Yesterday morning I sat with my arm around one of my “babies.” Okay, Erin is sixteen now, and much older than that in her mind and actions but when Daddy is around, well, she is still one of my babies. Besides, when I am giving her driving lessons, I can’t sit that close and can only barely remember the days that she used to fidget on my lap when we went to special worship services.
We participated in worship as three new bishops were consecrated into service in The United Methodist Church. She had been with the NEJ all week and got to see the whole process unfold in their selection and was just bursting to tell me so many things. However, we were in worship and she decided it would be best to contain herself. (I gotta say, the drive home was information overload for any Dad!)
Even though she participated and was quiet through most of the service there were four times she couldn’t help but speak to me.
When we began singing a song written by Bishop Grove, she pointed to his name and then said, “He was so very encouraging to me this week AGAIN. I just love the way he treats me.” I smiled and went back to being the good, quiet worshiper a Dad is supposed to be.
When Bishop Steiner Ball – our soon to be new Resident Bishop in the WVAC – was being prayed over by the College of Bishops, Erin said, “I did get to meet her as well and she was also very encouraging to me.” I noticed the tearing up in her eyes and did my best to keep my eyes dry as well.
When Bishop Bickerton joined those who were praying for the new Bishops, Erin leaned over and said, “I didn’t realize till this week that he used to be your mentor! He is such a kind man!” This time I fidgeted a little, and told her that yes, he was my mentor and he is a very kind man.
And finally, she just couldn’t stop talking about Bishop Webb, another one of our new Bishops. She told me how he was so excited about a few little words of encouragement she offered to him that he brought his whole family over to meet her and really made her feel accepted and loved. By this point, I know I had quit worshiping on “my own” and had somehow got caught up in the Spirit moving in this sixteen year old and I saw everything around me differently.
Four bishops and MY baby.
I am glad we have women and men like these in leadership in our church. Leaders who do not overlook the youth that are around them and who I trust will be praying and working with these youth to bring the Kingdom news to their friends.