It has been eight years. I have always known that this was home and where God was calling me to be. My husband and I talked and prayed about it for years. When we moved it just seemed like the right thing and the right time. But since then…if I were to share with you all the obstacles that have presented themselves to make us feel like we made the biggest mistake of our lives and had ruined pretty much everything, this would become a book and I would lose everybody expecting to read a quick blog, so I will refrain. But I could write a book-I could definitely write a book!
We left a mid-size church in Indiana with a vibrant youth group and a youth leader who was committed not only to his group, but to serving God with all his heart, soul, and mind. Doug and I were privileged to be sponsors, and the time we served with him and his wife was invaluable.
We came to a small church where my kids ARE the youth group most Sundays. We have tried through the years to grow the group and we may have a few kids for a few weeks, then everyone gets busy and my boys are on their own again.
I have often felt like we are selling our kids short. How are they going to love church if they only ever see a handful of older people and hardly ever have any peers sitting beside them? I have often and seriously prayed about how we can be involved in the work somehow here, but still, take our kids to another church where they can experience youth group and get to know other believers their age.
My heart was burdened recently as I literally cried out to God. I wanted to do whatever it was He wanted me to do, but I wanted my children to know that God sees them, and that church is a beautiful thing.
It is hard to explain, but a feeling of peace wrapped its way around my heart in the middle of my uplifted cries as God whispered in His still, small voice He so often speaks to me with. “I have a plan to take care of your boys.”
My previous blog, Thy Kingdom Come is about the journey God then took me on by accepting what He is doing and not setting expectations of what He should do. What He did next was like a beautiful hug from the Holy Spirit, Himself.
God had already reminded me of how amazingly and completely He was taking care of one of my sons as He was giving him a future He would not have otherwise had if it were not for the trial to begin with. Now He was about to rock my world once again.
A youth group from Illinois was scheduled to visit the mission over our spring break (we have had several groups out before on mission trips and I have enjoyed every one of them). My youngest is a pistol and always very excited to mingle with the teens, but quickly exhausts them and is tolerated, but somewhat pushed aside. Gideon responded to this group like any other group and looked for an opening and pushed his way in. What happened next overwhelmed me.
They loved him. They brought him into their group and just loved him and accepted him as he was. I kept waiting and watching for the signs that they had enough and I needed to rescue them, but they just kept right on loving him.
I heard them give their testimonies on how God worked and moved to get them all on this trip and I watched the love and unity that could only be experienced because of Christ. How marvelous it is that God would bring these kids to Arizona on a work trip, and anoint each of them with His presence to show an insignificant woman that He not only sees her, but He sees her son. He is not only taking care of her, but He is taking care of her son.
This was not an ordinary group, and when I say the Spirit of the Lord was present-I mean, He was visible. He was not hiding, but showed Himself in His beautiful glory through their lives, on their faces, in their smiles, and through the tears that flowed down these young men and women’s cheeks as they worshiped God in their testimonies and their songs.
I was experiencing a revival in my little church in the middle of the desert and my youngest son was right there in the middle of it.
On their last night together, they stayed around the piano after the service, singing, and worshiping. I witnessed a beautiful moment between one of the men and my son as he pulled Gideon in for a hug and just held
him. God said, “Look what I am doing, I am taking care of your son. I see you and you can trust me.”
Later on that night, they gathered around Gideon and prayed over him. If that is the only thing they did that entire trip, it would have been worth it to me. (That is not all they did-they worked hard painting and cleaning also!) The best way to show a momma love is to show her child love.
This group has no idea how big this moment was-but God does. They are home now. The trip is over. My boy is going through all the emotions of missing them and wishing they were still here. But they have left him with an invaluable gift and that is the love of Jesus. Those moments are moments he will remember for the rest of his life. He will always remember the young men and women who loved him because Jesus loves us, and they love Jesus.