Monday, October 29, 2007

Another Great Weekend

This was another great weekend. I went to the Red River Gorge with the youth group from La Roca. It was an amazing trip, for so many reasons. I almost didn't go, and i can't articulate how glad i am that i went. hiking, talking, silence, praying, worshiping, game-playing, lots of silliness and laughter and most of all-being together. It was a great reminder that I really, really love these kids. Some days i'm drained and wonder what it is i have to offer them... but I'm so grateful for each and every one of them.

and what's important to remember is that La Roca is far from your typical youth group. Some of our kids have been kicked out of their schools. Most of them rarely hear affirmation at home. What most people probably see in these kids is the rough edges (and trust me, those rough edges are there)... but this is a group of kids that is chock full of quirkiness, love, opinions and leadership. it's our job to steer them. i love getting to have a small part in this journey.

we had this time of affirmation for all of us on saturday night, and it was incredible thing. and i can remember thinking, "ALL of these kids have so much to offer." and then sunday morning, we all sat crowded together in one row... and i loved it. i loved not having enough space, with my arm around michelle... nudging her to wake up every few minutes. I loved how proud I was of Chance and Michelle for sharing with the church about the retreat. I loved feeling like my heart would burst for this crazy group of middle school and high school students.

And i love that this is not typical youth ministry. I love that it's not a group of suburban kids who have grown up in church. I love the realness and rawness... because that makes seeing the good in these kids that much sweeter. Even though they've got so many battles to fight, they are slowly learning that they have a church family who loves them, and a God who fights for them.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Change is a-comin'

I am driving south on Interstate 75... getting away for the weekend to see a dear friend... one who has been with me through a lot. It feels good to get away for a few days, not because I don't like my life, but because we all need little breaks once in a while. And i am feeling good about seeing someone who knows me well. I'm driving through the mountains and multiple radio stations turn to just one country station to no radio station at all. Then I remember that I have a used portable CD player in the trunk... i manage to get it out and find whatever CD's are floating around in the back of my car. I pop in some Josh Bales, who I love, but who I have not listened to in a long time. At about this time I'm driving into Chattanooga, and a tidal wave of emotions hit me. I'm reminded of the summer I worked in Chattanooga at Widow's Harvest, when I would listen to this very CD almost every day. And i'm suddenly reminded of the loneliness of those three months, and of the sadness I felt, and of how helpless I felt in dealing with everything. I'm reminded of how I just can't figure out how to articulate what I feel... and that no one seems to get it. At the same time, I'm thankful. So thankful. Because i know that this is not who I am anymore. I know that I have people who love me, and I'm learning to not blame others for my junk. I'm learning not let loneliness and sadness swallow me up anymore. I'm learning to let hope break into my heart.

I'm still driving down I-75, into Atlanta. I spend time with Erin.... one who has seen both deep pain and deep joy in my life. But even as I'm in Atlanta, I'm reminded of this painful season of my life. And again, I'm reminded of how God has changed and transformed me. and i'm thankful.

And i'm reminded that God is continuously changing me, transforming me, loving me, trading the bad for the good. It's so refreshing to be able to concretely see how God is making me confident in who He has created me to be.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Little Things

exciting things this week:

  • the addition of an original nintendo game system to our house (thanks chelsea!)
  • knowing that i get to go on a road trip this weekend to see a good friend
  • the convenience of having a washer and dryer in my own house
  • good conversations with friends i love while drinking yumminess!
  • getting to pray with others
  • getting to go on walks around my neighborhood, and having extra time this week to do that
  • the joy of no longer having to read a book by Bill Hybels
  • being able to finally wear long-sleeved t-shirts and hoodies

Friday, October 12, 2007

First Dinner

Last night was our first neighborhood dinner, and i think it went well! We had a good crowd of folks there, and I managed to talk my new neighbor, Ann, and her granddaughter into joining us. I was really glad they came, and I'm looking forward to getting to know them. Samantha and her brothers joined us, along with Chance, so we had a full house. It was a cool thing to look around Aaron's house and see people i knew and didn't know, and have the chance to eat, laugh and talk together. jordan playing with the kids in the living room....talking about the neighborhood and the church....getting to share our stories together......i'm really glad that this is how i get to spend my time.

and then, this morning, Ann's granddaughter knocks on our door at 7. she missed her bus and wanted to know if i could take her to school. that was a cool moment, for so many together... it's a cool deal.

in other happenings, i am not really looking forward to this week.... only because of lots of schoolwork! a big midterm due on wednesday, but i'm plugging through because at the end of the week i'm headed to atlanta to see one of my favorite people in the world-my old roommate erin. so i'm pretty pumped about that. i'm really excited about a weekend away with a good friend. it's been an up and down week, but one filled with so many examples of God's faithfulness... encouragement just when i've needed it most.... reminders of how God has created me and called me.