I couldn't wait to get the kiddos settled in, Big Brother watched (ha! Hey....no judgment. It's our thing!) and settle in to blog tonight. So many thoughts that I'm terrified I'm going to forget to write them!
Since I'm feeling better, I've been trying to plug myself in to the church as much as I can. Tonight, I joined my kids in the Upper Room. I grew up in a small church in a small town. Our youth group met in the fellowship hall of the church. So you can imagine this former youth minister's dream when I walked myself into their "space." Adequately called the Upper Room.....these kids have basically the whole 3rd floor of the church designated as their space. Complete with a worship area with seating, a stage for the praise team, flat screens and a projector screen for use in worship, pool tables, foosball tables, a café with tables, booths, and chairs. Comfy couches and lounge areas along the brightly colored walls and black and white checked floor.
This place is cool, y'all. When I walked in, there were kiddos everywhere. Students were hanging out, laughing, joking, visiting. Music piped throughout. Complete fellowship. Laughter. Smiles. Once I hit the door....I lots my kids. They immediately found buddies. I made my way to the café area to visit with the other moms. I'm embarrassed to say, that my kids have been coming to this place for 5 years....and this is my first visit to the Upper Room. I have plenty of reasons....but mostly....I didn't know parents were necessarily "welcome." And I didn't want to impose on their "growth."
My friend, Leigh, began bringing Sam to church on Wednesday nights long before we joined FBC. She may not remember this, but she approached me years ago....at the Future Panther football field....and invited Sam to "Common Ground" (what the middle school ministry was called at that time.) Her oldest is Sam's age. Sydney followed suit shortly after. She is the same age as Leigh's middle daughter. Leigh will never know the importance of the door she opened for my family. We all have a "person" that continually leads us and points us toward God in our faith journey. We may not talk to them everyday. Your busy lives may prevent the nurture of your friendship like you would like to on a consistent basis. But you know, in your heart, that friend loves you, prays for you, and is concerned for you and your family, knowing that you really have nothing much to offer them. That is Leigh. She is my "person." She is the friend that...out of the complete blue....will send a text for no other reason than to give me value as a person, a friend, or just a fellow mom.
Leigh literally took my children under her wing. Made sure that I knew all the "goings on" with the youth events and such, before we began attending FBC. She has and continues to play a big part in the nurturing of the friendships of our kids. Not only my kids, she nudged me as well. She was a large reason I was a part of both Sunday School classes I have attended. She gives of herself to our family often without expecting anything. She is the epitome of grace. That friend that totally has a heart for the underdog. Everything about my friendship with her honors God. She is such a blessing.
Leigh and another sweet friend, Melissa, have been encouraging me to come to the Upper Room and join in their worship. So tonight, I did. For all the "nay-sayers" who think this generation of kids doesn't know God.....I invite them to come sit by me. To watch these kids....in praise and worship. So consumed by the glory of Jesus. I was touched in a way that I haven't been in a very long time.
Clay's message....so powerful. I honestly, couldn't wait to write about it! That was my intent with this posting. But I think I will outline his message in a separate post. His message took a place in my heart and in that of my kids. I know that God had a hand in my first trip to the UR that I would hear this message. Good stuff. So stay tuned.....:)
I gained so much just by sharing the space with these students and their leadership. I can't tell you numbers....but the room was full. And I heard a mom say..."Looks like they brought in more chairs this week." How awesome is that?
What a ministry that creates a place for students. To be kids. To be loud. To be silly. To laugh. To be in fellowship. To be safe. To worship. To love. And most importantly.....to know God. I saw students from all walks of life. All colors. With different interests. From different schools. Different walks of life. For one hour.....they were simply just children of God. Brothers and Sisters in Christ. And those that lead them? Gracious examples of loving Christians who are dedicated to lead them to God.
My calendar will now be booked each Wednesday. You will know where to find me. From a parent of two precious teens....I thank you, FBC. My heart is simply full.