Three things you’ll never hear me say in the spring:
1) Everyone’s camp balances are paid in full!
2) I spent way too much time with my small group leaders this semester.
3) I wish these 8th graders would hurry up and transition to high school.
Wednesday night I drove home from youth group like I normally do, wondering if I should stop at McDonalds for a chocolate dipped vanilla ice cream cone. Sometimes I do that. It’s like my reward for surviving.
It’s late. I’m wondering if my kids are already in bed or if they are waiting on me. I decide to go home. As I pull into the garage. I break.
I can’t hold the tears, pain, joy, conflicting emotion that has been building in me.
The truth is, we’ve been working our tails off so that more kids can go to camp. The truth is, we have raised a lot of money and we still need more. The truth is, I know that funds will come together for these kids. Because God cares about them and we’re trying so hard and praying so much. I just wish things could happen before our ginormous camp balances are due. There’s nothing like getting floated $50K in hopes that some kids with no allowance can pay you back. But we keep working toward the goal because we know that the end result is worth it. The week together will be life changing.
I thank God through snot and tears for the amazing leaders who said yes to middle school ministry. I can’t believe that they said yes and continue to say yes week after week. I get paid to do this. They don’t. And they get why we do it and they blow me away every week with their above-and-beyond hearts that aren’t giving up on their few. I see them making breakthroughs. I see them being broken in a good way for the ones they’ve grown to love this year. I see them attending graduations in four to six years and going to weddings and becoming god-parents to babies.
And truthfully I’m sad. I’ve known some of my 8th graders since they were 7 years old. Like my daughter is 7 right now. Toothless wonders who drooled at the thought of getting to be in youth group someday. It’s like these last weeks before they transition into high school I get laser focused on their gifts. I start seeing past where they are to what they are going to be very soon. And I’m faced with something big—I won’t be going with them into high school. Like watching your child take a first step, I watch them take steps on their own and I’m so happy that I could cry…so happy that I did cry.
For the last 17 years I’ve only known youth group on Wednesday nights. Every year teenagers transition to what’s next. You’d think I’d be used to it by now. But you don’t get used to things that are that wonderful. You just become present and feeling in them, you thank God for them, and you say yes to them again and again.