CIY Celebration was planned way, way in advanced for parents, grandparents, kids, and any other people who wanted to come and hear how God moved at CIY Move this past week and to send off the CIY Mix kids (middle schoolers) this week. We sang, we listened, they had balloons and confetti drop from the ceiling AND there were 18 BAPTISMS! Out of 200 kids/adults going! AND BENAIAH GOT TO REBAPTIZE HIS BEST FRIEND ETHAN and a new friend Kendrell! AMAZING! So proud! Praise the Lord!
And as I stood on the steps watching the baptisms, many, many thoughts ran through my head ranging from praying for people close to me that have walked away from their faith or haven't committed themselves yet to how the past year has been a year of healing. Watching my kids enjoy their friends here, learn about God, and being "known, valued, and loved" makes up for my grief of leaving PEI and my friends there. Again, I'm not unhappy, but it was a traumatic move for me. We did need to come back here and be restored. There were people on PEI that hurt us, that we have forgiven, but the wound sometimes opens up again, at least for me. Things there could have been handled a lot better. But instead of being bitter, I pray for them. I pray for the youth there that don't have the opportunities my kids do to go to CIY and feel God's presence on mountaintop experiences. I pray for the leaders who do their best with what they have to reach people in their communities, and yet, as humans, they and us fail at it. There are broken people everywhere, but, I wish we could have done more for those on PEI. We pray for the churches to be vibrant and meet needs. It's definitely complicated and we know plenty of great leaders doing their best in both places. We do live in Christian bubble here, and for this anxious mama, it does help me have some peace right now to gather my wits and introduce my kids to the world at a pace I'm comfortable with. And no, we shouldn't stay in our comfort zone, but for this introvert, it has helped to again, stay here, heal, and then venture out again. The sermon this weekend was all about local service and featured the organizations that the church has had long partnerships with. It was another reminder that not only should be give school supplies and Thanksgiving meals, but we need to get out my comfort zone and go and serve physically, face to face, even if I have to have a rest day the next day. And do it regularly. Justin serving in Kidustrial Park is part of that. So is Benaiah on tech team. But those are safe environments. I'm talking about meeting with homeless people or helping kids with homework or who knows what. As a friend of mine who went to CIY this week said tonight, one of the nuggets of truth she gleaned was that if we are not getting out of our comfort zone and taking risks that push us to our knees in prayer, than we aren't praying right. (Or something like that). I definitely have had some internal struggles that have increased my prayer life, but no, I never take those big risks.
This goes hand in hand with some of personal opinions about big show productions like CIY. CIY is awesome, but it costs a ton to go because it has all those special elements like loud music, lights, etc. It's a mountaintop experience. But it feeds the kids and builds them up. It needs to be balanced with them taking that and using it to serve locally and globally. Praise God some of the kids have done that! And the spring break mission week they had this spring that focused on local missions is perfect for creating that balance.
Another thought I keep having is that I know Jared and I are not called to be youth leaders. We do show up, we pray, we support, but neither of us really have the energy to keep up with the kids. Well, maybe Jared does and he has had some awesome times with high schoolers and college students. But I don't like dealing with the drama and the crazy talk and for lack of a better word, stupidity. Derpishness. I can't even handle my own kids' lack of thought. So, we don't go on the trips. We stay home and pray. We show up and clap and hug for events like tonight. There was a senior citizens Bible study group that made cookies for all the kids to have on their ride up to Michigan last week. We are talking at least 200 cookies! And what an awesome way to span the generations and support the young people. So, no, I won't be their D group leader or hang out with them, but I can show up in other ways. And I can support the homeschool mamas as they are raising their elementary kids who will eventually be teens, too.
So, lots of thoughts, lots of excitement, great worship, some work done, and now we are on a new week. But first, we have to get Justin sent off at noon tomorrow. And Benaiah has a full week of work to accomplish. So, I think I'm going to plan a couple of fun things for Keturah and I to do. We'll see.
|Keturah pointed out this incredible looking bug on the porch post today! It looks like it just morphed, or molted! Check out those paper thin wings! Cicada perhaps? It was huge!|
|More swing time!|
|It's a real live huge bug, but so cool!|
|Socks noticed a squirrel on the electrical wires and jumped up on the wooden fence, barked, and ran back and forth under it!|
|Squirrel got away, but see how Socks doesn't hesitate to put his big paws up on the fence. I'm glad he's a nimble guy!|
|Decided to use my Timmy's cup for my iced coffee this afternoon. I wonder when our Tim's on the west side will be open. I miss it!|
|And I had another PEI moment when I was going through the science books today. I guess I don't need this as a field guide anymore, but we can still use it to learn about the wildlife there.|
|Chad and Luke saying once again that we, the parents, are our kids' best youth leaders. We partner with the youth group, but we take the responsibility of raising our kids.|
|Confetti and balloons!|
|Lights! Also, we have a college intern for the youth who is the son of one of our former worship ministers. I had no idea this young guy could sing and play guitar. Pretty neat to see because I recognized some of his dad's facial expression in him.|
|18 baptisms! Jared and the kids only stayed until Benaiah rebaptized Ethan. I stayed until I saw one of my friend's oldest daughter get baptized. 18 baptisms in all! That takes like an hour to complete them all!|
|Abishai got to play around with the balloons on stage.|
|My baby boy is baptizing his friend! Craziness! Look at him! So exciting!|
|And now Benaiah and Ethan get to baptize their new friend, Kendrell. Sweet!|
|Alison is the one that has led the dance teams for the childrens' choir and serves in Kidustrial Park.|
|Every kid gets key tags that their parents, relatives and members of the church take in order to pray for them during CIY week. So, all the kids wrote thank you notes and stuck them on the same boards so all the other adults could see them.|
|Benaiah's first trip on the tire swing! Um, that's not how you do it.|
|There, that's better!|
|Everybody's home for one night, so it's time to light that fire!|
|Lighter fluid and torch and ready, set, glow!|
|I hate taking selfies because of all the guesswork on angles. But I got this one ok! I wore my hair down today, and twisted the half up a little differently. It held all day as well!|
|See, it's not just a straight half up. I twisted the small pony tail up and then down again.|
|My hair is getting long again. I want to do more with it though. It's slightly curly because I had it all the way up in a flexi clip yesterday after my shower. Otherwise, my heart is completely straight and flat.|
|I played with the settings on my camera a bit but these pictures still don't do the colors well.|
|And in case you cared...the back of the house. It's a good looking house, eh? It just needs some TLC, which we are giving it .|