So last night was my last night at cornerstone chapel. My heart ached, my eyes cried. But it was one last, sad look on the place of, really, my spiritual youth.
I grew up in the way I should go, there.
But, though God is at work in the place where I've spent so much of my life, He's on to a new thing with me.
I scanned the place where I led worship so many times for so many different people. I took in the carpet that held so many of my tears as I sought some floor space.
I looked at the corner where I sat and prayed for so many people.
I sat in the chairs I never actually sat in very much because I was always in the sound booth running the computer or sound...
And I watched as my pastor - the one who showed me how to lead and pastor as I do now, get on his knees and wash both the new youth pastor and the new youth directors' feet.
I watched as 3 of the strongest men in my life openly wepped, being humbled in so many different ways.
I saw Jesus.
And so, as I took all of this in, I couldn't help but wonder - what sort of legacy did I leave?
None but a few people talked to be as I spent my last Wednesday watching everything go on around me.
I'm sure many have their opinions of me and my choice to leave. I'm sure many are glad. But then there were a few people, surprising as it was, whom I never knew would hug me with tears in their eyes and thank me...
My heart is overwhelmed with a sadness, a love, and a need to continue forward.
I loved these people. I still do. In so many ways I pastored them... as did all the rest of the youth leaders.
But God gave me charge over the 6th grade girls this year, thanks to Pastor Mark, and those girls were MY girls. :)
I grew so much as I taught them as best I could what God has been showing me. I probably grew more then they did.
But one thing I know... it meant more then anything to me when they each gave me hugs as I watched them deal in their own way with the fact that I wouldn't be there again.
Some were silly and acted normal.
Then there were just a few... just a few who sadly looked at me through those beautiful little eyes of theirs and told me they'd miss me and couldn't stop hugging me.
THAT is God.
I could never have loved those girls the way I did without God's love... and that Love He first loved me with.
They mean soo much to me. Heh, no matter what I was going through each week, they were a constant reminder that I needed to just look past myself and my problems for a while to see the beauty of the Lord in each little heart as I listened to THEIR problems.
11 years old and the Lord revealed Himself to me. I was 12 years old when He encountered me with His Spirit. 13 when I started thinking about missions. I was 14 when I knew I'd follow Him into the ministry. 16 when I began to lead worship. 18 When I began to truly pursue ministry as a life job... All of which Pastor Mark has only encouraged and helped develope as time went on. Now here at 19, the Lord thinks its time to move MY influencer on. He thinks I'm ready to be without him.
I think of how much Pastor Mark influenced my life... How much his life - the way he lived it, impacted mine.
And then I think of how for just the short amount of essential time I may have influenced these blossoming young women. What will they remember so many years down the line that may have impacted them?
I pray it was Jesus they saw.
I pray that the way I lived MY life, the way I conducted myself, is something they will consider, and that in some strange way, they'd imitate my faith, just as I have been trying to imitate PM's.
I hope that this part of my life would line up with Hebrews 13:7 -
Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.
I guess you could say that I'm blown away by all God continues to show me about how important it is to represent Jesus to the world.
But you can't just start with the world first.
You must start small. Start young. Start with what God gives you.
Its sort of like the promise of Abraham that we go by - God will multiply us. I may not see the fruits of my labor, but those girls may. Praise the Lord.
What peace, to know that in His time, God makes all things beautiful?
As long as for me, that beauty is in producing fruit, It'll be worth all the heart ache.
It'll be worth every tear.