Thank you so much to everyone who welcomed me to St. Tim’s this past week! I’m really honored to join this amazing community as the Youth and Children Minister. Excitement and joy are the words that best describe my feelings, but I would be lying if I said, as with any new call, there isn’t some unease or doubt. This upcoming Sunday we will read the story of the Lord very literally calling out to Samuel, and I can’t tell if I envy Samuel for receiving such a direct message from God or if that would be just terrifying. Thanks to supportive Christian communities and the beauty of God’s creation, it was in middle school that I began to live into my relationship with God. I leaned on my faith to get through the challenges of growing up and listening to the Holy Spirit came naturally for me then. I learned that God always called me to the best places, even when it was hard. As I’ve grown older I’ve had to work more and more at listening to the Spirit. Like most Americans, my life has become busier and filled with more noise over the years. God has also challenged me in difficult ways – tested me even. But there has been so much more joy and growth when I’ve trusted in God. Challenging messages, like God’s message to Samuel, is the Spirit’s way of saying that God trusts us and believes in us. If God has faith in us, then how can we not be confident in our ability to do extraordinary things? Growing up forces us to discover and question our identity. We rediscover ourselves repeatedly in our pre-teens through our early twenties. Sometimes it’s hard to be confident in the person that we are when we don’t even know who that person is yet. However, God always believes in us in us and calls us to the best possible life. My prayer for the children and youth of St. Tim’s is that they know that God has faith in them, even when they don’t have faith in themselves. Even when they fail that test, don’t get the job they want, fight with their parents, or feel like they’re not worthwhile (all things I’ve done and felt), God always has bigger and better plans for us. I want youth group to be a place where kids can discover and accept who God, the Creator of the universe, made them to be. I want them to know that they are worthy in the eyes of Jesus, even when they can’t see it themselves. And through Christian community, I hope that we can learn to invite this faithful God into our lives. The life Jesus calls us to is the best possible life. May we always live into that life.
Youth and Children Minister