There is a side to giving that is not experienced until one has given all. It’s that moment, late at night, when you go over the giving with the Lord, that you feel His pleasure.
Maybe the sacrifice did not go well. Maybe you’re tired and worn. Maybe you wish you could do it over again…better. Maybe you wish you never had to do it again. But somewhere, in the middle of the mess of it all, somehow you made a connection. You touched a life. And in that moment you were the hands of Jesus.
Working with kids is so tough. They are loud and obnoxious, unruly and unheeding. They make you earn their trust. They say the opposite of what they mean. And they hold the adults in their life accountable.
Wednesday night I took my tweens on an outing in the church van. (It was the first time I had ever driven the Boat, and I didn’t do a very good park job. People were staring at us for more reasons than the loud, obnoxious cargo that I was carrying.) The 17 year old sales clerk at Kroger told me he felt sorry for me. I had to threaten them before we left. I had to chastise them in the middle of the whole thing, and I had to threaten them on the way back to the church. Kids get excited when you change the routine on them.
Despite myself, I got a little caught up in their excitement. My copilot kept blasting rap music and rolling down the windows. I had to keep reminding the kids that the name of our church was printed on the side of the van. “Please remember your representing our church…and God,” I pleaded to deaf ears. I listened intently to the lyrics of the rap music, determined to cut it off promptly, if necessary. But (even though they would deny it), they were having so much fun.
If the only thing that happens from that outing is that my little tweens grow to love each other and enjoy having Godly friends, then I will rejoice! What’s a little loud music (okay, a lot) in light of deepening our relationships?
I am so blessed to have these children in my life. They are on the brink of becoming a teen. They are no longer a child, but haven’t quite figured out what they are. They’re still figuring it out, and boy, do they need help! They touch me in so many ways; with their childish vulnerability, their self-conscious acting out, their need to be heard and understood…
I remember that time in my life very well, and I was alone through a lot of it. Dear Ones, we need to be present for our youth! With the divorce rate so high, and the incidence of child victimization, substance abuse, and just the sheer amount of busyness in our society; it takes more than parents to make Jesus real to these kids. We must support one another in the upbringing of today’s kids. We must love…we must…sacrifice.
It is a sacrifice for me to give the best of myself to a vanload of kids who do not possess my DNA. But you know what, Dear One? They are MY kids. God has given them to me, if only for a couple hours, if only for a day. I have to make an impact in what little time I have. My offspring see what it takes from me to give of myself in this manner. And they too learn a valuable lesson.
Pray for me to be strong and wise when working with these children. Pray for me to not give up on them, even on the bad days. Thank you, Beloved. I’ll do the same for you.