Andrea and I are going to Kentucky. I signed up to attend the Together for the Gospel Conference a while ago, which runs Tuesday through Thursday in Louisville. From there, we are heading to southeastern Kentucky to visit some state parks (Kingdom Come and Cumberland Falls) we were unable to make it to during our four years living in Kentucky. We will be there and in Louisville through Monday while Elaine is in Galesburg with her grandparents.

I’m excited to go, and I know God is going to use the trip, but I’m also apprehensive to leave. There is so much happening at the church, especially with our youth group. We recently attended a Dare 2 Share youth conference, and we are planning an outreach series to start April 27th. The students are excited, and I want to do everything I can to stoke those fires. Yet not being here and being on vacation means a week of absence from this and other ministries. I’m also apprehensive to leave Elaine, not because she is with her grandparents, of course. It’s also not because I don’t want to spend some alone time with Andrea – it’s going to be great for us, especially with baby #2 coming in September. I just know we will miss her, and I feel bad about leaving her for so long.

I think the root of my apprehension is my failure to acknowledge God’s complete sovereignty in both situations. “Believe it or not, Andy, the work of the ministry can go on without you.” Sure, I know this; but leaving puts feet to my knowledge. I am given the privilege of trusting the students of our youth group to promote our outreach event, and to allow others to minister in my place. And regarding Elaine, I am reminded that she really isn’t “my child” in the first place, but a gift from God “on loan.” My absence does nothing to negate the protecting hand of God over her. Lord willing, one day she will not be living at home, nor will Andrea and I be responsible for her care. So I guess it’s good to practice letting go early.

Life and ministry will continue in my absence because God is in complete control. I am praying that my mind leaves Illinois when my car does.