God Knows What We Need

Last Sunday, we talked about how God knows what we need… and how God provides for our needs! Well, I got a first hand experience in God providing for my needs on Sunday, the very day I taught this lesson!

To start, our projector hasn’t been working and we had to do without! Since our lesson was on the Israelites wandering in the dessert and complaining to God during that time, I decided to make the kids act as Israelites… and each small group was to be a family. It felt pretty chaotic having kids walk around in circles (and few that just couldn’t walk but felt the need to run) and their whining and complaining getting louder and louder. Well, when our time was over, I had both leaders and kids come up to me and say: “that was so fun!” “i had so much fun today.” “i wanna come back here.”  Initially I was just thankful to get this feedback and felt encouraged despite all the technical issues we had that day.

When I went out to the foyer to get lunch, I happened to be standing across from a parent that I talk to once in a blue moon. I, of course, started with a small talk: “How are you? How’s work?” Then she proceeded to tell me how much she appreciates our children’s ministry… and she said, “I can’t wait to read this months’ parent newsletter. I read it cover to cover… In fact, I save it every month! Thank you so much for putting that together for us. I absolutely look forward to reading it. In addition, I just want to tell you that my kids tell me what they have learned every Sunday… and I love that they get excited to tell me about it. We love coming here. Thank you!” To be honest, I was caught off-guard because my church doesn’t have a culture of giving feedbacks (positive nor negative) and sometimes I wonder “does anyone read the newsletters? why do parents like bringing kids to our church? why do kids like coming?” I actually told her that her feedback meant so much and her words were my God Sighting for the day because it was one of the most encouraging things i had heard in awhile at the church.

By now, I’m feeling pretty encouraged… and feeling like I’m on Cloud 9, filled with gratitude and great joy for getting to do what I do! Well, that feeling was quickly changed that afternoon as I met with few leaders. Don’t get me wrong… I believe some of our leaders do the best they know how… but I found myself feeling flustered and discouraged in the middle of our meeting. People often tell me that I think very differently about children, youth, & family ministry… and most churches are not ready for that paradigm shift. I always think “how different could I be?” Well, I finally really felt it… and I started to feel crazy trying to explain how I feel about children, youth, & family ministry (I won’t go into too much detail since this isn’t the point of this blog but if you’d like to hear my thoughts, I’m always open for discussion–i just love talking about KidMin, Student Min, & Family Min… so just message me!)

Anyhow, I left that day very deflated. This one incident had erased my joy and excitement… and all of a sudden, I found myself asking a bunch of unhealthy questions. That evening, two of my pastors texted me with encouraging words… When we came into the office on Tuesday, my campus pastor said, “I actually left that meeting feeling more thankful for you and your heart and your vision. As challenging as it is, I am so glad to be doing ministry with you.” Those were the words of affirmation that became medicine to my soul.

Often times, discouraging words and experiences can completely erase all the highs of emotions. As I spent some time processing through the events of this weekend, I was reminded that God bookended that meeting with encouraging words of affirmation that I usually don’t hear for a reason! God knew I needed to be reminded of my calling. God knew I needed to be affirmed of our kids transformation. God knew I needed to hear that parents are in this journey together. God knew I needed to hear that I was an integral part of the team. That moment, I was reminded that the truth of the lesson came real and alive to me!  How cool is that???

One more thing… if you’re a parent or a volunteer or even an attendee, do practice giving feedback to your leaders… both positive and negative (but negative should be done in love and with careful words)… encouraging feedback means so much to a weary soul… and constructive criticism will only help your leaders and ministry grow in a good way!

Lessons Learned from 7 Food Challenge… (it’s only day 5)

Today is Day 5… and more and more of my friends think I’m crazy (but that’s nothing new)…

I’ve been eating well… but I’ve already learned quite a bit just from first five day:

  • I’m addicted to coffee.  I had the worst caffeine withdrawal headache on day 2… I was out of commission for 2 hours because my headache was so bad.  I still really love the taste of coffee, but I will work on cutting down when I go back to drinking coffee in July.
  • I went to the market on Day 1 so I would have enough of my 7 foods for the first week.  This might be a record, but I was in and out of the market in 10 minutes.  I usually take close to an hour shopping for food for the week… but given that I knew exactly what I could buy, I didn’t waste time looking around at new items, comparing brands and prices, etc… Wow, I just saved myself a lot of time!
  • My week’s grocery bill was $35!!!!  Every time I go, I spend about $100 on average… I just saved a lot of money!!!
  • I can get very creative about making food just with my 7 items.  I do not feel deprived in any way… I’ve been eating well… and I’m thankful.
  • I’ve eaten out with people twice, and now that I’m very aware of what I’m eating, I’m amazed by how many ingredients go into everything you order in a restaurant!  I seriously live such comfortable life… and I think I easily eat 7 items per meal.  I have a new perspective on what I’m privileged and blessed to eat.
  • When I started, I said this wasn’t about being legalistic… so when I went over to my cousins’ house, they had my favorite food waiting for me–sushi and crab!  I couldn’t say no especially knowing that they went out of their way to feed me my favorites!  I was able to cheat one day, and I see it as a blessing from God… God continues to bless me abundantly even in the midst of my challenges!
  • I’m more challenged to simplify my life!!!!  And excited to see what lessons and experiences the next 25 days will bring!