Saturday, January 9, 2010

Our Kids

Last night we had "senior dinner" at our house. Every year we invite all the seniors in our youth group over to grub, play games, and then give them a little pep talk about finishing well. We had a blast, in spite of the fact that neither Jim or I made it home before 5:30, and they started coming over at 6! We laughed a lot over Dance Dance Revolution match-ups and Catch Phrase and chicken enchiladas and ice cream sundaes and Jim's special strawberry lemonade.

We love our kids. As I reflect over the group, I smile to think of each of their stories, and the cool things each of them contribute to our "family." Some have been coming for years, some just recently, and some only once in a while. Some come from strong families, some from families I just wish I could shake some sense into. Some are musically talented, some are tech whizzes. Some will keep you laughing forever. Some have a style sense straight from Milan. Some are just quiet observers. Some are confident; some just need to be loved and told "I believe in you!" God has entrusted us with each of their lives, and I am thankful for that blessing.

And last night was just the culmination of a day full my other "kids."

I got to spend 2 hours with 2 of the girls I mentor, talking about what God is teaching us as we sipped smoothies and then went grocery shopping for the dinner. (As sophomores, they made me promise that I would still cook them a dinner in 2 years!) One of them is reading through the whole Bible in 2010. The other one I just barely met this time last year; when she was going through an earlier rough patch, she found solace and inspiration in the book of Isaiah (?!?!) (first time reading the Bible!). Her current goal is to "love the unlovely" at school. I am so proud of them.

And before that I got to spend 8 hours with 150+ of my students (a lot of absences yesterday!). While sometimes they definitely test my patience, I really have a great group of kids. And yet my heart goes out to all their hardships...Abuse and neglect at home. Teasing by their peers. Learning difficulties. Poverty. A lot of them were friends of the student who passed away last weekend from diabetes complications. Several of them live in foster care or with distant relatives because their parents are incapable of taking care of them. Two new students just uprooted their lives and moved here and must make a new group of friends. One girl lost her mom to cancer 9 months ago. One girl must tell her parents that she's pregnant. One boy is trying to succeed after coming out of jail, but he's surrounded by all the wrong influences. One boy is preoccupied by a custody battle for his 9 month old son. Their heart-rending stories go on and on, and I'm sure I only know a tiny fraction of them. I wish I could do more for them.

For the first few years of our marriage, Jim and I used to celebrate that we could send "our kids" home at night. No midnight feedings or poopy diapers. No broken curfews or arguments over inappropriate dress. We could love on "our kids" as much as possible during the day, but then recuperate and regroup at night. It was a great arrangement.
Then the past couple years, all that has flipped. We're ready to make the sacrifices to be able to invest in a little life 24-7.
But nature has said no. And it has been so sad and discouraging.

I know if I had my own little kid, I'd be spending a lot less time and effort on these other kids. And maybe God knows some of these other kids need me a little more right now.


  1. I love this post because it definitely sums up how I feel about my students after I've gotten to know them. I think it makes you a wonderful teacher because you do care so much. I LOVED what you wrote at the end of your post and I truly believe in what you said.

    Oh, and a few years ago my parents gave me a bible that is broken into every day of the year. I think one of my resolutions should be to read the passage everyday.

  2. What's really weird is that while I was getting ready for bed last night, I was wondering why things have gone the way they have for you guys. And then I thought about the movie and the little one(s) that will be blessed by having parents who pick them out and give them a home. Funny that you blogged about this today. ;)

  3. I can only imagine the angst you feel at times. Of course, as you know, the Lord has a perfect plan. And the fact that you have poured your lives into making a movie that will further His kingdom can ONLY come back to bless you. I know He will richly bless you beyond expectation this year as you have been faithful servants with willing hearts!

  4. Thanks guys for the encouragement!
    And Freda, let me know if you pursue your "resolution"! I think it's a great idea :o)

  5. rachel, i sent you a message on facebook. if you get a chance, can you check it?

  6. Shanti, what's your email? Or could you email me at (I can't get FB at school, but I saw your message through my email.)