My Nearly-Blind Eyes Have Been Opened…

27 04 2010

I can’t ever remember a time I was so relieved to have a week over.

Ok, maybe that’s not entirely accurate–I definitely looked forward to finishing up two weeks of Discovering the Arts Camp amidst moving into a brand-new apartment last summer.  I also couldn’t wait to finish up finals and graduate from college  a few years ago. And getting my braces off in high school was something I looked forward to for a long time. 

But, I digress.

On Sunday evening, 44 confirmation students stood up and publicly proclaimed their faith in Jesus Christ to 350 friends and relatives at our Confirmation Banquet. This is the very first class I’ve worked with from start to finish, and I couldn’t have been prouder. All of the kids did a great job speaking, and so many of them had heart-wrenching stories of how God’s been working in their lives and how they’ve grown spiritually through these last two years of confirmation. I heard so many great comments from parents, grandparents, and friends…and as one of the girls in my small group said, “I’m so glad I got to give my testimony–I have friends at other churches who wish they would’ve been able to do something like this, because it’s so important!”

Our small group: you can tell they just finished their testimonies, because they're all smiling!

Now that the stress of planning, coordinating, and feeding 350 people is over, I have some time to reflect.

God has certainly been at work mightily in the last few weeks. I don’t mean to say that He hasn’t been working powerfully all along–but I feel like my nearly-blind eyes can lately see the ways in which He’s moving more clearly than I usually can.

By the way, when I say “nearly-blind eyes”, I mean it. If I take my glasses off, I can’t see my toes. I mean, I can see the rough outline of a foot, but that’s it.

Through an incredibly traumatic week, I’ve seen our middle schoolers and parents throwing themselves into prayer. I’ve seen kids who wouldn’t normally talk to each other hugging each other fiercely, mutually sharing their sorrow without speaking a word. I’ve seen leaders and staff members living out their faith and shouldering difficult responsibility, all for the sake of reaching hurting students. It’s been incredible to see how the Holy Spirit is working through people.

At the same time, I’ve felt so uplifted at a time when I’ve been completely exhausted and drained. I don’t want to sound like a crazy person, but there were times last week when I actually felt like someone was praying for me–as one of my students described it, it felt like the Holy Spirit was “filling me up”.

During the last few hectic days, I was so strengthened by the love and encouragement poured out to me by so many people. I received about a dozen very sweet emails and messages, a bouquet of flowers from Kelly, and a hand-delivered cup of my favorite ice cream (Ted Drewes’ “All Shook Up”–who doesn’t love bananas and Reeses?) from Jane and Michelle. I can’t explain enough how much all of it meant to me, and how much it lifted me at a time when I needed it most.

I have a hard time comprehending how people cope with loss outside of Christ, and outside of a Christian community. Sure, I’ll be the first to admit that there are some people in church that drive me bonkers. And yes, there are plenty of times when all of us miss opportunities to be compassionate to each other. We’re not perfect, by any means.

But, in the times when I need my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, they are there for me. They lift me up when I need it. They pitch in and make amazing things happen in our community, and in the lives of so many people.

When I lose faith in humanity, humanity always rallies and redeems itself. And I think that’s evidence of the Holy Spirit at work in our world.

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