Let me say that again: We LOVE serving with our church youth group!
Hubby and I both have a heart for teenagers. We know the importance of mentoring relationships in teens' lives and both have been very blessed in our own lives to have had wonderful mentors when we were teens. There's just something really special about that time of life, the vivacity, the anything-is-possible attitudes, the angst, the trials, the figuring-yourself-out. And it's really cool to be there to play a small a part in helping someone younger than you navigate those years and try to steer them toward viewpoints, lifestyles and decisions that honor God.
Plus, you get to do super fun stuff. Stuff like camping!
Here's the thing that is extra super awesome about our youth group is that they let us bring our baby to everything. Like, everything. Mathew (our youth pastor) even helps arrange for someone to watch her on Sunday nights at church while we hang out with teens. (Our friend Jen and her daughter and daughter's friend are saints. They put up with my ridiculous, screaming child basically every week and still love her anyway!)
The whole including-our-baby thing is really precious to my heart. When we left youth ministry as a profession we felt like we were giving up the chance for our children to grow up in a environment where they could witness serving others firsthand. We wanted them passed around among teenagers at Bible studies at our house and wanted to watch them run around camp all summer knowing that Dad was busy teaching kids about Jesus.
It's hard when life changes and you feel like your plans and dreams are being wrenched from your hands. But it's way, way cooler to watch your plans and dreams take flight in a different, beautiful way that you didn't plan. Our baby is now a part of a beautiful, active, thriving church family. She even still gets to run around a camp with teenagers, even if it's only for a couple of days instead of a whole month. She is as much a part of the story I didn't write as the story I thought I did.
|We stake down tents with random rocks!|
|"Helping." I'm not sure how she thought the shoe would help secure the tent.|
|Games! Games in the almost dark!|
|Can you see the twisting action? She gets her frisbee love from her Daddy. Not me.|
|Campers have s'more fun!|
I only got to stay one day and night of the two night, three day trip because I had to come home on Monday to teach at camp. I think it's saying something though that I felt completely confident leaving Sweet Pea camping with Daddy and a bunch of teenagers for another night and day because I knew how much all the girls like to cuddle her. We are pretty blessed.