Friday, July 23, 2010

Have you ever danced in the rain?

I have.

More so since becoming a mother, but the following is when it all started...

Years ago, I was blessed with the responsibility of directing the youth ministries of my home church. It was a job that I fought tooth and nail against, hoping to remain in the safe cocoon of support ministries and not the actual, ahem, "leader"! But alas, God won, and there I was staring down the barrel of activities galore with oodles of youth ages 12 and up. I remember our very first meeting when there were probably fifteen children in attendance and I swear that evening I actually heard the crickets chirp as I giddily tried to enthuse those 15 warm bodies that sat staring and waiting for my grand plan. Blink...blink...blink...chirp!

Being young helped. My zest for life helped. My faith and perserverance helped. But, I think what really drew kids in was my total and complete committment to whatever interested them. I was there. I made my way to football games, swim meets, dance recitals, marathons, spelling bees, you name it, I was there. Over the fence, in the bleachers, in the audience, I was there. I prayed for these kids encouraged them, and before long fifteen kids would turn into 150. I wanted them to know that God loved them so much, that He would send a servant to be there for them, no matter what. I wanted them to know that it was all about Him and had absolutely NOTHING to do with us. I wanted their first response when a team member was injured to kneel and pray...I wanted their sportsmanship to be apparent regardless of the situation, I wanted their parents to know, they were not in this alone, that together, we would raise these children up as God had intended.

I was not a parent. I was young and sadly enough, newly single as a troubled marriage unwound. This ministry became glue that would hold me together as I weathered personal storms that could have broken my spirit. God knew. He knew what I would need just as much as He knew what the children would need, and so we had FUN! Lots of it, camps, zip lines, ski trips, low ropes, high ropes, devotionals, fellowship, progressive dinners, rafting, retreats and every now and again the joyful, undignified dance in the rain...the list is long and beautifully filled with memories that prayerfully remain not only with me but with each child I was blessed to know.

I was an advocate for youth, insisting on youth services (led and designed by the youth groups) and all of those children attended church on Sunday morning, marching in usually a tad bit late, but nonetheless sitting in the sanctuary, listening to sermons we would discuss later, and taking notes on scripture that I prayed would become indispensible to everyday of their lives. It was during one such Sunday, that I was scheduled to give the message and I asked them all "to dance". The Leanne Womack phenomenon was in full swing and "I Hope You Dance" was on every station from here to California. Certain words to the song resonated deep within my heart to reveal truth that God wants us to live boldly in Him, to experience life in it's fullness, and to never take for granted the gift He gave. In many ways, my role with those youth has helped prepare me for motherhood.

So, it stands to reason as stormy skies swept in this week, I did not hesitate as my own girls approached me and asked excitedly..."Can we dance in the rain?"

Of course...only if Mommy can come with you :)

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13


Sharon Sloan - Joy In The Truth said...

Love the pix! Nothing like splashing in puddles as the rain softly falls. :)

Sounds like you absolutely were the perfect person for the job directing the youth! God chose the right servant. :) And He was faithful to provide the "glue" for you, too. I love that.

I am kind of hoping it rains now today. :)


day by day said...

YOU, my friend, are a beautiful soul...simply beautiful!! Love this post!

I think that you have inspired me to take my girls out the next time it rains : )

love you!

Kate Fleming said...

Heather- I love this post. So beautiful those memories are. I am glad I was lucky enough to be a part of them at some points. Love you very much! I have ALWAYS loved dancing in the rain!

Love you!

Toia said...

Love it!!! Such an inspiring and encouraging the pics!!!

MacMui Mom said...

Nothing like dancing in the rain! I think will grab my little princess and splash around the next time it rains. I forgot how fun it can be. Thanks for bringing back wonderful memories and reminding me to make new ones.

Lisa R

Don and Lisa Osborn said...

I remember the first time I ever let Lindy dance in the rain. It was so liberating. I was with her. There are moments when we need to put the practical, logical, rational aside and just have fun.

I don't plan on having a food fight at lunch, though.

I love you~

The Byrd's Nest said...

Oh I love your heart my friend...I just LOVE you to pieces!

Warren Baldwin said...

Hello, I am one of your fellow writers visiting from Titus 2.

This is a great post. I like how the responsibility of leading the children's ministry became such a blessing for you. I am also amazed at how you grew it from 15 to 150! Maybe you could do a blog post or two on how you did that! My wife and I lead our teen ministry (not the education part, but the activity and devotional part) and we could sure use some tips on growing the group, spiritually enriching activities, etc.

Also great how you turned LeAnne's song into an actual life experience with your own girls.

Good reading! wb


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