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Two-year-old Esther with bare feet, pigtails, a floral onesie, and a huge grin stretched across her face came thundering around a church corner, her mom scurrying to keep up. Both mom and daughter were weary yet enjoying the pros of the conference life of an XA family.
A dad and preschool son, bachelors for the week while mom is marching to her marketplace call, stand a few inches apart in a perfect unison stance with smiles and sleepy eyes after a long day of a Network conference program.
A 22-year-old young man shakes my hand with the same strong grip of his 10-year-old self, this time with a deeper wisdom in his eyes and a spiritual depth an old man might envy. His mother dares to glance from a distance with a tear forming in the corner of her eye, knowing tomorrow will be a different goodbye. She is about to send her son to the adulthood of a Chi Alpha internship—a life she had modeled but never dreamed her son would follow.
Each of these scenes I’ve witnessed over the past few days have invited me into the lives of our Chi Alpha families. We often talk about work-home balance, but in many of our homes, it may be more appropriately stated as work-home integration. Often, you cannot tell when work is ending and family is beginning—we are on mission together. Parenting is often in the context of ministry and looks a lot like Jesus and his disciples.
In fact, I bet Jesus found himself two steps behind exuberant Peter, who, like Esther, knew her mom would follow her around any corner. Jesus is known for going hard after his sheep who might be lost or simply moving too fast. I wonder if John started standing like Jesus or if Jesus gave his disciples a firm handshake before he ascended—one that, without words, said the relationship would be different, but that they were ready for this next season and that he would never leave nor forsake them.
I love our Chi Alpha families deeply. We are raising generations of XAMKs who are born into this wonderful land of college ministry. We fight for our prodigals and grieve for our hurting together. My message is simple—good job, parents. The anointing on your life to raise both spiritual and physical children and to send them out into the harvest as disciple-makers is the most beautiful piece of art my eyes have witnessed.