I’ve been parked at Starbucks to work most of today. This is my favorite way to work—in a coffee shop with a White Chocolate Mocha, my laptop, my Bible, and a notebook nearby. Earlier a song was playing, and the line, “This is all I ever wanted from life,” played over and over in my head.
That’s how I feel. At the old age of 30, I have all I’ve ever wanted from life. I’m married to the only man I’ve ever wanted to do life with. I have two beautiful, loving, smart kids. I have a rancher on a 2-acre lot, and we own two vehicles. Okay, I’m a cliché, but I couldn’t be happier to be one.
This weekend I hated to be away from my family, but I got to retreat with some teenagers and other adults who love teenagers. Saturday afternoon I sat on a dock with two sophomore girls who are in my small group. Our toes were in a cool lake while the warm sun hit our faces. We talked about boys and shaving our legs. They talked about how rare it is for them to have a Saturday that’s free from school activities, babysitting jobs, and other responsibilities. I gave them a Sabbath, a retreat. I guess sitting on that dock with those girls was part of my “responsibility” as their youth pastor. But all I could think was, “This is what I get to do for a living?! Seriously?!”
We had a great weekend on our retreat, “Leave Your Fears Behind.” We conquered our fears with a climbing wall and a giant swing. (The name doesn’t do it justice; you wear a harness and get pulled higher than the pine trees, and then you let go and fly through the air.) We conquered fears of eating baby food, ketchup-covered M&M’s, and pickled pig’s feet. We identified with a man who approached Good Friday knowing the rejection, ridicule, pain, and death that awaited him. We laid down our fears at His feet and remembered Him with communion.
Saturday evening I instructed everyone to represent their fears on a piece of paper. As I sat down to follow my own instructions, I realized that my greatest fear is that I’ll mess it up. I have all I’ve ever wanted from life, and I just don’t want to screw it up. I see limitless potential in my husband, my son, and my daughter, and I don’t want to impede their growth or success.
On the way home yesterday, I was riding shotgun with a friend who has been a partner in ministry for many years. Most of the others in the vehicle (Molly, Sarah, Tanner, Daniel) work with me on a weekly basis to make our student ministry happen. They didn’t have any responsibilities on this retreat, except for Tanner playing drums. But they still showed up to services early offering to help, and they stayed late to clean-up that program and set-up for the next one. They sent me texts offering their help with anything. They welcomed me onto the volleyball court, even though I’m 5’2” and not much of an athlete…and we had a blast.
As I sat in that vehicle with that group of people yesterday, my eyes welled with tears. “This is my life?! Seriously?! I get to do THIS work with THESE people?!”
I am overwhelmed. I am grateful. I am thankful.This is all I’ve ever wanted from life.