Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Monday Fun-day! Illumination!

It seems like the last two days have flown by. I know for sure as I crawled out of that building last night the last two days had taken their toll on me. What building and what went on that had me so exhausted? Good question. Sunday I was used to teach our small church family about the idea of isolation within the context of us going through spiritual lows. I wrote a blog about it also called Isolation is behind the tree. I spent the previous two weeks preparing for this message and at 1am on Sunday morning I was up talking to a friend and God revealed to me a totally new idea. I did not resist the change and went home and threw away all the messages I had prepared on this within the last two weeks. It was so clear what God had to say at that moment. I stayed up until 3:30am finishing it all up. I literally felt like I was pouring myself out as I was teaching. I was exhausted after it. The whole night from the teaching, to the worship music was awesome. My highlight was seeing Bethany stroll in with a couple girls from the local shelter that we volunteer at. She told me a story of how one of the girls looked at her and said that she needed to be there that night. Amazing!!! We stayed up pretty late celebrating all God had done that night. After riding my bike around the city with a friend we rode all the way up to another side of town to visit other friends. As I was preparing to leave I looked at a shelf on the bookshelf and everything was moving. I was so tired my eyes were playing tricks on me. The next day (Monday) was the climax of my exhaustion and being able to see God’s hand moving.

We’ve been planning this summer program, we have coined as Monday Fun-day!, and all the specifics for it for several months now. Last night it finally came, the opening night of Monday Fun-day! The girls wash feet, do pedicures and manicures, and just talk girl talk with the ladies at the shelter every Monday night, Ladies Night for them. During the school year the children have a program, but in the summer they typically go to child care. We were moved to step in and offer a hybrid mentoring program for the children, ages 5 and up for the 14 weeks of the summer. All the anticipation and planning accumulated last night and I stood speechless as the first mother brought her child in. What in the world had I gotten myself into? There is no turning back now! It’s is awesomely frightening to think God would use me and others to be in this shelter, especially working with the kids.

The night started a little slow, the energy was low, but before I could even think it picked up and we found ourselves with a room full of children from broken circumstances, children that often get looked over, children that most only see as a statistic, children God has broken my heart for. We had them decorate some picture frames we had with paint, we had an x-box and Nintendo Wii set up with racing and sports games, and a very popular ice cream station. A friend who is a very talented photographer came and took cool candid shots of each child that we will put in the frames they decorated and deliver to each mom/guardian. The ladies are either homeless or fleeing an abuser so most come to the shelter with nothing, including family photos. I had 9 volunteers show up to help be the love of Christ in this shelter! I delegated each volunteer to a task or station and watched what I think is a glimpse into what God intended when He breathed His love into us. A couple moments stick out in my mind from last night. A little girl came in crying and begging her mom to not make her go (to Monday Fun-day!), when I saw this I had no idea what to do, I don’t know what to do with grown women when they cry, much less a little girl. I asked one of the volunteers to help her and without hesitation she walks up to the girl and says, “What’s your name, do you like to paint?” The tears dried and that sad face turned into one of the brightest and most joyful by the end of the night. Another time we were all outside running around the play ground and I don’t know who started it, but one of the kids got on one of our backs. This started a mad dash to the closest volunteer and we all quickly found ourselves with a minimum of 3 kids hanging off of us, all just screaming laughing. After the group was over I talked to one of the girls that helps with Ladies Night and she said how cool it was to hear the mom’s talk about watching us with the kids.

It is funny to me how God can use a bunch of messed up adults to do things, like play tag, push a child in a swing, serve them ice cream, or do an art project with them, to bring His love into a place that can be seen as one of the darkest places in one’s life. Many see a homeless shelter or a domestic abuse shelter, many see kids that will just be a number, many people see a big problem, but I saw nothing but what I can only imagine the kingdom of Heaven will look like. I don’t know if the children got more out of it or me, but I know that God moved in a huge way last night! I can only imagine that God saw a huge light shining from that place last night, I’d image it was illuminating the heavenly realms and tightening His grasp on this city!

This has the power to change things, change people, reveal Christ, and make a grown man cry, as I did writing this. I pray you feel this at some point in your life, please pray for us as we follow God into what He is doing here!

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