It's been a blessing and a challenge, both at the same time. The majority of the girls are unchurched and most likely come for the fellowship. In the past I wouldn't have found this to be too unsettling but through the past 12-18 months the Lord has brought me to a place of greater understanding when it comes to teaching and studying his Word. It is not casual and it should not be treated as such. It does not require gimmicks or tricks to entice those that he calls & converts.
It has been difficult at times to assert myself enough to gain control, yet be gentle and soft because I have spent years with some of these girls and I know I have earned a place of trust with them. We have a pizza-fellowship time when they first arrive and while this is such an important part for them it has become a real source of anxiety for me. It was *my* Hannah who encouraged me and pleaded for more order and less chaos.
A few weeks ago I just had to lay it all out on the table for these gals. I said, "look, you guys are precious to me. I am so so glad you are coming here and it blesses me to spend time with you........*but* we are here tonight for the purpose of learning what God has to say about the biblical beauty that He desires for those who love Him and how it should be fruit in their lives for others to see. Studying the bible might not be your *thang* (giggles here). You might be thinking, --geez, this part is booooorrreeeeeennngg-- (giggles here). I know you have your cell phones buzzing and I see the glances you girls are shooting sideways to each other. The talk about what boy likes what girl and who is *going with* who and what so-and-so said to whats-her-name is on the top of your list. Here's the deal. If learning God's word is not on the top of your list then this is not the place you need to be spending your Friday nights. (look to Hannah- eyeballs wide open, mouth gaped) I continue.... If coming together with like-minded sisters who love Jesus and want to honor Him with their words, actions, and thoughts sounds downright weird, then you should probably call your mom's right about now. I won't be mad. I totally understand. But you guys need to understand this: (and the preaching goes on)
1)Leave your cell phones at home- I have a phone and it works great.
2)Talk about boys at the sleepover that you are headed to- we are here to honor God and being appropriate with our speech is non-negotiable.
3)Save the eye-rollin' for your momma - I come from a long line of eye-rollers and I even had an eye-roller that lived here at one time but she now has full control of her eyeballs and I expect you girls to do the same.
4)I love you - but my love for the Lord is greater. I will not misuse this time or opportunity that He has laid before me. I am obligated to hold you girls accountable. (ahem... step-down off soapbox)
Well, so far I have had no takers. They show up with bells on every Friday night. When we get our workbooks out and our bibles, I do notice that probably 1/3 of the girls start to get the glazed over look, but they remain respectful and our time together is sweet.
On a lighter note, Chris was not able to be home in time for our meeting last Friday so we had a younger chap on hand to liven things up. Here are some pic's for you to enjoy. Can you find the oddball in the group shot?