"Words are valuable, and everyone needs to know that they're loved, that someone's proud of them, that someone sees the magic that makes them them. So this is my challenge for you: Use your words. Use them today. For someone you love, someone you're proud of, someone who needs to know they matter. Everyone needs to know they matter." -Shauna Niequist
Today was a whole day of using words well that began with a chapter from Shauna and this group of 8th grade girls. Already, they are so good at loving people well and using their words in a powerful way. I'm proud to know them.
Tonight our Young Family showed up big time for our bi-annual tradition of Love Tanks. For some of these Seniors, this is their 8th time doing this with us and they look forward to it more every time. It feels like summer in Fishers so we sang together outside. I love when Ryan takes requests from the kids and we sing whatever they ask for and Isaiah sings the loudest of us all.
Right here on these rocks, with these people has got to be one of my favorite places to sing worship songs. It's right up there with the olden wooden pews of Dimnent Chapel and the leafy canopy of the Green Cathedral. This is such a golden place to be.
Love Tanks starts with everyone writing their name on a brown paper bag. Those bags are alphabetized by first name and then taped up on the wall in one long line.
For the next hour, you write notes to as many friends and leaders as possible. You write why you love them, what you think they're awesome at, what they need to be reminded of, reminders of the time when you shared something significant, a call to be the very best version of themselves.
We left the barn door open, turned on music and the kids spread out. They were grouped in pairs or small groups all across the basketball court, the front porch and the yard. Everywhere you look, kids were writing love tank notes.
Earlier today a YL girl asked me how many people come to YL on a weekly basis. I thought about it and guessed, "Maybe 50? Some weeks it's more and some weeks it's less. There are so many kids that I think are part of YL but they're never all there at the same time." Tonight never fails to be a time when everyone shows up. Kids make it a priority to be here for Love Tanks. No matter if they have to get someone to cover them at work, skip practice or procrastinate homework a little longer, this is where they want to be. That's all evidence that we all have this deep desire to both love and be loved.
At the end of the night the kids have this peace about them that wasn't there when they walked in. There is a joy that comes from loving others well. Then they take their own bag off the wall and head home to read the notes that they received. Both the giving and receiving of love is beautiful.