March 23, 2015

When a Youth Group Lesson Hits Home


Sunday mornings I help out in my church's "junior high" ministry that consists of sixty-plus middle schoolers playing fooseball, talking a mile a minute before cramming around tables with their friends for the lesson put on by our awesome junior high youth pastor. 
Yesterday's lesson's focal point was how God never wastes our time. Using the Biblical example of Joseph, we read a part of his story from Genesis and the kids dove into dissecting how Joseph must have felt when he was betrayed by his brothers, and they then related stories as to whenever they felt like they were betrayed by friends...all after the hilarious ice-breaker of sharing about how they feel their time is wasted as middle schoolers. School was the top answer for that question.
As the youth pastor drove the point home of God being ever-near and never letting us down or wasting our time, I sat back and prayed for the precious hearts in the room to be good soil, but little did I know that later on I'd get a small bit of news that drove the lesson home in my own heart.
After church we traveled out to spend the day at my grandparents in celebration of my grandfather's recent seventy-ninth birthday. If you've read my book God's Will, there are two characters named Ted and Judy who have a huge impact on young Kathy and Elliott alike. The characters were named and modeled after my grandparents who I love dearly.
Grammy's smack in the middle. Surrounded by all her daughters and all her granddaughters.
Three generations...and Grammy's puppy, Lucky.

It was a low-key, nice time with everyone. Two cousins have significant others now, the majority of my friends are in some way or another which I am so genuinely happy for, getting to watch God unfold their love stories.
When I try to tell well-meaning family members this, they cut me off with, "You gotta get out there and meet people, Meghan Mary." 
Me, inwardly: Yes I do, because I live under a rock and only leave the house for work.
Not the point, however.
Whilst there, I was texting with a close friend and I get a, So there's this guy...
My heart dropped to my stomach and I was glad she couldn't see my face or hear my voice. Between the family members' well-meaning comments I thought I had let roll off my back, this text kind of hit me in a place I thought I was okay with for a good long while, actually. Meaning it had been weeks since I last wrestled with it. 
Some deep breathing calmed my heart and I focused on this friend and the details of, not training wheels but the ride of her life that may very well be unfolding. Her analogy made me smile, and I pray the Lord let it be so.
On the hour-long ride home from my grandparents, I plugged my earbuds in and listened to my worship playlist on Spotify, squeezing my eyes shut against the tears. I could've had a lot to say; I could've been bitter and angry and asked God "Why? When?" a million times...but I didn't. To be frank I was too tired and heart-sore to go down that road. God's doing, right there. I subconsciously realized I didn't have to put up a front of being angry or resentful because, just maybe, I've let go and let God more than ever.
The first song that came on was Hide Your Love Away by Anthem Lights. A coincidence? Yes. A heavenly one.
I just poured my heart out to God in half nonsensical sentences that ride home. Intermittently lifting my dear friend up in prayer and thanking God for His faithfulness and holding me up through everything...even if this single season be quite a while longer.
Listening to Holy Spirit by Kari Jobe, the lyric, I have tasted and seen of the sweetest of loves. Where my heart becomes free... the youth group lesson from the morning came to mind and I almost completely lost it.
God does not waste our time.
There is a purpose for the pain of smiling thru tears when you're so happy and rejoicing for friends, all the while the spot in your heart for one special guy remains empty. I've had friends
Even though I don't know a blessed thing about how my love story God's going to play out, I know He's holding it and working behind the scenes. And with such stark clarity more than ever, I realize and embrace that thank you Lord, that's not all there is to life. A guy and a book contract are two huge desires of my heart, but in the waiting, God does not waste my time here. The weekend came full circle for me in the backseat of our family car, in a way...
I went to a memorial service for a coworker's father on Friday. The man was a believer, and his memorial was the most hope-filled one I have ever gone to. Also the only non-Catholic funeral I've been to, so there's that. But as we sang Amazing Grace and listened to the pastor tell of the man's legacy he left thru his marriage of 65 years and three children, my heart ached for heaven.
I embraced my coworker afterwards and told her, "Your dad's legacy is an amazing one." Her eyes welled and she hugged me back and told me how she just wanted to talk to her dad and ask him how heaven was. How perfect eternity with Jesus was. 
It's a lifelong fight to not get swept up in the temporary trials and worries and hardships of life. It's a mind over circumstance battle to keep our hearts eyes focused on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, and on the surety of eternity spent with Him.
My Lord and lover of my work in progress soul is changing my perspective slow but sure...loving me where I am, but loving me so much to not leave me here.