Thursday, December 10, 2009

For the Sake of My Sisters

(another picture from my mother, taken on the snow day last week) 

I don't have anything monumental to share.  Plenty of little things have kept me busy... 

On second thought, I suppose one of those little things is big enough to post about; I've started hanging it with our youth group at church.

Depending on my reader, the topic of youth group might be controversial.  I might be making everyone shake their head in wonder at my confused and unwise little head, either regarding my past ideas or my current stance (again, depending on my reader).  So if you're getting ready to throw snowballs of disagreement, please throw gently, and don't put rocks in them! ;-)  This is my journey.  Yours may be different.  Let's love each other anyways, shall we?    

Funny, I never thought I'd be helping with a youth group.  Even a year ago I would have protested loudly.  Anything but that!  Some of this had to do with my own feelings of uncoolness (at 25 I can still feel, and unfortunately look, like an awkward 18-year-old).  But that was actually insecurity and pride in disguise.  Also, I thought youth groups were usually more damaging than helpful, since they have potential to splinter family time and lump a buch of immaturity together where it can be even more immature.

Some dear friends (on both sides!) may gasp in shock to hear me say all this, but I think I'm changing my mind: not all youth groups are fundamentally wrong. *gasp! shudder! stagger in shock!* 

Of course I still wish all familes would do everything together.  But until I have a husband to follow who decides how we will do things, and since neither of my parents object, I'm throwing my lot in with my curent church family, full of wise and godly folks.  I was asked to be an adult female presence at youth events, to engage in conversation with girls, to provide that five or ten minutes of attention that let them know they're loved and cared for.

To my own surprise, I was compelled and eager to say yes.  It's already exciting!

I still have my reservations.  (Hope those are allowed!) I still believe youth group can be damaging if it's only a way the younger set isolates itself from the rest of the church family.  And I still believe even the best youth group in the world cannot compare with parents discipling their own kids well.

But I also see a church in which those two concerns are largely answered by parents who really are discipling their kids and showing by example what godly adulthood is.  I see young people who serve each other, who serve the younger kids in nursury and AWANA, who serve their families and the community.  And I see little girls growing in young women, girls I know "of" but want to actually know, who I now have the opportunity to hang out with regularly in the midst of their busy schedule.  

Finally, I remember my short time in a different youth group about 8 years ago, when my world was falling apart, and how a dear youth leader's wife showed me love and attention and got me started journaling my thoughts to the Lord.  I've never been the same since.  If I can encourage even one young lady as much as I was encouraged, I would count my time worthwhile.    

That's not an arguement per se, just some of my rambling thoughts on how God is changing me, teaching me to walk with people in real life (Ephesians 4:1-3).  Sometimes my paradigms shift so wildly, it's embarrassing to tell anyone about the shift - ether they can't believe what I think now, or they can't believe I ever thought what I did.  But I want to record these for my own benefit, and perhaps they will encourage someone else, too.

And MBC youth, you're stuck with me and my funny hats, silly accents, and uncoolness for a while! ;-)

~ ~ ~

Now, on a very different note, here are a few thoughtful posts on Christmas I can across lately.  They were so lovely, from two beauty-loving Christian ladies, that I wanted to share them:

The first is from farmer's wife, homeschooling mom, and poetess, Ann Voskamp:

4 Ways to Celebrate Christ in Christmas

And the second is from a sweet southern lady, Lanier Ivester, a homemaker, literary artist, and shepherdess:

Glad and Golden Hours

A fine weekend to you all! 


  1. Very nice post!
    You absolutely cannot judge a book by its cover (or a youth group by its stereotypical perceptions!). I'm glad you've been having such a great time with it! I've had some great youth group experiences and it encourages me that you're willing to create sweet memories with God's Children!

  2. Hope you have a blessed Lord's day! :)

    Love~ Miss Jen

  3. What's wrong with youth group? Or, what did you *think* was wrong with it?


  4. Casey, glad you liked the post! :-)

    Kendra, I still think youth groups are not always healthy or the best investment of our time. When they're not well-led, they can be just another hang-out place that takes students away from spending time with their own families.

    There's nothing wrong with spending time with friends your age. By all means do so, and build deep friendships now with brothers and sisters in the Lord!

    But we can also learn so much from all ages of people, from gray-headed grandmas and grandpas to silly little kids. Our life in the church family can be so rich and varied! Don't limit yourself to close friendships only with people your own age.

    If you do go to a good youth group, with solid Bible teaching and service opportunities and adult role models who are following Jesus, fabulous! Just don't forget your own family in the bustle of youth group activities. They might not seem as cool. But spend time with them and get to know them anyway! They can help you grow, perhaps more than anyone you will ever meet. If you can be patient with and love those you find most annoying and see the worst sides of, and serve at home where service will often go unnoticed and unthanked, you will be more prepared to be kind and loving with difficult people in the future.

    One more thing. I know not everyone has a family to spend time with. Moms and dads are often absent from kid's lives. Especially in such cases as divorce or the death of a parent, I do believe it is immensely important for the church family (old and young) to step in and help and walk with those who need encouragement.

    Does any of that make sense? Let me know. I do ramble!