Hands & Feet

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I want God to use me.

I want to feel like I'm making a difference, that my actions have meaning.

I want to be the one who jumps up and yells, "Here I am Lord!  Send ME!"

And yet I find myself shying away from encounters with people, seeing a need and proclaiming to get to it later.

And we all know when later comes right?

Four and a half years ago, Andrew and I were leading an amazingly wonderful group of kids.  

Our ministry was called Cross Culture and it was our life.

Heck, we even tattooed it on our bodies.

Andrew spent nearly every waking hour at the church working on things to improve Cross Culture.

He went to school lunches and ate disgusting tater tots.  We attended football games and choir concerts and every other high school event imaginable.

Andrew lived, breathed, and loved every aspect of Cross Culture.

It was different for me though.

Andrew's a natural with high schoolers.  

I had to work at it.

At first, I was there because it was Andrew's passion and I wanted to support that.

High school was an awkward and rough time for me.  I never really fit in or felt like I belonged.

Sitting in a room the night we took over with 8 equally awkward teenagers staring at me wasn't exactly my cup of tea.

But while Andrew started to build what would become one of the greatest youth groups I've ever seen (I know I'm a bit biased) I slowly began to find my groove.

It wasn't love at first sight, but more of a slow courtship.

I didn't connect with all the girls, but the ones I did became mine.

I prayed ferociously for them.

I worried about decisions they had to make.

We had inside jokes and went on trips.

I taught lessons and they actually remembered them.

I loved them like they were my own.

Maybe even more since I didn't have to nag them to clean their rooms or take out the trash.

And then the day came that our time over Cross Culture came to an end.

It came as a shock, although it shouldn't have (God had told us it was time months before, we just chose to ignore Him).  

Andrew was heartbroken.  Crushed.  Devastated.  

He was angry and emotional and felt a profound loss.

I hurt for him.

But somehow, I convinced myself that I wouldn't miss it.

Cross Culture was his ministry.  I was just along for the ride.

I was excited to get a chance to focus on building our family.

A new stage of life.

It's been four years since I have set foot inside of a youth group room.

I haven't reached out to any teen girls.

No rallies.  No themed nights.  No strange and borderline illegal games.

Not one lock in or camp or slightly off pitch praise team practices.

And for four years, I haven't missed it.

But a couple months ago, smack in the middle of an old school Hillsong song, God told me it was time.

Time to stop being afraid of losing again.  

Time to dust off the old purity devotionals and teacup analogies and, once again, become someone's Burning Flame.

And I realized that Cross Culture wasn't Andrew's ministry.

It was our ministry.

I was just as invested as he was. 

And all of the sudden I was dying to be surrounded by stinky teenage boys and over dramatic teenage girls.

So I told Andrew what God was saying.

And, in not so many words, he said I must be hearing things.

Not time.  Not ready.  Not happening.

So I sat back and waited.

I learned long ago that God deals with Andrew in His own way.  

So I wasn't all that surprised when Andrew informed me last week that he thought we should start checking out VTTN's youth group.

Last Wednesday was my first meeting.

And to say I'm in love would be an understatement.

It's not the same style as Cross Culture was and being on the sidelines will take some getting used to, but the electricity flowing from those kids was the exact same feeling I got every Wednesday Night at Cross Culture.

I sat next to some Freshman Girls who might as well have been my Pitstop McGee and Little Christina.  

We joked together and talked just a little.

I watched Andrew slowly slide back in to Youth Pastor Andrew and couldn't help but smile at the memories it brought up.

It's his environment.

Where he shines the brightest.

After the service I went to get Batman and Gabriel and was caught completely off guard when the girl I had sat next to ran up and gave me a huge hug.

I want so bad to be God's hands and feet.

So even though it's awkward and scary and has the potential to tear my heart out again, 

Here Am I Lord.  Send me.


Ashley said...

I have to say, once you and Andrew left, CC wasn't the same at all and I stopped going. I haven't set foot in a youth group after that... and few and far between a church. I will say, your youth group changed my life. When I first came to CC with Gina, I was depressed, broken, and losing weight rapidly from not eating (I was down to about 90 lbs) Cross Culture showed me I CAN be loved and I AM loved by God. I was a believer before Cross Culture and tried out different youth groups/churches, but Cross Culture helped me build a relationship with God and showed me that letting Him handle my problems is the best way to get through all the crap teenagers have to go through.

Y'all had THE BEST youth group I've ever been in and although I didn't get to experience it for too long, that year and a half or so that I was there really brought me together as a person of God. And I really can't say thank you enough for being given the chance for that.

I don't know if anyone tells you or has told you, Andrew, or Missy that, but you've definitely changed lives. And you've definitely made a difference in those you've interacted with in Cross Culture. I didn't connect as much with you as I wish I could have or as much as I did with Missy... heck, you probably don't even remember me! (lol) but the times we did get to hang out were pretty great. And I know you'll both continue to change lives... even if you're on the sidelines. :-)