The Better Ground

Hey, dear friends! Last night was another Wednesday, another gathering with our youth.

We managed a little pizza making, a bit of fun, a precious piece of worship, and a life-giving morsel of challenge to persevere in walking upright and in gratitude with the Lord.

And, for myself, I even experienced a slight expansion of tolerance for some of the situations weighing so heavily on me.

It’s not major shifts in my world or circumstances, but, rather, a step by step sort of journey, as I highly suspected it would be. In other words, God is beginning to move as I begin to allow His hand on me in this season of rebirth. A few words of pondering on the process…

The Better Ground

It’s a tough and a tender surrender,

A slow ache in the soul

Of the careful pretender.

Yet, there is a deeper goodness to be

Found

As I learn my Keeper always guides to

The better ground.

Not to say there is a sudden absence

Of pain in the climb

Nor that I don’t weary of

Drumming rain and the dull drag of

Time.

But, as He ministers lifebread along

The way,

Calling out both rest’s sweet

Deliverance

And the urge to seek the crest

With feet of forebearance,

I am gratefully discovering

I am sustained yet another day….

May we each allow the Lord to keep us and guide us in the climb. And may we seek both the perseverance and the gratitude needed. Blessings and prayers, dear friends! Thanks for reading! ❀

Newsboys – Joy

Hi, friends! I have been sitting here waiting on deeper inspiration again.

So…in the meantime, an update, a song, and perhaps a bit of a ramble. πŸ™‚

Things are progressing pretty nicely on most all fronts in our world.

School has thus far remained a safe and happy go-to for my younger ones as the pursuit of music, performance, and friends tops their list. And for one, a big shocker is added-cross country! (Seriously, folks…athleticism is not in the genes. At all. So, the fact my 16 year old boy has determination to push through majorly sore ankles to try this is awesome.😊 )

And my college boy? Well, he is stepping forward in self-management and relationships, each step precious proof autism has become his fuel (As well as increasing evidence I’m getting older! Acck! πŸ˜³πŸ™‚).

Let’s see…what else?

Business is busy. Right now, my husband is on the remodel that never ends, but hey, that is job security right there! 😏

Oh, and Community Youth Group has begun again as of last Wednesday! I was thrilled to make cookies and spend some time in worship and study with our dear kiddos! ❀😊

And, beyond the usual allergy invasion and the nose-blowing fest that naturally follows, I am actually finding some fairly decent days physically speaking- between the creaky joints, of course. πŸ™‚

Life is still with its various shades of differences and challenges, no doubt, but there is a joy that rises…and not just because things are well at present.

Don’t get me wrong-it’s great things are well at present!

I’m so grateful.

But, joy is not found in whether all’s well or not-so-well.

No…rather, it is found in waking up and abiding with Jesus.

Every day I get to roll out of bed and know my sweet Lord is right beside me, ready to help me face whatever comes.

And that bubbles up in me a song that has been one of my go-to’s-from another band that has long been a go-to in of themselves…

Newsboys-in particular, their earlier years.

Hmmm…maybe it’s the 90’s-early 2000’s kid in me. πŸ˜‰

Don’t get me wrong. I still love what the newer incarnation of the group does now, but, oh, my…the exultant bounce to this one!

The effervescent, intricate lyrics!

It really takes me back.

I can’t help but rejoice with this one….

Have a listen and see if you don’t rejoice with me. Blessings and prayers, dear friends! ❀

Joyful Noises Among the Generations

We’ve had an especially wonderful couple of weeks of youth group.

Typically, we are all about food, music, Bible study, discussion, game.

And that is nearly always the order.

Oh, occasionally, it’s been game first, then Bible study- particularly when the game happens to be a good object lesson to lead in to the scriptures we’re focusing on.

But, these past couple of weeks were somewhat a needed shake-up of all that.

Not that there’s anything necessarily wrong with a routine.

Kids, even when they reach the teen years, truly appreciate the familiarity of knowing what to expect when ( Particularly the food. That’s a big chunk of my department. πŸ˜‰).

And we do normally have great discussions, awesome worship, some fairly major feasting, and a whole lot of fun.

But, this year we have a different group. A significantly smaller group as others have graduated and/or moved on.

But, really, it’s not a bad thing!

Because, it’s a core group. A group hungry for the Lord.

And a group hungry to serve!

It’s a lovely thing to behold.

That last is what lead us beyond the usual order of business these past two Wednesdays.

Instead, we chose to seek a way to minister to our community.

Now, we’re an incredibly small town, as I believe I have mentioned in previous posts, so it takes a bit of creativity to find places to plug in at times.

But, creativity is one trait these kids have in spades.

So, what did we do?

Well, it may not seem exactly earthshattering, but I truly believe we filled a need.

Taking up our guitars, our drums, and our sheet music, we trooped over to the nursing home across the street for a bit of a jam session.

There was a lively mix of old hymns and newer worship songs sung with the residents there.

There were chalk drawings done depicting a lighthouse and an eagle to remind us all how the Lord is our guide and our uplifter.

There were encouraging verses spoken in the normally rather quiet living room area of the assisted living facility.

Best of all, there were stories swapped of God’s goodness and the richness of a life lived for Him.

Frail hands squeezed ours with surprising strength and hugs were generously given. Brightened eyes smiled into ours with amazing alertness.

Ah, the beautiful bridges that were built between the generations-ones I know we will return to again and again as the Lord leads.

There’s something to be said for not neglecting the wisdom of our elders or dismissing their earnest desire for a listening ear.

There’s also something to be said for recognizing that, for all the decrying of the current state of our youth, the young still have much more to offer this world than we often give them credit for.

Sometimes, it’s all just a matter of bending the routine a bit and bringing the joyful noises of the generations together. ☺

In this, we find countless simple yet profound ways to serve one another.

Prayers and blessings to you, friends! May we each realize all we can learn from one another and look to the generations both younger and older to serve and to be served by.

When Need Comes Knocking on Your Door

Visions of youth ministry have always played large parts in my adult life.

I think it comes of the fact that, despite my introverted ways, I longed to reach out to help those who’d hurt like me.

Now, there were several opportunities in the “traditional” molds over the years. For a while there, it seemed it would be THE mission.

Most chances were dashed to bits, however. Often the catalyst was immaturity– my marriage’s, my first husband’s, and, yes, much to my chagrin, my own. πŸ™„

Following our separation and eventual divorce, I drew big red lines through such dreams like mistaken passages in a manuscript.

Obviously, I was wrong about the call on my life. Apparently, I didn’t do anybody any good, least of all myself.

I adapted my hopes to teaching toddlers, but that was more or less so my children and I could continue to have a roof over our heads.

Ministry was no longer really on my mind then.

Though, looking back seven years after my retirement from the classroom, I see that the way God allowed me to love on those kids was, in fact, ministry…

And that brings me to the point I wish to make now. But, first, a little further background. Bear with me, folks πŸ˜‰:

Nearly eight years ago, I found myself sinking in the mire of online dating and a gripping depression I’d not experienced since the earliest days of single motherhood.

I was near to throwing out my profile and, honestly, my computer altogether when God allowed me to see one more profile-the unique and Godly man who eventually said “I do” to me and the hectic world a single mom of special needs kids naturally inhabits. Not just “I do”, really, but an “I do” replete with generosity and good humor. 😊

He, too, had seen much pain, some of it in ways similar to my own, some in ways I can never fully imagine despite the years of knowing his story ( Would love to tell it here at some point with his permission. πŸ™‚).

Anyway…safe to say the Lord came through as only He can, offering us a second chance at love!

Ah, but not just in marriage. But, also, as it turns out, in co-laborers who have a yearning to minister, especially to the young.

So… suddenly, there was a rebirth of old dreams, a uniting of one another’s.

Oh, it wasn’t necessarily a let’s-drop-everything-and-go-to-seminary stirring.

He was a truck driver in those days; I found myself rather quickly a stay-at-home mom out of necessity.

But, there was that knowing there was something He had for us to do together.

We didn’t know exactly how or when, but we felt sure of a call.

Many events tumbled out over the years. A blending of families, a dilapidated country home, job loss, a business begun, a lot of writing…

And yet, no definitive answer to the question of ministering seemed to show itself.

We had hopes of a property behind us being transformed into a big youth center, but lack of money and an abundance of windstorms begged to differ. πŸ™‚

Oh, we’d volunteer at children’s church, sometimes VBS.

In the last two years, we have even begun pitching in with our small community youth group.

Mostly doing the meals and clean up after, occasionally taking the opportunity to share some testimony, as well as lending our middle son to percussion for our rather modest worship time.

Doesn’t necessarily sound like everything we dreamt of.

And, yet…

What constitutes a ministry, anyway?

Is it a state-of-the-art building?

A worship band complete with strobe lights and smoke machines?

Is it crowds of teens enthralled by your words?

An activity-filled roster or a fancy camp to take them to?

Or…. is it simply meeting the ones He brings to you where they are?

Feeding the bodies of busy latch- key kiddos and listening to the anxieties of the day?

Giving them an encouragement from scripture for the week?

Supplying them a new song to sing to the Lord?

A phone number to call or an open door to knock on when those anxieties crop up beyond their capabilities to deal?

Ah. The seemingly small acts of life. πŸ™‚ But, all necessary components in His kingdom, I am learning.

For, you see, beyond the Wednesday to Wednesday, this dilapidated house of ours has become a lot less than the Green Acres it was ( literally, thanks to my handy husband ☺️) and more the place for drop-ins.

A safe space to have a cookie.

A conversation.

A cry.

Not to mention jam sessions, acting lessons, building projects, and, best of all, deep Biblical discussions. ☺️

Many things I love to be sure, but things that don’t really look like the norm of ministry or what I expected His call on us might mean.

Even a few things, despite the love I just professed, that the introverted me has had to make room for at times, to be honest!

But, suffice to say, I am finding He will direct us to the places He can use us most and equip us for the call, whatever it looks like.

When we are obedient to answer the need knocking on our door, that is. πŸ˜‰

What needs are knocking at your door, friends? I pray we can all discover what they are and seek His strength to answer. God bless!