I was asked by my Pastor to share with the church this Sunday about my family’s life in 2010. It’s funny that he asked us this since my wife and I have been discussing it quite a bit lately. As I started to think about how I would recap my year, I remembered a tradition my wife and I have started every Christmas. We buy an ornament for our Christmas tree to represent that year in our life. This year we agreed that the most natural representation was some type of roller-coaster. We settled on a Phineas and Ferb roller-coaster ornament from the Disney store. It was perfect, we love that show and the two main characters are seated in a roller-coaster car seeming to be waiting for the next big drop. We took it home excited to hang it on our tree.
A roller-coaster fits our life this year for the exact reasons you would think. There have been many ups and many downs, especially at the church where I work. To sum it up we’ve gone from a lead pastor and five staff members to a different lead pastor and four staff members. It has been a crazy road and one we’ll never forget. Personally we have gone from being the assistant youth pastors at our church to communicating with another church about taking over their lead student pastor position to wanting to start our own evangelistic ministry to being the lead student pastors at the church we’ve been in all along. I know, it sounds like a ride to me too.
The story of the ornament doesn’t stop there though. We did buy the roller-coaster ornament and take it home but once we got it home it became evident that it wasn’t the right one. How did we know? We knew because the dang thing kept breaking. First Phineas’ head broke off, then Ferb came out of the car, leaving behind his hands. After the third time trying to super glue the poor fellows back into their seat we decided it was time to exchange it or get a different ornament all together.
I’m glad we didn’t stick with that ornament because though it does sum up our year very well, it didn’t represent the theme of our 2010. See, we have been on a roller coaster but it’s been one that in hind sight wasn’t random or out of control at all. We spent 2010 doing our best to hear from God and follow His plan for our lives. Every decision we made was based on prayer and some on fasting. We didn’t do anything without asking the question: “Is this what God wants for us?” It has been difficult at times and there have been some easier options presented to us but the choices we made were based on what we felt the Spirit of God was leading us to.
We did return the roller-coaster ornament and I didn’t really think about it again until Melinda came home with the replacement. She had returned a symbol of our constant ups and downs, a representation of the drama in our lives and replaced it with a simple yet powerful reminder of what 2010 was really all about for us. It was a simple red ornament hung on the tree with a green ribbon the ornament was a word. HOPE.
Our 2010 wasn’t about the difficult decisions we had to make or the heartbreak of friends leaving and other’s peoples decisions changing our lives. Not at all! It was about the fact that as long as our eyes were set on Jesus, as long as the one we celebrate at this time of year was our true focus and every decision was based on what we felt was His plan for us, we would be ok. We can have hope. I am happier in my role as lead youth pastor at Tri-Lakes Church than I’ve ever been in any job I’ve had. We’ve been blessed financially, we have had healthy children and peace in our home. My relationship with my wife has grown to a mature love and respect that I feel most married couples only dream of. This is all true because we set our eyes on the true Hope of our lives.
So, this holiday season, remember where your hope comes from. Your year may be a roller-coaster but keep your eyes on His plan and you’ll go through the whole thing amazed at the hope He gives.
Author: Michael Prince
Michael Prince co-authored “What’s in Your Pocket? A parent’s guide to protecting your children online.” with his wife Melinda. They have four kids and live in an RV anywhere in the USA they see the need for an internet safety expert. Michael is leading the conversation in the American Church about family online security. He and Melinda founded BecauseFamily, a ministry that exists to inspire and equip parents to be the first influence in the lives of their children, in 2013. Michael is also a geek and loves Star Wars, Doctor Who, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and strategy board games.