To "My Kids" with Love

My mom sent me an article today and it got me to reflecting on my time working with teens. Shortly after my brother passed away at age 14, my preacher asked me to start teaching a jr high girls Sunday school class. It was difficult at first to look in their faces and see them grow and know that my brother never would. But it also gave me the desire to show them the importance of living for Jesus while you are young as none of us are promised tomorrow - although we all have dreams and aspirations for the future. You may think - well that's not a very happy outlook! No it's not or well it could be, but it's the reality you're faced with when something like that happens. And it gave me the motivation and passion I needed to commit to the task. While I did have a void there without my brother I had some special kids to fill that space. Over the next 7 years I went on to teach jr. high and high school, both boys and girls.

After working with youth for almost 8 years I can say there were some great joys but also serious heartbreaks. One thing I hope they always knew is that I loved them and wanted to show them the love of Christ by investing in their lives through time and yes even money (20 piece nuggets weren't as cheap back then as they are now Bradley!). I look back and am thankful for the ones I was able to see come to a saving knowledge of the Lord and for all the things we had the opportunity to learn and do together. One of my favorite things is when you think they aren't listening and then you hear them in a conversation or response to something unexpected put to use the things you've been teaching. And you think wow - some of this really is getting in there!

Thinking back now, I have a lot of memories filled with a lot of different faces. Some of them from Christian homes and a lot from homes with no Christian influence at all.  There were times when I felt very alone as their "youth lady". But God would send reminders that He knew right where I was and what he had given me to work with. And all I could do was the best with what he had given me. I do miss "my kids" although we have all gone our own ways and it's hard to believe some of them are in college now and have families and children of their own!

Anytime you invest yourself in people there is the potential that you will be hurt, but it's the chance we take. And God helps us through the disappointments and sends people in and out of our lives at the right time to meet our needs.

I just wanted to say that I don't regret any of it even if saying no to that opportunity would have brought me less pain and grief in my life, it would have also robbed me of many joys and blessings. I hope where ever you all are in life, near to God or far away that you will always remember He loves you, has a plan for you and that as long as you have breath it's never to late to come back to Him and that you are never too old to learn more and grow spiritually. I hope you are making your lives count and showing the love of God to those around you wherever you may be.

Since I went to Kenya and God started moving me in the direction of missions 2 years ago, life in my 30's is proving to be quite different than life in my 20's!  I can say now it was worth every mile driving to pick them up for church, taking them to activities, camp in Colorado, the fall outing at Mom and Dad's, Sunday morning birthday breakfast, Sunday's nights at Braum's, McDonald's or Mazzio's (speaking of which can someone bring me some ranch and a quesa pizza?! That is something I SERIOUSLY miss here!) girls nights with movies, nail polish, games and junk food. Playing volleyball and basketball after church in the summer. Studying for lessons, listening to hours of preaching to glean things that might be able to help them.

In the end, maybe I learned more than all of them combined but God's word says it's doesn't return void and I trust in that. At the least, I hope they went away knowing they were loved, not just by me, but of God.

With Love Always from Your "Youth Lady",


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