As our students finish their final week of classes for the semester, I have been thinking over our last year together. This was our fifth year in ministry at the University of Texas, but our first year as parents. Having a little munchkin around changes a lot about the way we do ministry – sometimes we can’t go to all the events, sometimes we have to leave early, but every time, we have to sit in the back.
To be really honest, sometimes I resent the back. I don’t always want to be back there. I want to be in it – smack dab in the middle of things. I want to have the chance to talk to everyone, catch up on all the latest happenings, worship with everyone, and pray with everyone. But more than that, I want to do what is right for our family, and right now, that means being in the back. The back lets me find a good balance. It’s important that Madeline sees us loving God and loving others. It’s also important that our students see how we parent Maddie – how we are a team in all things. Plus, she really, really loves all the LFC hugs, and I would hate to deprive her of them. The verse that I have been meditating on all year as our family has transitioned into a family of three is 1 Thessalonians 2:8 “Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our lives as well.” It’s important that Maddie is around Longhorns for Christ, because we are not only sharing the gospel of God, but our lives as well.
And while the back can be hard sometimes, I have also learned to LOVE it. See, ’m a people-watcher by nature. When Cary and I go on a date, I try and take the chair where I see the least amount of people, because otherwise, I can’t pay attention to him. And in the back, I get to see a lot! In the back, my heart swells with pride. It’s a beautiful picture of the Kingdom of God. I wish everyone could see what I see from back there.
Let me tell you what I see….
In the back, I see people seriously living out the command to love God and love others.
In the back, I see an introvert singing without hesitation.
In the back, I see an engaged couple holding hands in prayer.
In the back, I see a senior wrapping her arms around a freshman.
In the back, I see new friends sharing an inside joke.
In the back, I see the seasoned leader handing over the microphone to the one she has pulled alongside her.
In the back, I see a doubter diving in to deep discussions, despite the questions.
In the back, I see courageous students sharing their unique gifts and talents.
In the back, I see church leaders “crossing the lot” in order to engage and invest in our students and our mission.
In the back, I see lonely souls bravely walk in the door for the first time.
In the back, I see old friends helping each other prepare their hearts and minds for the next phase of their journeys.
In the back, I see “The Noticers” – those who see a need and quietly fill it.
In the back, I see “The Includers” – those who always pull up an empty chair for the new faces.
In the back, I see my husband living out his passion and purpose.
In the back, I see love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
It’s beautiful in the back.
Fall semester starts August 30, 2017. Won’t you join us? I’ll even save you a seat in the back.