And how am I gonna make my mark in history?
What are they gonna write about me when I'm gone?
These are the questions that shape the way I think about what matters..."
Yesterday at church I saw some people who mean a lot to me. Josh is getting ready to graduate and is praying about which college to attend in the fall. Neha is also heading off to college and I reminded her of the value of daily prayer and Bible study with her roommate. Darius graduated last year and is hoping to get a job soon, but I want him to come do ministry in Indiana this summer. Willy is working and still smiling like he always has, and I pray for his heart to stay focused on the Lord. There are others from my old youth group who weren't there... some of them are following the Lord, and others are wandering now. My heart breaks when I think of them, and I spend so many of my prayers on them, and I wish I could still be in their lives like I used to. No matter how old they get, I'll still think of that group as the 13-15 year-old hodgepodge fireball of energy that could light up Winston-Salem once upon a time. Some of them are still shining, and I still believe the others have the potential to shine if they let Christ carry on the work that he started.
My youth ministry days were unplanned. I graduated college and intended to move away that fall, so what could it hurt to hang out with some teenagers for two summer months? And I got hooked. I realized I got energy from being with them, my brain started buzzing a mile a minute with ideas and dreams and prayers. They weren't just some kids I knew anymore... they were my kids, and I would fight for them in every way I could. I'm so thankful for the moments I had with them as kids. I am pretty sure I made some mistakes and failed them at times, but I loved them more than I could ever imagine loving people, and yesterday I realized I still do. I swell with pride when I hear how they are honoring God with their lives, I break down and cry when I hear about bad choices. I wonder sometimes if it was right for me to move on when I did, but then I remember that it isn't about me... they don't need me, they need Jesus. And he promised never to leave them or let them go, so I am trusting him to keep his word, as he always does.
I am so thankful I get to continue to spend my time loving teenagers. In Fort Wayne, the kids continue to make my head buzz with ideas and prayers to the point of not being able to sleep some nights. I wonder if I will make a difference in their lives... if I will love them as I should or if I will let them down. I have to keep remembering that Jesus is the main character in their stories, not me. But I'm so glad I get to be a part of their stories and watch how it unfolds. I hope I will get to serve teens my whole life! I don't know what God's plan is for me or any of my kids in the future. But at least I know that he has given us this moment together... and this moment is powerful.
"Well I have no guarantee of my next heartbeat,
And my world is too big to make a name for myself.
What if no one wants to read about me when I'm gone?
Seems to me that right now is the only moment that matters..."