“I JUST CAN’T DO THIS! Have you ever felt this way? Has that sentence even come out of your mouth?

I’ll never forget my first Sunday as a kid’s pastor at my second pastorate.  As I walked down the hallway toward the kid’s church auditorium, a teacher came charging out the side door with a child wrapped around her left leg. The teacher glared at me and said, I’m so glad you are here so I can finally quit.  The child bit a hole in the teacher’s pant leg and howled, “I hate you!” I waddled by 9 month pregnant self into kid’s church. I had insisted that all leaders come for rehearsals and preservice prayer, and in response, 3 out of 4 had quit. So today it was just me, my husband, and two- no, now make that one, other teacher for the rest of this service. Sigh. I entered the room just as the head teacher finished the lesson (there were only 40 minutes of material for an hour and a half service).  The poor teacher looked at me with a helpless expression and shrugged.  She then asked, “And who likes candy!?” And dumped a bucket of candy on the floor.  Instantly the children were out of their seats rooting, screaming and shoving like animals diving for the candy. This lasted all of 90 seconds.  Then I heard the teacher say, “now what do we do for the NEXT 44 minutes?” I knew God had called us to this church, this ministry, but I’ll admit, at THAT moment, I had desperate thoughts like “Oh Lord, what have a done? I can’t do this!!”  My husband told me on the way home, “Trish, you know God has called us here.” And I cried all the way home.  What I didn’t know, was that day was the start of 7 AMAZING years- some of the best years of my LIFE! That kid’s church tripled in number, built on neat new areas and increased exponentially in volunteers. Most importantly, many of the kids in that kid’s church are still serving Jesus- some are married now, and are ministers themselves (yikes, I feel old).  The people I met there became family to us. And in a way, I was right- I COULDN’T do it.  It took God doing the miraculous to effect change.

But haven’t we ALL had those moments? As parents, as leaders, as friends? You know, those Sunday mornings when your THIRD teacher calls in sick or has car problems and on paper there is NO way to make this happen? When your two year old spills juice all over himself, his clothes and the floor while the baby fills her diaper, and before you can finish cleaning up the first mess the dog pukes on your shoes? When your car is in the shop for a new clutch and on the way over your van drops an alternator? It kinda sounds like an Alanis Morisette song……

I heard a story once that Bruce Lee, the famous martial artist, used to teach that it wasn’t one huge punch to knock someone out of a fight most of the time.  Usually someone gets knocked out of a fight by getting hit too many times in the SAME place. I believe that to be true- and actually relevant in many areas of our lives. It’s not usually ONE tough Sunday morning that brings us to our breaking point; but several “hits” all in the same “area” that take us down.

Complete these sentences for me: If ____________ happens one more time, I’m done.  I can’t handle _____________ anymore.  My limit is ________________.  You may not be able to answer these questions right now.  But…it is my experience that these times WILL come- not if but when, and over and over again.  If it hasn’t happened yet, you will have that moment that you break and say “I can’t do this!” And if you’ve lived through a few of those BREAKS, there will be more to come.  And what happens when you hit your “breaking point” ? Welcome to the land of breaking. Don’t stop or stay here. Here is what you will find in the land of breaking:

1. You find out you can survive.  There is life beyond your “limit’. You find out you’re stronger than you thought you were, because of God’s grace working in you- His gifting this has been working there all along.

2. You find that where your talent, strength and ingenuity “end” -that is where God’s Spirit and Grace really shine. Your pride turns to smoke on the altar and you and others realize God is working and doing great things.

3.  You learn more than ever before. You learn and grow the most- BEYOND your breaking point, not when things are going well.  When you are working out, you have to work out PAST your comfort zone until your muscles break down.  Then those muscles “recover” and come back even stronger.

4. You see you’re in good company.  Feel like you “just can’t do this!”?? – welcome to the club that includes Gideon, Moses, Jeremiah, Peter and many more.  Ask someone that has been in ministry awhile and the honest ones will tell you they have been past that breaking point and back over and over again. And the majority of ministry leaders have not had any prior experience or training before taking on an area of ministry- you are not alone. You don’t have to be perfect- just willing. His Grace is made perfect in our weakness. There are no super people or super ministers, just people…… greatly used of God.

“Jesus said ‘in this world you WILL have trouble, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.'”  Please do not quit- the land of breaking does not last forever, though you’ll make a few visits. And the God Who calls you to this work in your life WILL get you through it.  Love and prayers Trisha

PS- New to kid’s ministry? The kid’s and family ministry community are some of the sharpest and most helpful people I know!!! Get connected today at cmconnect.org, or one of the Facebook connection pages such as “children’s pastors and children’s ministry leaders”.  Get some supplies at http://www.kidologist.org and many many more. I personally love Brian Dollar’s “I Blew It” also. There is so much help and training out there! And of course…..be sure to check out my book now out on Amazon- http://amzn.com/1499273193  and I’d love to “meet” you on FB, Twitter and linkedin!