Josh and I started in ministry young, probably too young, and we had kids young, definitely too young. I look back at those years now and looking at my own children I wonder why anybody let us lead youth meetings or let us leave the hospital with the baby. I mean we were babies. We made a lot of mistakes and our leaders had a lot of grace.
One thing I know that we did right was include our kids in the ministry from the very beginning. We went to church any time the doors were open and brought our kids with us every time. As youth leaders, we held lock ins and went to conferences and Tony and Becca were right there with us. They were part of the group, baby carriers, diaper bags and all. I still remember the boys being nice enough to give a four year old Tony turns on the Nintendo right there with the big boys. Tony started on the 12 years and older youth group as a band member when he was only 11 because he could already play guitar. Snowblasts in Gatlinburg, 220 conferences in Baton Rouge, we were there together. Serena went to the mission field with us when she was only six months old and learned to walk on our tile floors in Kenscoff, Haiti. Taylor was the sweet baby all the youth girls wanted to hold and Emari and Zion were our prayer house babies, logging hours in the prayer room when they were tinies. The cool thing is they don't know any other life. This is it. We go to church, that's what we do.
Last night, we had a prayer burn at church and as I drove up two families were taking their littles in to the sanctuary. They had all the church kid gear: snacks, crayons, coloring books. My heart overflowed because just like Josh and I so many years ago, here were young parents taking time on a Friday night, when they could have been out watching a movie for date night or snuggling on the couch after a long week. Instead, they were packing up their little guys and taking them to the Lord's house. These babies will grow up hearing the music drift up to heaven while they are running around, their parents praying at the altar laying it all down while they are coloring Spider Man in the back row. They won't know any other life than that and that's one awesome beginning.