Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Part of the Youth Group No More

I've been going back and forth about whether or not I want to or should write about this, but I think I've finally come to the conclusion that I just want to get it off my chest. So even though I'm still a little hesitant and reluctant to do so, I'm going for it anyways, and hopefully I feel OK about it in the end...

Most of you probably don't know, because I haven't talked about it in over six months now, but had two jobs for a very long time. One was with the State of Florida, and one was with my church. Here's the super vague, 'Reader's Digest' version of the story...

I had been working with the youth group since I graduated high school in 2006 whenever I could during college. Then when I graduated and moved back in 2010, I worked with them as much as possible, and was even brought on as a paid staff member. Then the youth pastor resigned and I ended up doing it all by myself for about a year and a half. (And now here's where we get even more vague...) Then in December 2012, I found out that as of January, I would no longer be on staff, and instead they were hiring someone else to be the full-time youth pastor.

I was heart-broken. I literally cried about this for weeks, probably a full month, because I was so sad about it. I had wanted to be the full-time youth pastor, but I was told we didn't have the money. And now they were kicking me out to bring someone else in. I had been working with our youth group for seven years, and now this happened. It was devastating. The group of kids that were seniors, were the same group that were just in 6th grade my very first year of volunteering. I had been with them all through middle and high school, and now I wouldn't be a part of it for their final semester. Yes, I could still be a part of their lives, but I wouldn't be a part of their youth group.

So now the reason I'm finally talking about what happened this week, is because my youth group is on our annual mission trip to Miami to work with the kids at Touching Miami with Love, and I'm struggling so much with not being there. This is the first year since 2006 that I haven't gone, and I hardly know what to do with myself. I log onto Facebook, and see pictures posted of them with the kids down there, and I miss them all so much. I miss my youth, and I miss the kids from Miami. And I miss just being a part of the youth group as a whole.

All pictures from last year's TML trip, in June 2012.
Yesterday I was in a funk all day, and I didn't realize why at first. But I eventually figured out it's because I was missing TML so much. One of the first things I saw yesterday morning was a picture of my kids down there, and I think it just made me miss it all so much, and then made me kinda sad the rest of the day. And then when I saw another one last night around 10 pm (after a long, rough day and a headache), I just kinda lost it. I curled up with my head on Jeff's chest and just cried about it for a while. And writing this this morning, I'm getting a little teary-eyed still.

There's really no moral to this post or lesson I've learned or anything like that, I just needed to write down how I'm feeling, and get it off my chest a little bit. I think this whole week will be rough still since I can't be down there and be a part of it. I'll see more pictures, and read status updates, and continue to miss everyone and everything so much. I know I'll be OK, I know that. But it still just sucks so bad sometimes, ya know?

Last year's TML group, on field trip day.

I know God has a reason for everything He does, so I know there's a reason I wasn't mean to be there this week, or even meant to still be on staff on church. I get that. But that doesn't mean it's easy to deal with all the time. I know this is God's plan, but it still makes me sad. I still wish I was down there with them. I wish I was singing those silly songs over and over again, and constantly having to tell kids and youth alike to stop acting like crazy people. I still wish that I was playing Ultimate Frisbee with them before dinner, and then card games and 4-men-on-a-couch for hours on end before bed time. Those times from the past meant a lot to me, and it's when I formed some great relationships with some of these youth. I know they're all having a blast and loving their week so far, but I sure do wish I was there with them.

14 comments:

Kristin J said...

I am so sorry. I know all too well about having to wait to understand why things happen the way they do. Just hold on to your good memories and the relationships with those kids you have built over the years! Praying you find peace.

Erin LFF said...

Def hard to see why things work out the way they do at times... I totally feel your pain girl. Just keep doing what you're doing and maintain those relationships like Kristin said- you'll see the reason behind it all one day! :)

Natalie Hinkley said...

How sad that they just cut you out like that. Hopefully something good will come your way soon to help ease the pain.

RitaMarie said...

I completely understand your feelings. Everything does happen for a reason, but it sure is hard to see that through the rain sometimes.

Sometimes, I just write things out like you did here and in writing, or re-reading, I see the lesson. At the very least, it is therapeutic.

Miranda said...

So sorry to hear about how that turned out Halie. These types of situations are very upsetting. I hope you continue to find peace with the situation, and I know you will be blessed in some other way when you least expect it. :)

The Me & Mine Book said...

Just found your blog through My Moms a Whack Job.
Sorry to hear about all this.
Sometimes it is difficult to see God's hand when you're in the middle of the situation.
My prayer is that He will lift you up and show you what good things He has for you and those He is calling you to in this season.
((HUGS))

Anonymous said...

Church ministry is one of the hardest jobs known to man. (in my opinion) My husband and I have dealt with our share of disappointments. I was 34 weeks pregnant and my husband was asked to resign his position as full time youth pastor, oh and by the way you have 30 days to get out of the house we have been providing for you.- yeah it was heartbreaking. Trust me when I say there was nothing we could have done differently to keep that job. We were devistated. We loved those kids too. We honestly didn't feel like our time was up with those kids. My only advice is to keep pushing forward. Trust that God has bigger plans even when it feels like chaos. Something a dear sweet lady told me when we were going through this difficult time was "Always stay sweet" She explained that difficult circumstances have a tendency to produce bitterness in our hearts. We may not even recognize it at first, but it can creep in if we are not careful. She said it was important to keep a sweet, gentle, prayerful, and forgiving spirit about ourselves when life seems hard.... Keep your head up.

Caravan Sonnet said...

I teared up when I read this post as I experienced a similar thing with a church youth group position a nunber of years ago. And this past year due to my health not being able to teach and seeing and hearing what was going on (like the retreat and senior trip) were very painful moments. I am praying for you and that in the midst of your pain you would be comforted and have peace!
:)Rebecca

Megan said...

I'm sorry this happened to you. Similarly, my husband has been working as a part time youth minister for almost 3 years while going to seminary. He's had ongoing health problems for about 2 years now. After his last episode they asked to meet with him and basically asked him to resign. Personally, I'm okay with it for many reasons, but it's hit him really hard. Plus, he needs a job for us to meet our budget each month, so now he's stressed trying to find something else. Churches are a tough place to work!

Bekah @ re·solve said...

Change is tough, especially when you've invested in these young people for so long. I'm so sorry you're hurting, but glad you're getting it out now.

Frances Kendrick said...

Change is so hard! But I firmly believe that God will have something bigger and better in the future! Big Hugs!!

Lauren Thomas said...

Oh girl I so understand this! Especially the vague descriptions! My hubby and I have been working in ministry for the last 10 years and the sad truth is that church is just as complicated to work for as a corporate office. I think we take it so much more personally though, because in our minds, church shouldn't be that way. Every time we have a "situation" I just have to remind myself that God knows the work we've done and He knows the plan He has. Sending hugs your way!

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry to hear this. I know after working a number a years in youth ministry it is one of the hardest things. Missing those teenagers would be hard. Keep on trusting and leaning on God as He will see you through this. I know that sometimes I have to repeat Bible verses over and over to help me. Jer 29:11 is one of my favorites.
Hugs,
Ronda

Dara said...

that sounds so hard. and I feel for you. I'm so sorry you are going through this!