As I sit in this house, a house that has become so familiar over the years, knowing time here is coming to an end makes everything look new. I used to despise the way a few doors refuse to close, but now I find it endearing. When the pantry door declines to stay open I no longer wish it to be ripped from its hinges (unless it is in the pre-dawn stages of the morning). This house not only has characters but it is full of them, too.
I am a youth intern for the summer. This is my third summer, but it has been my first to live with the youth minister and his wife, fondly known as Taco and Julie. They have not only taken me in but my friend Eric (a fellow intern) as well. A combination of our last names has produced the title to which I will call our eclectic group: The Rostiren’s.
This is the youth ministry I have invested in since I was in seventh grade. This is the youth ministry that was my refuge during my parent’s divorce, my emotional breakdown when my family fell apart at every seam. These are the people I’ve always known as my true family. Taco and Julie taught me what ministry is supposed to look like: relational to the core. Spending time with students, teaching them what God has taught you, taking them where you’ve been spiritually. This is what I have done for three summers. I end up spending the entire fall semester swimming in my summer memories, while in the spring I wait impatiently to come back and do it again.
So imagine my surprise and my hurt when God tells me that my time with this ministry is done.
John 10:10 says that there is an evil side of life that just wants to rob you of anything that will bring you joy but that Jesus existed and died so that we could experience a life of abundance. You might have always heard that this includes the good times, yes, but we cannot forget the bad ones, too. What about the healing and the joy that comes after all of that? Why do we never hear of that? It is not as if our lives go from happy to sad to joy to tragedy. There is the ending step that we tend to forget and that is the joy that Jesus brings when He heals us.
In this house I have experienced the joy that comes with God using you to share your story with Jesus to a sophomore girl on the bathroom floor. I have felt the pain and despair of the absences of my father. I have a first-hand knowledge of what is it like to be humbled and have someone call you out on your wrongdoing.
In this house I have seen God move in lives and change hearts. This is where I thought I would always return, to a place where I have experienced that God is moving and changing lives.
So tonight I’m hurting because what else can you do when everything you thought your life was headed for has suddenly fizzled out in front of your own eyes? You lament and you cry.
I lament, crying out to God in confusion and despair for a future that will no longer happen, for the time that I feel was wasted but I know was not. I mourn because an era in my life is coming to an end—not a chapter, but an era. I mourn for the goodbyes that will have to be said to these students who have become a part of my story: my freshman girls who are no longer freshman girls but will always have that title and place in my life; my small groups that I shared my heart and laughter with on every possible occasion. I cry because it hurts; deep down to the core of my being this is painful. I cry because that is the rawest way I know of to express the grief I feel because God has once again shown me that I am not Him, and I cannot control my life. I can only wait and follow where He takes me.
Now I wait for the season of healing to begin because after the healing comes the joy of new beginnings and that’s the only promise I can cling to right now.