide. I told God I was willing to go wherever. When the job at Grace College came my way, I laughed because it was as if God was answering, 'I want you across the street.' That's right, my new job is 1 block away from the church we were at for 15 years.
My family learned a lot about trusting God this year. We used the word adventure a lot, because we knew, whatever happened, it would be God leading us. We learned about contentment, understanding that Clancy's Chips, a Doritos off-brand, do not taste quite the same, but get the job done.
We are keeping our hearts and minds open. We understand that it would be easy for us to assume that we can take our lives back over, because God did some huge things this year. But when one sees God work, in so many miraculous ways, as we have seen Him work in 2017, all we should do is live in thankful response and prepare for the next adventure.
Bring on 2018!