Justin leads the middle school youth on Wednesday nights at our church. His love for these kids and passion to really figure them out (if you know any middle schoolers, you know why I use the phrase "figure them out") has always amazed me. I have gone a few times to help him and I know these kids from some events at church. However, this weekend, I was so blessed to get to know this group of kids on an even deeper level at YDR (Youth Discipleship Retreat). This is a weekend long retreat held at Aldersgate Camp in Irvine, Kentucky (a tiny spot on the map).
We were among gorgeous scenery.
an old iron ore furnace
We worshipped in a beautiful chapel (barefoot, I might add).
We stayed in a cabin tucked amidst the mountains and had a lot of fun fellowship time.
We were around cute animals.
(one of these sweet puppies came home with one of our girls in the church van....
parent approval was given)
We were reminded of the simple things in life...
such as enjoying the rain
sitting on a porch
eating camp food
taking time out
sleeping in bunk-beds
and singing silly songs from our bible school days.
And one of the most amazing things to me was that something God had been stirring in my heart recently, followed me to this weekend. I was there to serve those middle schoolers and invest in them, and what does my Savior do? He speaks to me too. Not just about what to share with the kids, but also more about His love for me.
"The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
This is the scripture verse that was the inspiration for this weekend. God has been speaking to me about living my life radically and fully devoted to God. To be set apart and free from the constraints of the world. This verse puts even more emphasis on that. Someone saying something mean to you? A tragedy in your life? Sadness or depression taking over? Numerous small events that lead to just a bad day? All of those are times the devil is seeking out to take away our joy. But how amazing that Jesus comes to not only save us from that and give us a life....but to give us a life far more amazing than we could ever think of ourselves.
So what was I reminded of this weekend?
-it's crucial to get away from the world (even if it's just for a couple days) and get centered all over again
-middle schoolers are precious (non-stop talking, smelly clothes, argumentative tendancies and all) and they have an expressive, reflective heart that is like a sponge ready to soak up what they're exposed to
(it's my prayer that these middle schoolers continue to soak up the love of Jesus
instead of the other things the "thief" tries to put in their paths)
-God is knocking on my heart like crazy to gravitate toward new levels in my walk with Him
-the simple things in life take us directly toward the One that this life is all about