Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fleeting moments

Do you ever feel completely overwhelmed by God's goodness? I mean like "fall on your face" overwhelmed. To be honest, while it happens for me fairly often, it probably doesn't happen nearly often enough. Not because His goodness isn't always overwhelming, but because I don't seem to notice as often as I should. Anybody else get that?

Let's take today for example. I was sitting at dinner with my family and observing the interaction of my two sweet daughters. And then BAMMMMM!!! - I suddenly was so overwhelmed by the fact that they have been entrusted to me or more specifically to each other. That God would somehow deem me worthy of this kind of joy. Sweet moments of joy that are fleeting at best because they are so tied to that precise moment.

You know the kind. That momentary rush of color at sunset that seems to vanish with the ray of sunlight that it rode into your vision on. That momentary "warm all over" feeling when you watch your man across the room as he laughs his unmistakable laugh and you realize God meant him for you - and he is. That momentary silence before dawn when the nestling under the covers brings a comfort of sleep unmatched by the other five hours you've had.

Sweet joy. One nineteen, finding her wings, but still needing her mom. The other eleven, innocence embodied, also still needing her mom. But the bond between them is not me. No, it is a soul connection designed by God for His glory. I'm just so humbled that He has allowed me to be the witness to it. The observer and the nuturer of it. But the relationship they have will carry them far beyond my watch; prayerfully far beyond my life.

But for that fleeting moment, I glimpsed a bit of heaven. Two smiles in a restaurant full of people that spoke volumes and was meant only for the other. Sweet relationship that will sustain, support, and even remind or reprimand at times. But oh, for the privilege of watching it bloom and blossom. And then the moment was gone. The conversation moved on. Others, me included, entered the moment and moved it past their concentration on each other.

But that moment, that fleeting moment I was overwhelmed by His goodness. Isn't He good?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Awed by His Presence

As the wife of a youth minister, you pray for young people to really "get it." Well, it's happening! Praise God!

I can't even seem to express what is happening. We don't have a huge church so the numbers might seem almost laughable to those in larger cities. We live in a very small town, but serve one of the larger churches. By larger, we are talking real excitement to see 300 in worship on a Sunday!
As for our kids, to say we have been in a drought would be an understatement. We have been starving for some youth to step up and take some leadership, and we have been praying for our young men in particular. Two years ago, we graduated a large group but the strength of the group was primarily (not completely) with the girls. All of last year, we kept waiting for something and feeling at times like maybe it was time for us to move on...maybe He is finished using us here.

Last spring, we battled Satan like never before over our Disciple Now the point I was saying we need to just cancel the whole thing. Kids were so busy with other things, I just didn't seeing the time having much impact. I'm so glad He hasn't put me in charge. He so knows I can be an idiot!

It was incredibly attended and God began to really stir the waters. As a result of that weekend a group of high school boys began an accountability group - the Skyhawks. Their first meeting was in my teeny living room (my whole house is about 1200 sq ft!!). There were 17 of them. I think they were stacked 2 high! I stood in my kitchen listening to these guys not just read scripture but really DISCUSS it. What it meant. Why He used those particular words. What does it mean in practical terms? I was so stunned and blown away. I cried and praised Him for the work He was doing.

Then we attended a Student Life Camp and God continued to teach, stretch, and grow our kids. Worship began to take on a new feel even in the summer.

So tonight was the first "back in the groove" Wednesday after the hectic summer. We always sing a few songs and then Jimmy brings the message, but tonight some of the Skyhawks wanted to share. We literally were packed from wall to wall. I saw kids worhsip in Spirit and in Truth - which meant different things for different ones - Yep, even in a Baptist church! ;) Two young men shared their favorite verses and their applications. Two other young men talked about worship and why we worship...He is sooooo worthy! and finally, one young man actually brought a message from Joshua 1:1-9 (some of my favorite scriptures!) and helped the kids see how to appy those to their mission field - their school.

I was completely blown away. Whoever reads this...Be encouraged!!! God is moving among the young!! The next generation will do incredible things in the name of Jesus! We had 6th -12th graders tonight who are being used by our Mighty God! I sat at the back of the room and couldn't stop crying.

One of those young men who shared, we have had in our group since he was 11 years old in the 6th grade...kept to himself, never said anything, actually came because his parents made him, I think. I couldn't have been more proud ( in a Godly sense!) of him. He spoke confidently and passionately about why Jesus is worth our worship and praise and that praising openly and honestly is okay. Whoa. That is an incredible turn-around. Who is THAT kid? Then it hit me.

I sat and pondered what I was seeing and thought, "God, you didn't just do this in the past 6 months." And I thought of the conversation I had with my own daughter to encourage and support her through a class with a particularly aggressive evolution-supporting professor. We truly are wonderfully and fearfully made. Each of those young men who shared and each young person that was there had an appointment on their divine calendar with their God on this night and in this way. And that appointment was set before they ever drew a breath. So was mine. He has spent their whole life preparing them, and me, for that moment. Common truth, I know, but I love it when "old" truths keep being delivered with such power and with new applications! I'm always stunned by it.

Hallelujah!!! He knew this was coming and in our times of discouragement, how often have I held onto the words God spoke to Joshua? (see previous post...David and I both think Joshua was pretty awesome!) I almost let Satan have back some ground that we had gained. But not only am I kicking him off my property, but I'm not giving him an inch back of the ground we have claimed and conquered!

I'm not sure where He will have us head next, but I can't wait for the ride! Please, Father, show us YOUR glory!!! Be praised and be glorified! Amen.