Friday, February 3, 2012

Be the Parent

I have found Thriving Family magazine by Focus on the Family so helpful (Check it out at!  Great articles for parents with kids ages 0-18.  So, as a parent of small kids- I love the helpful insights.  As a wife- I love the marriage articles.  As a youth volunteer- love reading the articles about teenagers (especially knowing I'll be the parent of teenagers someday).  This one struck me..."Attitude and Independence".  Quick read at 

One of the points was that no matter how much your tween pushes the boundaries, you still need to Be The Parent.  And I nod and agree, but how many times do we forget that as youth volunteers?  There is such a fine line between wanting to build relationships and be our students' friends, but at the same time, we are the responsible adult. I'm finding this concept especially challenging as I am no longer the young, free college student or newly married volunteer.  At that stage I think I had some level of "coolness" simply because of my season of life.  And even though now I don't think I'm that much older than our students, I am in a very different season of life.  Marriage and kids put a different set of expectations on a person, right or wrong.  In a way, it's easier to "Be the Adult" because that is what is expected.  But, there are many places and times when I struggle with volunteers (and occasionally parents) trying too hard to accepted that they forget to be the example.

And, interestingly, from my experience, students don't want you to be a student.  They want you to be the adult.  They thrive in safe boundaries with clear expectations.  They want someone to look up to, other than their parents.  They want to see if this Christian thing really does work.  They have plenty of peers who they are competing with in their lives.  They don't need us to be in that mix. 

So, as a reminder to myself and an encouragement to others serving faithfully in our student ministries, be the adult.  Don't let them be disrespectful, as the article shares, because they need to know that you care for them enough to not tolerate it.  Yes, we want to see our relationships and interactions with our students through rose colored glasses.  But, lets be true to them and to our God, and be the adult. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Nursing a Baby & Your Students

{So, after week 1, my goal was to blog once a week.  Last week's blog time was spent on the phone (mostly on hold) with the insurance company.  Oh the joys of adulthood!  Needless to say, blogging didn't happen last week.  :) }


When it happened once, it was funny.  But, this situation happened to me a SECOND time with a different baby and a different youth group.  Both times, Chris was out of town, and I had volunteered to teach for him.  I love teaching so I enjoy being able to prep a lesson, think of fun illustrations, come up with interactive games, etc.  I was ready.  I felt back in the groove being able to assist Chris when he needed me and not being already busy with the babies.  The first time I had Maddy with me 'cause she was 1 month old.  I thought, "No problem, she'll sleep, the students love my kids."  Yeah.  She got fussy so whats a mom to do?  So, I covered up and feed my poor baby 'cause that's what you have to do!  Oh, the look of HORROR on our poor students' faces!!!  They were trying so hard to be attentive and listen, but they could not even look me in the eye.  I kept reminding them that this is normal and natural, but it didn't matter.  :)  The second time, Jack was 4 months so he was in the nursery.  I was good.  Got all the kids dropped off to their classes, had time to chat with students, got started with the lesson...they bring Jack down 'cause he is inconsolable and of course, he needs to eat!  So, I sit down, cover up, and continue to teach.  I'm not really sure what the students heard or if I got my point across because I was now distracted, hot, and flustered.  But, they were all very sweet.  To me, it was hilarious; for most of them, it was a completely new experience.

And that is what stuck with me...why was it a new experience for our students?  Thinking back to when I was a teenager, I rarely remembered seeing someone breastfeed because all of my friends' families were past that season of life.  I didn't intentionally interact with young families as a teenager, expect to babysit.  I hung out with other teenagers.  As I think about our current church culture, are we simply shipping everyone off to their own age group?  Many people talk how their church is multi-generational.  I would much rather have an inter-generational church.  I looked up the definitions on Merriam-Webster's.  See what you think...

"multi"- many, multiple, much
"inter"- in the midst, carried on between, occurring between, involving two or more
"generation"- a group of individuals born and living contemporaneously 

Don't you love the definitions of "inter"?!  That is the kind of community I want to be a part of!  I want/need older women who have journeyed this path to teach and prepare me for what lies ahead.  I want to live out in front of our students what the next steps in life can look like.  Sound similar to the charge given to us in Titus 2.1-11?  I certainly don't have all the answers.  But I do know that something as everyday to me as having to feed my baby, got me thinking.  How are we living in front of our students that is inter-generational?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


I'm starting.  I just have to start!  Here are my fears and why I have been putting this off...
1.  I am a bad writer.
2.  I don't want to say the wrong thing.
3.  I'm nervous to be vulnerable.

Okay, now that those are out there.  Here are the reasons I really want to start this blog...
1.  Hold myself accountable and current in the ever changing world of Student Ministry
2.  Explore the unique world of being a partner in ministry as well as a wife and mom
3.  Create support and community among other ministry wives

I have been mulling this idea over for several months now and kept "re-writing" it in my mind.  But, I really felt convicted that I needed to challenge myself to do this.  When Chris (my awesome youth pastor husband) and I first started dating, we were partners in ministry.  We always "did" ministry together and LOVED it!  Actually, the weekend of our first date, Chris asked me if I had ever considered being a pastor's wife because that was what God had called him to do and he didn't want to lead me on.  So, I have known from the very beginning that this was the road I would travel.  What I didn't expect was the shift that would occur when our kids came along.  

I am blessed beyond words that I can stay home with them.  I am so thankful that Chris and I share that priority, and that he found ways to make that financially possible.  But, my role as "youth volunteer" has had to drastically change.  When it was just Sam (our oldest, 3 years old), he came with us to everything.  He was the youth group mascot.  :)  When Maddy (our only girl, 18 months old) came along, it was a little harder with feedings and bed times.  When Jack (our baby, 6 months old) surprised us by coming so quickly, there was no way we could be at Wednesday night student time without being a HUGE distraction.  So, I stay home with them.  As much as I can, we get babysitters and call on awesome grandparents to watch them for special events.  And, we bring them along to as many things as we can, but we (I) do not want our students to ever feel like they are missing out on meaningful interaction time because of small children running around.  Our students LOVE our kids, which I love.  And Sam likes nothing more than to hang out with the "teenagers".  But, I want to be respectful of our students and value the need my kids have for a schedule and routine among ministry life's need to be flexible.  

So after 4 years of being pregnant or nursing, our family enters 2012 with the goal to establish ourselves as a family unit of five.  I am finally ready/able to begin engaging my mind again.  I don't want that to sound negative.  I love being pregnant and caring for my little infants.  I'm just trying to recognize and accept the seasons God is ebbing and flowing us in and out of.  And I feel my way to walk alongside my youth pastor now is to stay interested and current in his field even if I can't be at all the stuff.  I want to be able to engage him in conversation that will help, encourage, and challenge him.  I am passionate about this next generation and desperately miss my opportunities to engage and chat with our students.  In new ways, though, God is providing opportunities like visits to our home during nap time or after bedtime.  :)  So, ready or not, here I come!  I'm ready to explore my new role as I serve alongside a youth pastor.