Friday, November 27, 2015

The Water Tower...

My teenage years were pretty challenging.

(Actually, I could probably slightly adjust that sentence to read: Teenage years are challenging for anyone.)

My family moved the year before I started junior high. I didn't really have any friends, and my dad literally worked seven days a week from the early hours of the morning until some times the wee hours of the following morning. There were lots of difficulties in my life at that time, but the Lord knew this, and He placed a very sweet and selfless couple in my life: The Bryants. David was my youth pastor, and his wife, Ashley, was a precious servant of the Lord. They truly were a team (which totally shaped how I view ministry with my husband.) They would often pick my brother and I up for youth events, bring us home, take us to special events no one else was going to...David and Ashley embodied the calling of ministry--which means you aren't just available from 9-5 on certain days of the week. No, he and and his wife sacrificed so much of themselves to truly minister to my family. They stretched me spiritually and encouraged me mentally. A huge part of who I am today is because of who they were to me then. 

(Lesson Number One: Never underestimate the power of your actions.)

During one of our Wednesday night series, David began something called "Destination Unknown." This was where he would take the youth to an unknown destination during our youth group time, and he would relate the place to a specific message. I remember visiting a wooded area where he discussed unreached people groups, posing the question how if people never hear the name of Jesus, can they still know that He exists and is their creator? A location I remember the most, though, was the city's old water tower. I still pass by it to this day every now and then when I am visiting my hometown. It's in an older part of town, and it's not surrounded by anything that would draw you to the neighborhood. It's not a place you would typically (or ever!) visit. You wouldn't take your kids out there to run in the small, open area for fun, you wouldn't plan a romantic picnic underneath its shadow, and you certainly wouldn't just visit to check an item off your bucket list of notable places to see. But 20 years later, I can still remember this short visit to that water tower, and every time I pass by it now, I'm brought back to that moment.

To be perfectly honest with you, I don't remember the point our youth pastor had in taking us there. I don't remember what passage of scripture he used, and I don't remember what the lesson was about. But as I was reflecting on it all today, for whatever reason, something struck me about it all: What exactly IS the purpose of a water tower? This is what I found:

"...A water supply system that provides emergency storage for fire protection..."

Why has that particular, short, Wednesday night lesson stuck in my mind all of this time? I think because of what that particular place represented. The water tower wasn't much to look at (there's a much newer and nicer looking one in my hometown now), and it didn't provide anything to me that I needed at that moment--we certainly weren't in need of emergency water supply that day at our visit! But I was desperately in need of consistent, spiritual figures in my life who would love me where I was at and encourage me to be all that God intended for me to be. I might not have known it at the time, but looking back, I can see several "emergencies" that were surrounding me, and I needed a source to be there for me to help get me through them. My youth pastor and his wife were just that. They didn't live in a fancy house, and I'm sure they weren't making very much at our small country church, but that didn't matter. They were living out their God-given calling with grace, determination, and purpose.

(Lesson number two: never allow the size of an assignment to determine the size of its possible effects. Jesus' most far-reaching ministry was just to a group of 12 people!)

I so desire that I can be that type of "emergency storage for protection" to other people. I pray that I never measure ministry by the size of the audience or the benefit for myself. I pray that I will allow myself to be fully available to consistently embody the security, supply, and sustenance that my Jesus desires to house within me, and I hope I remember that right now, my greatest audience is my family. It may not be the most glamorous of jobs--most days, I suit up in yoga pants and t-shirts; I encourage my husband and snuggle my babies;
I referee small sibling spats and serve quick and easy meals, and I don't get paid in any kind of monetary form. But that's not why I do what I do. I'm a wife and a mom because that's what GOD has called me to be--to love, encourage, provide, and be consistent in the everyday and the mundane. And while I certainly love and cherish my husband and my children, I pray my MAIN motive for being who I am is because I love my JESUS.

Be encouraged today, my friends. You may not have the largest audience--in fact, your location may often make you feel overgrown and forgotten--but you have a great purpose, and you may never realize the impact that you're having on those around you. So mommas, wear those yoga pants and spit up stains proudly! We play an important role in the body of Christ. Perhaps that city water tower will never really be utilized for its original intent, and perhaps we feel like our talents and desires remain untapped, too, but God desires that we remain consistent and AVAILABLE. God has created you to be an important source, housing His grace and His sustenance, so don't forget to tap into it!

1 comment:

  1. Amen, girl! You have learned so much and so effortlessly show the grace of God. Thanks for your words of encouragement. They truly mean so much as I'm struggling through this new phase in my life: letting my children go. :)