Journey with me to our house on Monday evenings. Here is how it goes…
I get out of work at 4:30. I work-out for 30 minutes with the girls from work and then…
Sometimes, when I’m organized, I shop on the weekends. But more often, I run by the grocery store after work. I buy mass quantities of inexpensive food. I’ve learned to feed an army for pennies. We eat things like chili, hotdogs, sliders, baked pasta and Spicy Southwest Soup (minus the expensive avocados!). we have taco bars, nacho bars, baked potato bars and anything else that will stretch the quantity of food but still appeal to teenagers.
By now it’s probably around 5:30 and I (we) start cooking. Usually one cleans and the other cooks. I’m not sure which of these is the better deal?
I bake a batch of some kind of cookies, but instead of making individual cookies, I make the dough and spread it in a 9 X 13 pan. This way, I put it in the oven for 20 minutes and it’s done. I do sugar cookies that way and ice them with cream cheese frosting and sprinkles. Or sometimes I do peanut butter cookie dough and ice them with chocolate frosting. Oatmeal chocolate chip is a big favorite with the kids..and the youth leaders.
Speaking of the leaders. These awesome folks help us out by bringing the food trimmings and pop each week.
The kids start to arrive. Sometimes they show up 45 minutes early. That used to bother me, as I was rushing around until one time I asked a young man why he always came so early. His reply – “There is always so much fighting at my house, I just like to be here because it’s peaceful.”
Now I don’t mind so much anymore if someone shows up early.
Anyway, the cars start lining the street.
I don’t know if our neighbors truly appreciate this.
And thank goodness for spring! The boys have been staying out playing basketball.
Which also results in the girls going out to watch. Mr. Wonderful arrives home and slowly begins to work his way into the game.
Mr. Wonderful! Don’t do it! Remember the flip-flop episode?
But then, we call them in for food.
And that’s when the kitchen turns to madness.
We go through massive amounts of styrofoam cups.
And it’s become great therapy for Mr. Wonderful to let them onto the carpet with soda’s and sometimes …the horror…spaghetti sauce.
Usually once a week someone sidles up to me and with eyes averted asks me “Ummm, do you have an old towel or something?”
Thank God for our Bissell carpet steamer. The best investment we ever made!
Kids bring friends that would never set foot inside of a church. And they keep coming back. Friends bring friends that they know need a little something also. (More on these two later!)
There is a wide variety of kids that show up. You’ve already seen the jocks. There are also musicians.
This is Luke and he writes amazing songs.
Sometimes they do things that scare me.
And that’s a good time to herd them all into the living room where a different leader each week leads a great discussion over a specific topic.
These have included, dating, worship, prayer, parents, family, relationships, Bible study, mentorship, forgiveness and a host of other great subjects. This is not a “preach session” by us. It is a discussion group, and it’s so cool to watch how through that discussion, very often the kids get revelation as to why they believe what they believe. They begin to understand why us parents are strict (because we love them) and many other changes are formed through “the renewing of their minds”.
Why do we do this every Monday you ask?
Because we’ve seen kids over the past 6-7 years grow from unclearness to wisdom.
We’ve seen an unlikely group of kids who you might never put together become a small family.
We’ve seen followers become leaders.
We’ve witnessed those who have been hurt and scarred, begin to use those pains to start helping others.
Just this past week, we went to a restaurant where a young lady that we nursed through a lot of turmoil waited on us. When she brought our ticket, on the bottom was scribbled, “Thanks for the time you invested in me”.
And that, my friends, is why it’s all worth it.
Who have you invested in lately? There is an entire world full of people whose lives could change just by you giving them a little time.
Maybe it’s time to re-evalute how you spend yours?
And I don’t say that to preach at you. Maybe you don’t think you’re worthy to help others? Maybe you think your life is just too busy?
I would just love for everyone to experience the fulfillment I feel in forgetting about me and my problems, and reaching out to someone else.
Maybe you think there’s no way you could do what we do…you don’t have to.
Maybe you could just smile and offer encouragement to the check-out girl at the grocery store when everyone else is being grumpy? Or maybe you could offer to babysit for a young single mom trying to get her life straight?
Whatever, the case, look for something to touch someone’s life in a positive way today.