Guest blogger, Katie Atcheson, serves in the daily trenches of Children’s Ministry as the Minister of Children and Families at Grayson United Methodist Church located in Grayson, Georgia. Katie and I have known one another for years going all the way back to weekday ministry.
I’m a busy mom of three, and I also work full-time as a Minister of Children and Families. There have been times when I rely on music and/or the words of others to help express to the Lord how I’m feeling. Sometimes I just can’t formulate the words to say what I want to my Jesus. I’m so glad that others can often say it just right!
Which leads me to one of my current favorite songs; it’s called “Weep With Me” by Rend Collective. What a beautiful song! Seeing the song title actually prompted me to download the entire album (and if you choose to do the same, you won’t be disappointed). The name of the song caught my attention as the past few months have been a trying and challenging season for me. Not that I sit around crying all the time, but there have certainly been moments when I cry out to Jesus – in need of answers, clarity, and direction. What’s funny is that I can’t say I’ve received any of those three things I currently long for. At least not in the way I had hoped. Nonetheless I continue to cry out to Him.
My nature, however, would be to turn away from Him in these challenging seasons. Or at least to distance myself. But instead, these past few months have been a season of getting to know Him in a new way. I long to hear from Him, and I can’t say I am hearing His voice in the way I’d like to. Then again, maybe I’m not supposed to. Yet.
Maybe I’m supposed to – in the throws of VBS planning and working on hiring a new assistant and thinking about summer volunteers and planning out what our Sunday morning kids’ worship services may look like for the next few months and looking ahead to fall and times of transition for our children’s ministry (whew!) – be still. Before him. To weep. To listen. To listen for His voice when my human nature says I need to be busy and moving and planning for the next thing.
Working (even volunteering!) in Children’s Ministry is certainly not for the faint of heart. It’s one of the biggest joys of my life! I adore what God has called me to do. But we all go through seasons of change, including seasons where God is stretching us, teaching us to fully rely on Who He is. This is most definitely a challenging time for me, and honestly I can’t pinpoint quite why. There’s a disconnect, maybe even a slight void – and a longing for something more. Maybe you, working in ministry, feel the same at times.
I’m anxious and excited to see what is on the other side of this season for me (and for you, assuming this is something you face as well!). But I also want to abide in this place that He has called me to – whether it’s pretty or messy, whether I’m comfortable or not. I’d say right now I’m fairly uncomfortable. But I know my God is faithful; He is for me, and I want to be faithful in return.
I want to remember – daily – that ministry may not always be comfortable. Ministry is messy (especially children’s ministry – one word: glitter)! Ministry isn’t always meant to run smoothly. I know Jesus’ ministry was full of challenges. So I pray that He will equip me to do the best job I can for Him and to call upon His name daily – whether times are easy or challenging. I’m sure he did the same throughout His ministry here upon this earth.
So I do. I call upon Him. And sometimes, I do cry out to Him for answers.
And then I heard that song, “Weep With Me.” One day recently, some of the lyrics just got hold of me. They say:
“Weep with me
Lord will You weep with me?
I don’t need answers, all I need
Is to know that You care for me”
Maybe I don’t need answers after all. I just need Him.
So what do I do when I’m discouraged? What do I do when I don’t hear from Him in the way I wish I could?
“Yet I will praise You
Yet I will sing of Your name
Here in the shadows
Here I will offer my praise.”
I’ll praise Him. From the shadows. I’ll praise Him when I’m unsure, when I’m weak, when I’m discouraged. And you know we all can be from time to time.
So with this next part, I must include a disclaimer and say that I am by no means a singer (ask my kids when I sing to them in my car!). But a part of this song truly gripped me:
“Turn my lament
Into a love song.
And from this lament
Raise up an anthem.”
So will God turn this season of disconnect and challenges into an expression of love to honor Him? He can. And I believe He will. Which then allows me to rest in this season of unrest knowing that He will be glorified so long as I keep my eyes on Him.
One of my favorite scriptures is from 2 Chronicles 20. Verse 12 says, “For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” Verse 15 goes on to say, “This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” I don’t always know what to do. I don’t have all the answers. But I know the one Who does, and I must – daily – keep my eyes on Him. For the battle isn’t mine. What a relief! God’s got this.
I encourage you to rest in Him, no matter what your circumstances are. Perhaps you work or volunteer in ministry, and maybe you, too, are facing a season of disconnect or discouragement. No matter what or why, remember that these challenges which lie before you aren’t for you to figure out. Yes, we have to do our part, but ultimately, God has the answers, and He’s waiting on us to figure that out! He loves us – unconditionally – and when we encounter these challenges and trying times, He simply wants to weep with us. I pray you will allow Him to do just that.