Sought Renewal This Summer And Found a Bit More

A few months ago the school and church ministry year were ending and summer was on the horizon. In my blog post about this I said that I wasn’t really looking for rest but renewal. I mean, I knew “rest” would be hard to find as we have 3 little kids, and so if I am too well-rested, it probably means my wife has taken an even more unfair share of the load. We also wanted to feel that “we did something” this summer.  Not sure what that meant exactly then, but looking back it feels we’ve had a worthy summer.

So in response to the looking forward to summer post, here’s my recap of looking back:

Susan and I got to enjoy a few date nights and took a few family day trips into Boston and one to NYC.  But we’ll always remember this summer as the first time we went to Disney World as a family. I’ll critique some of the Disney messages another time but it really is an amazing place and it’s overarching message of magic and pursuing your dreams is beautiful thing for kids (and even big kids).

I did enjoy the Willow Creek Leadership Summit. I’ll critique some of the Willow Creek stuff another time but … ;) I really liked specific presentations, felt encouraged on a number of levels, loved that so many from our church attended together and felt convicted on some of my weak spots.

This summer I began serving our youth ministries at Grace Chapel’s Lexington/Watertown campuses. The other aspects of my position are the same as its more of an overseer/support the directors type of thing.  And they’re pretty amazing and I’m grateful I get to work with them.  Got to tell you also – feels good to be talking to/about teenagers more regularly.

Honored to have officiated a few weddings this summer and attended my cousin’s. Would you believe me if I told you there was a time that I preferred to officiate a funeral than perform a wedding ceremony? Maybe it’s because I feel more confident in dealing with a corpse than a disappointed bride but I’m glad to say things have changed.

Enjoyed the amazing New England weather. June was a little rainy but it got nice. And aside from a heatwave, I would copy and paste the weather of this one into 2014 in a heartbeat.

Read stuff and wrote a bit. I didn’t read all the books I wanted to but enough to not feel like I wasted the opportunity. Mentioned I wrote a bit, not as much as I wanted – will need to remedy this. Good news is I wasn’t glued to a computer all summer.

Got to watch some Yankee baseball games, even caught one at Fenway (the one where ARod got beaned). I know, I know, they’re struggling this year but this made their victories even sweeter like when Mo came out and closed the game ARod got beaned.

As mentioned, I entered the summer truly praying that I would find renewal. My  fear was limping into the Fall tired and having to rev myself up so I could rev other people up. I find taking a break and detaching myself too much from ministry work doesn’t help me find clarity and creates more work later in August. But taking advantage of the slower ministry rhythm the summer allows me to spend more time with Susan and the kids – Fewer meetings, fewer Reply-Alls, fewer reasons to be late for dinner. On a personal level, the summer rhythm allowed for more time to converse, ideate, reminisce, imagine, edit, dream some more, plan, converse some more.

This isn’t to say we were without stress because that definitely wasn’t the case. This summer our central AC died, last week my alternator needed to be replaced, and I had already spent all our money at Disney World on ice cream and betting the boys I could beat their score on the Buzz Lightyear Ride. There was some frustration, some stress this summer, even a bit of heartbreak as well but fortunately the Lord has journeyed with us.

I found myself taking more walks, sitting outside on patios, sitting inside libraries, my prayers felt different, etc. So to avoid sounding overly-dramatic, I’m not suggesting my prayer-life was significantly better, but the break in the ministry pace allowed me to focus on different things.  – like about the why and the what more than the how and the immediate when.  

Of course, I thought about Egypt and now Syria.  And with that comes the whole working out of where you, your family and your tribe fit into the world God has placed you in.  In short, I wanted a sense of renewal this summer, I was grateful to have that and some beautiful moments of joy.  

I wouldn’t turn a few more weeks of summer but we’re feeling good about the fall, Nathan begins Kindergarten, Dylan is back in Pre-school, Janelle is discovering a little more of everything and Susan is having some fun again.

I hope you can felt something similar, if not better.  Grace and peace to you and wishing you a beautiful fall.

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