It was a Friday.
I walked into The Porch for the hundredth time and started getting snacks ready for the kids that were about to come running in.
I was alone.
Adam had to pick up Riley from school and the other volunteers had just cancelled.
I methodically placed chips and drinks on the shelf while I said to myself.
I’m just done.
Why am I still alone after 8 years?
Why are we not even close to being fully supported financially?
Why am I doing everything…and many other whiny but actually quite legitimate questions.
I literally thought to myself, and possibly muttered under my breath.
It has been 8 years.
We gave it a good run. We don’t even have a place to meet anymore in the fall, and it’s time to just move on.
The interested part about where I was feeling that day just a couple of weeks ago, is that the ministry part of The Porch is totally my jam. It’s my call and I love it.
I love the kids. I love the hugs, and the conversations and the texts and the tears and just plain all of it.
I love the teenagers like they are family and I really, honestly mean that.
I don’t think it’s an accident that I had been studying the book of Exodus for the weeks before this whole thing went down.
The children of Israel, remember them?
The people who were being abused, overworked and underpaid in Egypt for years?
Moses led them out of the bondage of Egypt and they started wandering through the desert.
As soon as they realized they were plumb out of water, they started complaining.
And it wasn’t just a simple, “dang. I’m thirsty!” It was more than that.
It was this:
Children of Israel: Hey Moses, remember when we were back in Egypt and we asked you to just leave us alone?
Moses: Um. No. NO, I don’t remember that.
Children of Israel: Remember? Remember that we said we would rather just stay and serve the Egyptians?
Moses: I got nothing.
Children of Israel: Well, We’d rather be there in Egypt then DYING in the desert!
Moses: Would you now? Would you? You guys are thirsty. Not dying. You’re overreacting.
And we know that a little overreacting goes a long way.
And that is where God spoke to me loud and clear.
This was me:
Me: God, remember when we saw all those teenagers walking around town and I said, I don’t want to get to know them and try to love on them?
God: Um. No. No, I don’t remember that.
Me: Remember when I said I would rather just stay back where I was minding my own business?
God: I got nothing.
Me: Well, I’d rather be there, just relaxing and enjoying life than here being ALL ALONE with no one to help me and no money in sight.
God: Would you now? Would you? You are tired. You have everything you need. And you are not alone. You are overreacting.
And there it was. In plain sight.
I was overreacting.
I was looking at how things used to be, and imagining that it would have been great if I had not stepped out in faith to do what God clearly led me to do.
See, the grass always looks greener in last year’s yard.
The longer life goes by, the more wonderful the past seems.
The children of Israel’s life in Egypt? Not wonderful!
But compared to what they didn’t like now? It seemed wonderful.
And that is what we do.
We look back on the past, and how much easier it was then, and how horrible it is now.
The funny part, is that next year? We will probably be looking back at this time and saying how great it was!
I know I am not alone.
I know that I have everything I need.
I know that God called me to serve in this ministry.
I know that there are so few people who are reaching out to teenagers with the love of Jesus and I want to be one of the ones who is!
Being a teenager is hard.
So, so hard.
And feeling alone as a teenager? Is even worse.
The only hope is in Jesus. And if I have the answer through Jesus to life’s problems of sadness, anxiety, discouragement, hopelessness, and fear? Then I had better be willing to share it with everyone I can.
Where are you at right now?
Where are my fellow ministry leaders?
It’s hard. I get it.
You feel alone.
You feel tired.
You feel overwhelmed.
And you feel like you’re not making a difference.
And then when you throw in fellow-christians who discourage you and let you down, you feel like there is no use continuing.
Those are lies from the enemy.
Do not let our thoughts of how great the past was, or our fear of how horrible the future seems keep us from serving the people who are standing, and sometimes dropping right in front of us.
Keep your focus on Jesus.
If He is the one who called you, then He is the one who is going to empower you.
But you have to depend on him.
A couple weeks ago, I was ready to quit. I was ready to go and sit in my little mud puddle with my little wicked and deceitful heart.
But that was not what God wanted.
God placed it on the heart of a friend to donate a large amount of money to The Porch.
He allowed a couple different teenagers from town to text me words of encouragement and He reminded me that He’s got this.
I was overreacting. And a little overreacting can go a long way.
It can have you envisioning the wonderful, beautiful, peaceful times of cruel, harsh bondage!
Our feelings can get us in trouble if we let them sit in our thoughts for too long.
Don’t let those feeling sit there.
Wipe your tears.
Look up to Jesus.
And keep moving.
You’re gonna be ok.