In My Absence

This summer has felt more like a dream than reality.

It began with a notice on our apartment door one evening in the beginning of June, stating that my family had 60 days to vacate our apartment due to luxury renovations. Yikes!

First thought, "Bummer!" Our home since the beginning of our marriage... laughs, love, conflict, a little girl, so many memories over with a simple two sentence notification. Ten days later, we moved everything into storage and became a family without an address.

While Stacy, the little girl, and I visited my family in West Virginia a couple of weeks ago, we both arrived to a startling realization about this summer - I was traveling some place different every Wednesday of June through August:

Wednesday - June 11 - Move Out

Wednesday - June 18 - Oregon

Wednesday - June 25 - Pennsylvania

Wednesday - July 2 - West Virginia

Wednesday - July 9 - California

Wednesday - July 16 - Mexico

Wednesday - July 23 - Florida

Wednesday - July 30 - Bahamas

Wednesday - August 6 - Home to California

I looked over this schedule, and it looks more like a tour schedule than it does a typical summer calendar. Even I thought, "What?" And as much as I have enjoyed visiting friends and leading our students through what I hope and pray will become life transformational experiences, I have missed the people who give me life and fill my heart in the regular rhythms of life.  

In my absence from Marin County for most of the summer - and for the next few weeks - I have felt the void of the friendships who keep me grounded and make my life the richer, along with my worship community at Hillside Church

Moreover, in my absence, I have missed getting my thoughts from pen to paper (or from finger to key) since June 10, the day before my first travel day of the summer. 

And believe me, much has been happening...

Since that first day of travel 6 weeks ago, I have witnessed the spiritual transformation of our middle school students at camp, my mother meet my daughter for the first time, a lame man walk after being prayed over (yes, literally), and my own heart break for Jesus once again. 

Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing posts about our recent high school mission experience to Mexico. Like India 2013, God wrecked all of our hearts for the orphans and widows of La Mision, Mexico. We played with sweet orphaned kids at Door of Faith Orphanage, prayed for families who live inside of the slums of the Old Tijuana Dump, and visited the beautiful children at Open Arms Daycare. God revealed to all of us there - through the lives of the missionaries, as well as the kids who lived in the orphanage - what lives poured out for service to Jesus, as Paul writes in Philippians 2:17-18, means for the Christian.

I am a different man since that first day of travel 6 weeks ago. Even after 10 years of serving in student ministry, I still feel humbled, grateful, and amazed by the ways in which students still choose Jesus, choose the church, and choose to live their lives poured out for the Kingdom. These choices fly in the face of everything that an American teenager should choose. And quite honestly, it counters many of the decisions that I made as a teenager, and for that, I am always humbled by the witness of their lives. 

This summer still feels like a dream. I still have 2 more weeks of travel ahead of me. And I am still reeling from the wonders of God this summer. In its wake, I feel hopeful for what God wants to do in our home - both personally and communally. I can sense a restlessness amidst our county for something real and alive and profound. 

May our county and yours know the love of God for them. May our students rise to the challenge of living a life poured out for the sake of the Kingdom of God!

QUESTION: What does your summer look like? Where have you seen God move in the midst of this season of life?