Tidal Wave

They roll into my house like a tidal wave: This group of Tweens–no longer children, yet not quite teens. They are an awkward lot, but beautiful to me.
Candles lit, air perfumed with fresh-baked rolls; the feast is ready–prepared in their honor.
I am stirring the gravy when Pastor-friend pulls up, in bus full of arms and legs and squeaky voices.

The door is thrown open and this wave of life passes through. Voices lift with excitement, joy in being together in this place.

We are giving thanks.
Once a week I gather with this troop at church. We play games and learn the Word—learn how to be together and to love. Some nights, I leave in tears…asking God if it makes a difference. This rambunctious lot has not yet grown into their hearts and, sometimes, they can be trying.
 

But tonight, we break this bread together at this traditional Thanksgiving meal. And I feel how we belong.

And I am thankful.
I am thankful that He has called me to be this to these. Exhausting as they are, all struggle and joy rolled into one…I love these children.
These awkward, beautiful, infuriating, amazing kids have stolen my heart.
 So I feed them.

 I have never seen food disappear so fast. Shining faces warm my heart like a roaring fire.
As quickly as they came, they are gone. The wave rolls out. I see them to the van and am rewarded by hugs and thank yous.
Then, I am left alone. The kitchen still glows with love as I see beyond the stacks of dishes and leftover chocolate pie.
A prayer of thanks seems inadequate, so I just stand. Empty myself before Him.
As I sink my hands into soapy water, I see Him. Reaching into another bowl of water. Baptizing sandal shorn feet with precious hands.
This realization crashes over me: I was His hands tonight. And, perhaps for the first time, I realize the immense love that washed those dirty feet that night so long ago.
I wash these dishes tenderly. Caress each dirty place. And wonder at the holiness here.
And I am humbled by the privilege of it.

Comments

  1. says

    Well, if this post doesn’t inspire me to go and be His servant I don’t know what will. What a beautiful heart you have. I felt your love for these precious ones of God’s. You are making a difference. Your love shines.

    Thank you for the inspiration today!

    Have a wonderful weekend,
    Tiffany

  2. says

    That was beautiful, Laura. My husband and I have always said that it takes a special soul to work with tweens….My hat is off to you, sweet friend.;)

    You are a blessing to them, I am sure!

    Much love,
    Amy:)

  3. says

    On a practical spiritual truth note:

    We have decided our home was to be the home that the kids want to go to. We want to be the home that has the “cool stuff”….not because we want to spoil our children – but because we want our children to know, we trust them enough to bring their friends to our home…and this way – we are familiar with what they all do…no matter how inconvenient it may be to us at the time – if the kids want to come from the neighborhood and we don’t have plans – they are welcome always.

    A great post and reflection Laura. Thank you! 🙂

  4. says

    Laura, this is beautiful as you are. It is a gift to work with youth. It is a gift to open your home, especially to youth. I do not feel I have the gift of hospitality or working with youth. I know the Lord is looking down on you with a blessed heart and saying “well done”. You blessed those youth and they blessed you in return.
    Love you,
    Paula

  5. says

    Oh, what is the picture on the left. Not, the turkey…haha…I figured that one out. Are they orange peels stuff with mashed sweet potatoes? That would be my best guess due to the marshmallows. They look very interesting.

  6. says

    Oh, Laura it does make a difference. After working with the youth for six years, I’ve finally quit being so hard on myself and have come to realize God blesses…period… and it has nothing to do with my performance or abilities. He knows when we are there for the right reasons…to teach these precious little ones about Him…and give Him glory… and I know you are doing a great job. These kids will never forget this fun evening. They are blessed to have you in their life.

    I received a text a couple of days ago from a young girl who attended our youth group for several years and kinda “outgrew” it &/or had other things going on in her life, and graduated this past May. I hadn’t seen her since May, but her text said that her mom has breast cancer and would I please pray for her. I got chills all over just realizing this very thing you’re talking about here. That by her texting me with that request….I made a difference and she knew she could count on me to pray. That’s what it’s all about!

    Have a blessed weekend, my special friend.

    Love,
    Valerie

  7. says

    They will remember this night for a long time. How well I remember the nights I spent over at my youth director’s house. Your life, given to them, is a launch pad of sorts. You’re allowing them to find safe footing in a Godly environment. Never underestimate the power of such of a gift.

    peace~elaine

  8. says

    I know you must have wondered, prayed , and questioned God all through those shattered tween/teen years. The why? questions over and over. And now the answer is at hand………in his time, in his way. Luv ya babe!

  9. says

    Thank you, Laura for allowing me into your world during our Bible Study.

    Your life and your blog are a sweet fragrance to HIM.

    Keep on glorifying HIM through your beautiful life!

    Blessings,
    Teri

  10. says

    You are blessed with many gifts, and one of them is expressing yourself through writing. I was able to feel your feelings about those tweens through your words. Thanks!

    (Your labor in the Lord is not in vain. It’s late, so I’lm not looking it up, but I know you know that’s in the Bible.) :o)

    Sue

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