Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Most Important Days

"The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." -Mark Twain

 Mark Twain makes a good point, to which I would like to respond. In a sense he captures the essence of the fact that the things that make you who you are include where you came from and where you are going. 

I came from two pretty normal parents, who brought me into a world with a big sister, a great family, a loving church family, and one day a little brother, although I specifically asked for a puppy. 

First most important day of my life:
Actually this is 6 days before I was born, my parents' wedding day. Glamorous, I know. But you get the point. That's my momma, with Savy filling, and my daddy being silly (note the pouty lip).

My momma was a giving woman, always searching for ways to show someone love. For Christmas one year, she gave a little girl in our church a whole bucket of bubble gum, so that kids to come to her for gum, instead of her always searching some out right before service. Daddy was careful, but so much fun. He would tell dumb jokes, silly stories, and play games all the time. I remember the first time I laughed. It was with my daddy. 

So that's my past. It made me who I am today, for better or worse. 

Another crucial day in my more recent past looks more like this: 

Yeah. Wow. I was little. I can't believe my ponytail only reached the top of my shirt. And look at all those freckles! I need to get back out in the sun. :P
Anyway, this is the summer of 2005; I was 13. Why is this summer so very important you ask? Because this is where it all started. Here, I am in line for lunch in the dining hall of Huntingdon College, but long before I ever thought I would make it my Alma mater. I was at a training week to learn how to teach the Gospel to children in the form of  a 5 Day Club. I was a member of Christian Youth in Action, fondly called a CYIAer. 
In short, this is the summer that I discovered why I was born. That summer, and every summer since then, I have gone out in the Montgomery area (and beyond, as far as Alex City, Troy, and Boston, MA) to teach children of the Savior who loves them and gave all he had for them. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I could bring children just joy in this knowledge. As I saw children make decisions to follow Christ, have their lives changed, or discover unconditional love for the first time, God opened my eyes to my purpose.
It seems silly that a thirteen year old could decide the rest of her life just like that. But I didn't decide it. God did. He even drove the decision home for me the next year. 
My second year as a CYIAer was just as awesome as the first, and then some. One week, my team went to the McKee Jr High community center and taught a 5 Day Club there. Thursday, I taught the Bible lesson. It was about Peter being freed from prison (always one of my favorites). By the end of the lesson, however, I had also shared the story of our sin and the loving Savior who died to take away the punishment. 
As we wrapped up the hour, threw our materials in our bags an ran out to the car to head to the next location, for which we were already late, a little boy ran after me and tugged my shirt sleeve in the way kids do. 
"Hey, can I talk to you about the story you told today?" The double and triple takes started. My head swiveled from his little sweet face to the car my team was already packing into, and back, and forth, and back. I yelled to the team leader not to leave me. 
We went back inside and asked him hat he wanted to talk to me about. He said he "wanted to get the sin out of his heart." While I may have spoken words to the children's ears that day, God had used to me to speak words to this child's heart. That day he prayed to God, asked him to forgive his sins and make him a forever child of God. He was so excited, but he wasn't the only one. We went to the team leader and told him, and the head of the foundation working in the community center even came out to see what was up. We all celebrated with Daryll (the little boy) on his new life. I left him with a devotional book as a gift, got in the car, and haven't seen him again to this day. 
But that was not the last that I would hear of him. The following fall, I was taking a training class on Saturdays, being taught by two staff members, including my team leader from that week. One morning he came in and told us a story he had heard from a partner of ours. Over the summer a little boy had been led to the saving knowledge of Christ. His life changed. Over the course of the rest of the summer, that little by led 14 other children to the Lord as well. Of course, as any true child evangelist would, I listened to the story in rapture and amazement at what God had done. It was only when the leader shared the child's name at the very end of the story did the waterworks start; it was Daryll. Not only had God worked this incredible miracle, but he had used me to do it.
This little boy is why, despite opposition and hardship, I still do what I do today. God has blessed me far beyond what I ever expected to come out of this job. Never would I have imagined that I would also become a minister to youth. I didn't really like teenagers when I was one. They were emotionally messy, complicated, and in my experience, mean. But these last two summers, I have come to cherish the teens who, despite having started as my coworkers, have now become a new responsibility God has entrusted to me. And despite the drama of the job, I wouldn't trade for the world the job of encouraging youth to pursue the work God has set before them. 
Mark Twain was wise in his statement about the two most important days of one's life. I just hope that, because of the rode those two days have set for me, my future continues to look a lot like my past. 

1 comment:

  1. Love this Savy. God is going to do great things through you. It has been awesome to see how God has grown and made you who you are today. Praise Him!