The summer can be a time of relaxation: kid’s are out of school, days are longer, the weather is nicer. On the Sundays my husband and I have been able to go to our home church, the pews have been mostly empty (which I attribute to summer camps and vacation, not a general godlessness with the warm weather). I was watching a Jim Gaffigan comedy special and he summed it up perfectly: we spend all fall, winter, and spring in our hometowns, only to leave them and travel elsewhere when we finally have weather at home to enjoy.
Well, for my husband and I, this summer has been anything but relaxing. We’ve had a constant stream of what are we preparing for next? First, it was our jobs, and the large event that is commissioning in The Salvation Army. Once that weekend was over, it was getting ready to be guests at a music camp in New Jersey. We’ve now been back from that for a little over a week, and next Thursday we leave for Camp Meetings in Old Orchard Beach, ME. As soon as we return, we go our separate ways, with my husband working and teaching at another music camp and myself going to visit my parents and then going to a prayer ministry training in PA.
Busy has not been the word that the Lord has given me to describe this season in my life. In fact, we’ve been taking conscious efforts to make sure that we don’t get caught up in the busy of this time. My husband and I have taken the time to block out moments for one another: to go to the park, to attend a Mets game and spend a day in the city, to go to the gym, and to relax at home decompressing together.
The Lord has given me a word a better word for this summer and fall: preparation.
Preparation: the action or process of making ready or being made ready for use or consideration.
I am not the most natural fit to accompany my husband to music camps. I am not musical in the least. I don’t play piano (despite a few attempts to learn), I can’t read music very well, and I for sure can’t play a brass instrument (which my husband would love if I learned). Instead, when I was invited to be a special guest with him, I was asked to do the morning devotions.
Now, this is not something that is totally foreign to me. From the time I was a teenager, I usually taught some sort of kids program at church. Those groups consisted of anything between 2-25 kids and could include regular church-attenders or after-school program kids. Still, when I was asked to lead a group of anywhere from 150-200 7-13 year olds, I was intimidated. It would mean speaking to a large group, preparing opening and closing games and activities with that in mind, and worst of all, doing it in front of a lot of peers within my church that I respect and look up to.
It was when I first got the invitation that the Lord gave me my word: preparation. This can of course have multiple meanings. At first, I thought it meant to be as prepared as possible for music camp, so I did just that. I wrote out the lessons for each day, I scoured the internet for fun animated videos and scripts, and I went down to my job’s storage area to look for supplies that I would need for the devotional times. I was incredibly prepared going into the week, which gave me a sense of calm despite my nerves.
Preparation means more than that. I’ve felt for a while that the Lord wants to prepare me for the future. For some reason, that means becoming a more natural public speaker and taking advantage of every opportunity given to me to grow and improve. It also means taking advantage of unexpected opportunities, such as the training next month (which is nerve-wracking and incredibly exciting all at once!).
Not just focusing on me, but focusing on our family, the Lord has shown this to be a time of preparation for “what’s next” in life. The Lord has answered prayer and sparked desires and questions that are currently unmet and unresolved. Who know? The future might bring a change in scenery, or it might bring a change in attitude. But the Lord has been guiding us down a road where I don’t know what lies ahead, and all I can do is take it one day at a time, one step at a time, and continue to prepare/let myself be prepared.
Do you have a word or phrase for this time of your life? If you don’t, I’d bet that if you asked God, he would readily provide one for you. Healing, discovery, preparation, peace, generosity–I pray that you would know and seek the meaning of this moment.