A couple of weekends ago, I was able to attend a Women's retreat at Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center.
I had a lovely time meeting the other people and having a chance to reset my heart and mind and contemplate lots of questions that had been buzzing around in my head.
(Tammie, Me, Lori and Donna)
So often when asked the question, "What do you do?" I pause, ponder and wonder what answer to give. You see in youth ministry, what my work is is often as eclectic and changeable as the weather in western NY. What I work at in my work is unpredictable, always interesting and never, never boring. This is probably much of the reason I like it, that - and I enjoy the students I work with so much. They help keep me young.(or so I think!)
However, in ministry it can be challenging to understand what I do does not validate who I am. Yes, I am a teacher, a wife, a mom, an artist, a singer and a writer; but all those descriptions do not and should not box me in. My weekend away gave me a chance to sort out some of these questions and statements and embrace the joy of creative playfulness and friendship building. Ironically, all the affirmation I received helped me to look out to other possibilities that I may have otherwise missed. Being in a group of encouraging people has a way of doing that.
Opening up to opportunity to play and putter helped me to better acknowledge and be lovingly reminded by my new friends, that I'm loved and cherished for who I am, where I am, no matter what. While it is wonderful to be recognized for what gifts I hold, it is a greater gift to be unconditionally loved.
Isn't that what everyone is looking for, after all?
That weekend was a time to rediscover individual gifts, but it was not limited to that. It was a time to greater grasp the fact that we are not alone, we have people all around us, and we need each other so much. We all are connected, but times like this help to solidify and bring to light the human as well as the spiritual connections that are present every day. Jesus once said, "I am the vine, you are the branches."
God help us to grow deep and strong enough to show someone feeling disconnected that they too are not alone.
We are, you are, they are part of the family too.
Help make the connections that we sometimes miss.
Group alter project for Saturday evening worship.