Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Bigger Last Time

Audrey is a senior and since graduation is essentially a month away we've begun the firsts of the lasts. Actually all year has been a series of little lasts. Last first day of school, last marching band, last pep band, last musical, last play, last something or other. but this afternoon a red-faced, watery-eyed daughter made her way upstairs because tonight was the last time her church small group would meet together for the school year and she would not be a part of it as a student after this. This was a bigger last time.

After some spectacular teenage feelings (they can be big at times) and a good sit on the back of her car listening to moody music, I beckoned her to come out to the garden and just be with me. Her dad was doing some extra special work for me and I was digging in a fair amount of compost and peat moss and really, there's nothing better to soothe one's feelings than a good dusting of garden soil and the ear splitting sound of a drill into metal. After that, she summoned the mental and emotional strength to play a little catch with her brothers (and then I had all the big feelings).

It's a bit hard to wrangle one's thoughts and feelings in the kind of days we are now walking. After getting on her reminding her about her laundry (Dear Lord, the laundry. Amen.) I pulled her aside for a few thoughts. 

I told her that this is what she had been working towards for the last seven years in youth group and small group and that God has been faithful in all these years. I borrowed from this morning's message of excitement, fear and gratitude and showed her that the same holds true for her. She is so excited for college and the next part of her life (journey, path, all the hip words). She is fearful. You don't show up for college knowing how to do college. I told her to be honest with the other girls in small group about this. Don't we all believe that somehow, if we could just get to this X marks the spot place, life would be smooth going and then we get there and there is still fear and still faith to step out on? Yup. So ask the girls to pray for her to be bold and courageous. And then there is gratitude. I didn't have to explain this aspect to her.

Then I shared from my recent readings in Matthew 8 and gave her three more words. Faith, obey and unbelief. These were my simplified thoughts of the stories in that chapter. Again, returning to faith- believe. The man with leprosy. The centurion with the sick servant. They had a lot to lose (fear) but their faith in Jesus saved them. Obey- Almost all of us usually want some perfectly scripted scenario played out before us in a vision, dream or text with cute emoji's but Jesus tells us to obey. Read the Word. Do what it says. There are so many questions teenage girls ask and want to know and want to know the will of God and pursue God and on and on (I love them bunches.) but, goodness, the answer is usually to obey. "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what is says." James 1:22. Finally, the opposite of faith and obedience is also true- unbelief. The last scene we are left with in Matthew 8 shows the townspeople driving Jesus away because their fear lead to them unbelief instead of faith. That can be true of us, as well.

Those things said, I gave her another encouraging, understanding hug and let her get her thoughts settled before leaving for small group. 


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