Precious Moments (and we’re not talking little pastel colored figurines)

Well, I actually am going to talk about those little figurines for a minute. I’ll go ahead and admit that I own exactly one. It’s a nativity scene with a child kneeling beside the manger looking at baby Jesus. Maybe he’s giving a gift to baby Jesus? Anyway, it was a gift from Michael’s great-grandmother Alice who owns approximately 273 of the little figurines (give or take). I do faithfully take it out every year at Christmas and this year it looked pretty cute on the shelf in Abigail’s room, I must say.

If you’re not familiar with these little statues of smiling cherubs, here’s the deal. There are thousands of them to choose from. They are intended to commemorate special times in your life or the life of your child or perhaps represent some special interest or hobby. So you could find a little statue of a small boy fishing with his dad or a girl going off to school for the first time. You can choose from children building a snowman, skipping girls holding baskets or a boy throwing a football. And then you’ve got your major life events like graduation, marriage, first baby, anniversaries and so on. Since Abigail is coming up on her first birthday in just a few weeks, this particular one made me laugh out loud today:

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Why is this funny? Because this moment will never happen. There is no way that Abigail will ever sit that close to her cake without diving in with both hands, unless mom and dad are literally holding her arms behind her back. And then she might just stick her face right in it. Yes, it’s sweet and cute. Just not realistic. This one is a little better although if you’ve seen Abigail eat this kid is still about ten times cleaner:

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Of course there’s nothing at all wrong with these adorable little porcelain friends. They commemorate important moments in life that we want to remember! But when I think about what they represent, I can’t help but think that those types of “precious moments” can be few and far between. Birthdays are significant, but they happen once a year. Learning to ride a bike is a milestone but there’s a lot of life on either side of that day. Bringing home a baby from the hospital is one of the single most life-changing events there is – but it’s still just one day of thousands and it comes and goes surprisingly fast. You’ll have about 6,570 more of those days just by the time they turn 18.

I’ll admit, I’m often tempted to gauge life by what major milestone Abigail is accomplishing and then try to rush her on to the next one. You’re rolling over, great, now let’s start crawling. You’ve started eating finger foods and like peas and corn ok, let’s try steak! (This is real life.) Ok, you’ve been playing around with this walking thing for three weeks now, let’s take some serious steps! Hurry up and turn one year old so we can please stop buying expensive formula!

But then I have times like Sunday afternoon where it’s just us at the house and she’s eating black beans and corn (and, ok, maybe french fries too) and she’s loving every minute of it and waving her arms in the air after every bite. And we laugh and she throws corn at Amos the dog and then smiles at me because she knows she did something she’s not supposed to do. And that is a truly precious moment. And that is what makes up the bulk of our days. Eating, giving baths, reading books, picking up toys, playing with the dog, cleaning up after dinner, changing diapers…This is what we do day in and day out. It’s not glamorous. It probably doesn’t deserve a commemorative porcelain figurine. But it’s how we spend our days. And it’s precious.

So when I’m tempted to rush through to the next “big” thing, I’m choosing to slow down and enjoy each moment. Like changing the imminent diaper containing certified nuclear waste after the black bean and corn dinner. Maybe that’s a moment that Michael needs to enjoy…

The Role of an Adult in the Life of a Teenager

I have spent basically all of my adult life working with teenagers in some capacity. Sometimes that was Sunday school teacher. Sometimes it was camp staffer. Sometimes it was Bible study teacher, mentor, game player, worship leader, chaperon, discussion guider, host home mom, lock-in supervisor, homework helper, you name it. I love them.

I love how awkward they are in middle school and how they literally do not stop moving. Ever. What is that?

I love how they think they know everything one day and the next day the whole world is a blank slate again.

I love how they don’t know who they will be in five years but we see a glimpse of who they are becoming.

I love how dramatic they are. I really do. They are dramatic because everything is important to them. EVERYTHING is SUPER IMPORTANT! Like, OMG…

I love getting text/Facebook messages from them where I have to enlist google to decipher what all the  abbreviations mean…IDK what UR talking about…

Though I love them, I’ll be the first one to admit that I feel like an unlikely candidate for student ministry. Suffice it to say, I am not cool. No, in fact, I am pretty much the opposite of cool. I am not loud or crazy. I don’t giggle, I’m not silly. I dress pretty conservatively and am fairly reserved most of the time. My almost one year old goes to bed at 8:00 on the dot so my idea of “night life” is pretty much limited to Netflix or a good book. And I am perfectly ok with that. I despise a good 95% of what is deemed “popular” music.

Not only am I not cool, I’m a rule enforcer. I’m the chaperon that knocks on your door at 6:45 a.m. to make sure you are awake and will make it to breakfast on time. I make you drink water and eat vegetables at camp. I don’t let you go back for a second bowl of ice cream. I will shush you.

I never make the mistake of thinking I’m cool and that’s why teenagers would want to hang out with me. So why would they? Because I’m an adult. And they need adults. They need their parents, first and foremost. But even when their parents are godly and loving, they still need other adults. They need people who will love them the way Christ loves them. They need to see what it looks like to live out your faith in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and so on. They need to see that a relationship with Christ extends far beyond the four walls of the church on Wednesday night. They need someone that listens. They need someone that prays.

They don’t necessarily need a buddy. They have plenty of friends speaking all kinds of messages into their lives every day. They don’t need more of that. They need an adult who will speak truth to them. And who will listen. And who will love them and value them. That’s why it’s ok that I’m not cool. I don’t need to be. That’s not my role. My role is to model a life fully lived for Christ and the Gospel and to spur them on to do the same.