the stuff the Lord gives us

 

Ever hear a ‘no’? Like, there is something that you just know that you’re supposed to pursue and you even feel like God is like, ‘yep, totally. i’ve got you and you’ve got this.’ and then, like a giant punch in the gut, just.no.

And the natural response is, ‘but whyyyyyyyyyy?’ And i only add ‘y’s’ like that because i say it all super whiny-like. We don’t get it. We feel cheated and well, just sort of stupid because we were so sure that we heard the affirmation we needed to move forward. This happens to you, too, right? Because I’m saying ‘we’ since I don’t want to assume believe it’s just me.

But what if we take all those ‘no’s’ and start thinking of them as, ‘but wait, there’s something more. something better.’? It’s hard, right?

This world is hard. I literally stopped watching the news and have contemplated taking the leap away from Facebook (#horror) because I almost can’t handle all the ache. This year has proven just how empathetic I am and I’m here to just let y’all know … it’s not ideal. I find myself in a lot of pain a lot of the time because I’ve just come to realize I feel too flipping much.

I’m not totally sorry, though. I’m thankful I have the depth of feelings that I do. Because to the extent that I can feel pain, I can also feel sheer joy. And holy cow, I needed some dang joy this week.

Each year, I anticipate that bible school will result in at least one migraine. It’s just the nature of the beast. Close your eyes (well, don’t if you wanna keep going and I know you wanna keep going) and visualize roughly 70 children ages 3-10 screaming singing and dancing all hopped up on sugar (thanks, Denise) for five days straight. You feelin’ me?

But then? Just like as was the case in Guatemala, the kids just became part of what the Lord was doing. I don’t know that any of them got out of bible school what I got back from them. Each day, the theme included a bible point that equated to something Jesus gives … hope, courage, direction, love and today, power. And each day … the word was completely what I needed to be reminded of. I acted the part of a terrible caving student throughout the course of the week and had to be reminded by the master caver (my sister) of what Jesus gives. But even she didn’t know that she was ministering straight to my weary heart.

I watched as a number of volunteers selflessly gave of their time and talents to bless these children with stories related to those same gifts, crafts that could help them easily remember those stories, recreational activities that kept them from bouncing straight off the walls and snacks that fed their (reportedly starving) souls as well. And I saw children close their eyes in tender moments of worship. I was impressed by kids I never would have thought would be interested in the music as they sang and danced like no one was watching. I was loved on by a number of kids that didn’t even realize just how much I needed it. And I got reports from parents about how much their kids loved being a part of it.

And the night my friend Doug gave the story, I needed to be reminded that although I could have heard a ‘no’ that God, in fact, has a beautiful plan that He knows is good and will work for my good. And that some of the things of this world are so much less important than how we live. And how we love. Like one of my very best good friend pastors always says, ‘just make disciples.’ So easy. Something we so quickly overcomplicate.

Anyway, I said way too much just to share that this life nonsense is tough. It doesn’t always go according to our plan (does it ever?!). But the Lord doesn’t change. His gifts are constant and available. He does have something more; something better. But this week? I’m just thankful that God gave me those kids. That He showed up at our bible school and that He will enable us to do a good work on His behalf.

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