Hallelujah! It's Christmas in the book world. Carry On Warrior and Bread and Wine arrived in my mailbox from Amazon today. I've already read Shauna's new book thanks to that special reader's edition but I'm still glad to have the official copy. Carry On Warrior in the new memoir from Glennon Melton, a blogger and mother that I've become obsessed with as of late. I love her vulnerability and honesty, hilarity and courage. I've just started the book but I'm already obsessed.
"I like to compare God's love to the sunrise. That sun shows up every morning, no matter how bad you've been the night before. It shines without judgement. It never withholds. It warms the sinners, the saints, the druggies, the cheerleaders--the saved and the heathens alike. You can hide from the sun, but it won't take that personally. It'll never, ever punish you for hiding. You can stay in the dark for years or decades, and when you finally step outside, it'll be there. It was there the whole time, shining and shining. It'll still be there, steady and bright as ever, just waiting for you to notice, to come out, to be warmed. All those years, I thought of God and light and the sun as judgmental, but they weren't. The sunrise was my daily invitation from God to come back to life." -Carry On Warrior
We broke out all our best neon items for Wyld Life Club tonight. After being away for Spring Break it was fun to have all of these kids back together again. And let's not lie, I love any excuse to wear this combination of clothes and accessories.
We keep breaking the mold of who a "young life kid" is. We've got the popular kids, the quiet ones, the quirky ones, the artsy ones, the sporty ones, the rebellious ones. There are still more kids in our school that I hope will show up some day but right now I'm amazed by who God is bringing together.
Week after week, these kids are feeling more like family. The more that I get to know them and their stories, the more that we laugh and dance together, the more that we show up we become invested in one another's lives. Glennon writes, "The more I opened my heart to the folks in my circles, the more convinced I became that life is equal parts brutal and beautiful. And/Both. Life is brutiful. Like stars in a dark sky. Sharing life's brutiful is what makes us feel less alone and afraid." It's a gift to get a bigger picture of their brutiful lives.
"I come to Wyld Life because I love learning about God and our group discussions. I love the leaders." -8th grade girl
"I keep coming back because it's a fun positive place with loving people everywhere. I have learned to never give up even though I really want to sometimes." -8th grade girl
"I keep going to Wyld Life to remind me that God and everyone at Wyld Life is always there for me. It's one of the only places where there is no pressure hanging on your shoulders. It let's me hang out with my best friends and new friends, dance and have fun, but learn about God at the same time. I've learned that even if I do something wrong, even if I sin, God will always love me. When no one is by my side, God will always be. As long as you believe in Him and His grace you'll make it up to the stairway of heaven." -8th grade girl
"I keep coming back to Wyld Life because it has helped my bond with God grow stronger and I like learning about people's stories with God. I used to doubt God but now I don't know what I would do without him. I turn to God now when I need something something and pray for help." -7th grade girl
"Wyld Life is a place where I can get closer to God and talk about things in my life when they aren't going great. I've learned that even in the darkest times God is always by my side even when I don't realize it." -8th grade girl
"Wyld Life has impacted my life so much and I don't think I could live without it. It is always the highlight of my week and I can always count on true friends to be there and not judge me. HSE has become judgmental lately but I know I can come to YL and be myself. There I can be surrounded with people who want to live the same life I do, one with God in it. Before YL and Bible Study I believed in God but I didn't exactly know his story and how he changed the world. I've grown closer to him and I know he is always going to be there for me and love me." -8th grade girl
"I keep coming back to Wyld Life because my family isn't very religious and I want to become closer to God. Yes Wyld Life is so much fun, but I come to meet new people and to build a stronger relationship with God and everyone else around me. I've learned a handful of things from club talks and bible study, but most of all I've learned that keeping my light bright is helping me through the rough times. It affects other people to keep their light bright too. Life is too short to waste." -8th grade girl
"This is one of the places and times I can just be myself. No one is being judgmental and I have the time of my life. After every club and bible study I just want to do it all over again. Wyld Life brings the best in me and has really changed my life in the past because I've developed a relationship with God and it keeps getting stronger. I've learned that God loves everyone, praying makes a relationship with him stronger, he wants us to life a life that builds off of him and so much more. I've realized I am so unbelievably blessed to have everything in my life that I do and I need to be thankful for all the good things." -8th grade girl
"I trust everybody at Wyld Life. The leaders make me feel like they actually want to know more about my life and help me through it. Before Wyld Life I actually didn't believe in God because I would hear a bunch of bad things that would happen to people and my parents would just be like, "You need to pray to God and worship him," but I didn't know what that meant. Not that I come to Wyld Life I understand what praying and worshipping God means." -7th grade girl
The basement glowed tonight between our neon clothes, the black lights and glow sticks. We danced most of the night with a game of glow in the dark volleyball, giant glow stick hurdles and a raffle for neon YL shirts throw in there.
A lot of the night I'm running around like crazy to make sure we're starting at the right time, that the supplies are ready or in the right place, that everything is going according to plan, but the moments I treasure are when I get to be in the moment and soak it up. Glennon describes it like this, "There are two different types of time. One is Kairos time. Kairos is God's time. It's time outside of time. It's metaphysical time. Kairos is those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day, and I cherish them." Watching KCraig and her sweet Jesse dance in the middle of the crowd. Seeing Chloe and Hannah show up tonight. Sitting in the stairwell with out group. Dancing on the far side of the room with Ellie and Molly. Laughing, talking and praying in bible study at the end of the night. These are the moments I remember when I look back at the whole night.
We talked about Jonah tonight and how God had a plan for his life. Even when Jonah thought he could run away and hide, God still showed up and threw a curve ball to get him back on track. Nothing like getting eaten by a whale to shift your focus. We talked about what God is calling us to do and how God grabs our attention.
"This is where I feel close to God- surrounded by all my friends and classmates. Just having fun and learning more about God and life is so great. I feel like it's a place where no one judges and everyone just has fun. I can't even put into words how much closer I feel to God now than I ever did before I came to Wyld Life." -8th grade girl
"I love to talk about Jesus with the people that I love so much. Wyld Life also gives me that time aside from Bible Study to just let loose. I've learned that God has a plan for my life and that no matter what life throws at me, he will lead me in the right direction. My faith has grown because of the amazing people that God has put in my life." -8th grade girl
"If I have something I need to talk about I know my friends at Wyld Life will listen and try to help. I've learned so much about God that I never knew before. I've learned what he did for me, how hard his life was, how easy it is to talk to him and how I want to be more thankful for all that I have." -8th grade girl
One of my favorite verses has always been 1 Corinthians 7:17, "And don't be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God's place for you. Live, obey, love and believe right here." Sometimes I need it as a reminder because it's easy to be restless or unsatisfied with where we are. But right now, I'm so confident that this is exactly where God wants me to be.