#1,774 Surprise.

This morning in the worship service after Ben’s very last time to lead Sunday school as a youth minister:

We were surprised when Bro. Mark invited one of our sweet youth mamas to the front and she had all of the youth in tow with her. They wanted to recognize Ben on his last Sunday in ministry, and give him a gift to let them know he was loved and appreciated. And y’all.

I just sat there in my seat and cried like a baby while Mal offered me a baby wet wipe for a Kleenex. I don’t know why I struggle with change so much, but I do. Change is scary, no matter how wonderful the next thing is. I can’t believe how tender I felt toward “our kids,” seeing them standing up front—remembering pancake breakfasts on youth trips and ping pong battles in the rec room. Our life is changing, but I’m realizing how I’ll miss having those intimate moments of faith sharing with them that I’ve taken for granted until now.

He got back to his seat and we quietly opened the gift to find a beautiful print of the place that meant the most to them and their time with Ben, summer after summer—the cross at Lake Junaluska:

And tonight I’m so very thankful that we got to be part of their growing up journey, and I just hope they’ll always carry something good from it with them the rest of their days. I know I sure will.