Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Things That Makes Us Cry

Last week I was asked about my ministry work with Northwest Bible Church, which led into a conversation about Vacation Bible School.  Within moments of I smiled from ear to ear...I could feel giant tears welling up in my eyes.   I couldn't help but feel just a little sorry for the people sitting across from me...most likely distracted by what appeared to be a potential meltdown unfolding right there in front of them.  Before long, I pointed to my eyes, and said, "Don't worry, these are just joyful tears.  It happens all the time."

As a kid, I knew there was a God, and I knew about Jesus, but my thoughts of God were usually centered around the fear I had of Him and not His love for me.  When I did something wrong, nearly my first thought every time was to wonder if I'd just ruined my chances of going to heaven.  It wasn't until I was a teenager that I learned that God's love was unconditional, and that His grace had saved me when Jesus died on the cross to take away my sins.  It was nothing I could undo.

When the statement GOD IS LOVE became bigger for me than the question DOES GOD STILL LOVE ME?, my life changed.  And although, as a younger person, I didn't feel the calling on my life to share that news with others, God had other things in mind as He led me to the unexpected position of being a kid min director and VBS director.  Now when I talk about VBS, the desire I have for every kid on earth to know about God's love for them always surfaces.  And along with that comes tears.  Tears for the children who've come to know that...tears for those who still will...tears for the privilege of getting to be part of it...and tears for so much more.

The whole "eyes filled with tears" bit runs in my family.  My grandpa, who just turned 82, will still tell you with passion about his career through watery eyes.  His story and mine are much the same in that neither of us anticipated the work path God had chosen for us.  My grandpa was a machinist for Boeing when my grandma, a stay at home mom of 3 young kids, became very sick.  After spending lots of time and money seeing traditional doctors, they were led to a chiropractor, whose treatment saved her life.  Within a short time, their family of grandparents, my dad, and his 2 younger sisters...packed up and drove from Washington state to Iowa, where my grandpa enrolled at Palmer Chiropractic College.  He graduated in 1966, when my dad was 11 years old, and began a career that would impact many lives.  

1966 - My proud dad, 11 years old, standing beside his dad at graduation

I still love to listen to my grandpa talk about being a chiropractor.  It feels like just a few days ago, I was a young girl riding along with him in his gigantic Buick Electra, unable to see above the dashboard, hearing him passionately tell about God's creation of the human it is designed to function well, and how he felt honored to be a part of keeping people healthy without the use of drugs or surgeries.  Sometimes, as I looked at his tear-filled eyes, I would smile inside and ask myself why grandpa was crying as he told me about it yet again. But one thing became certain for me: I knew I wanted to have the passion for whatever I was going to spend my life doing, just the same as he had passion for what he did.  

Over 30 years have passed since my first memories of listening to grandpa talk about his work and watching his eyes filled with tears... and here I am, a VBS director who can't talk about that program without looking the same.  I just found a picture of our group of 7 crew leaders from our first VBS in 2004.  They touched the lives of 35 kids that year.  It was amazing!  And then, I saw our volunteer picture from 2012...where 150 volunteers worked together during VBS season to help hundreds of kids and families learn of God's love.  Amazing once again!  

2004 VBS Crew Leaders

2012 VBS Volunteer Team

I'm glad that He gives us things to be a part of that are bigger than ourselves...things that we never expected to do in our lives...and most importantly, things that fill our hearts with so much joy that we just can't help but cry. :)

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