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Archive for October, 2006

Rivalry?

Anna: Hey, Sissy!

Sarah: What?

Anna: I wasn’t talking to you.

Sarah: But I heard you say, “Hey, Sissy!”

Anna: I know. I was talking to Naiah.

Sarah: Gah!

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Overzealous

I handed Naiah (16 months) a piece of ice.

“Quesadilla!” she said.

Impressive, but no.

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The Weekend that Wasn’t

The Plan

At the second Girls Only night, the teenagers were begging me for a sleepover. I agreed to it, with no idea how it would work out. (Our youth group basically consists of bullies and outcasts, and they don’t tend to get along very well.) We planned to do it at the end of October, which gave me two months to plan.

An old friend from the Ojai church contacted me. She said two of the Ojai teens wanted to do a missions trip in-state. She asked if there was anything they could do for us. At first, I couldn’t think of anything specific. Then God said, “Duh, sleepover!” (I don’t think God really says ‘duh,’ but it felt that way.)

The Ojai girls were stoked. They could be themselves, love on our girls, and show them what a Jesus-following teenager looks and acts like. I gave them a list of the tough questions that the local girls keep asking and implying, plus a list of situations to prepare for (i.e. What will you do if someone insults you? If a fight breaks out? etc.)

They worked with one of the Ojai youth leaders, who was coming with them, preparing and praying and planning and praying some more. Together, they came up with wonderful ideas for how to serve and demonstrate Christ to the girls. Foot washing and pedicures, make-up sessions, hair styling, group games, waiting tables. . .

By the time they got to our house Thursday night (after driving all day), all we had to do was lay out a flexible schedule and pray like heck.

The Sleepover

At 5 p.m., one hour before starting time, girls started showing up. They were SO intrigued with the Ojai teens. They began to argue over which one would sit with them at dinner, or sleep next to them at night.

We seated them at festive tables, set by the Ojai team, and served them dinner and soda. We played games. We sang. We made brownies and painted toenails. The four girls from Ojai didn’t waste a second of one-on-one time, were brave and effective in panel time, and answered some very scary questions about sex, rape, and dating. In short, they did what they came to do.

The local girls were so overwhelmed by how loved and special they felt, they didn’t know what to do. Consequently, these are the things that, by the grace of God, did NOT happen at the sleepover:

Fist fights
Stealing
Destruction of property
Bullying
Exclusion
Disappearing
Inappropriate touching

Instead, we had a different group entirely. Girls who usually threaten each other and gang up on each other in the alleys were talking and laughing together. They momentarily forgot past grievances and played together. They rallied around the Ojai girls as if they suddenly had everything in common. It was miraculous.

Saturday Night

Hot Topic, the youth service, started four hours after the sleepover dispersed. Rather than preach, Jason continued the thread started by the Ojai team, and told the story of how God transformed his family and himself. I have never seen those kids sit so quietly for so long.

At home, we met with the Ojai team until 3 a.m., discussing what God had made of their visit, praying, and laughing.

Sunday

Around 9 a.m., they left for Ojai. Some of the local teens came to see them off. They cried over being left behind. One of them tried to steal a pair of shoes that had been left, so that the Ojai girls would have to come back to her to get them.

Church that morning was more stressful than usual, for lack of sleep, huge numbers of kids, messes, and missing Jenn (Pastor Jason’s wife).

Afterward, we had more than our usual horde of kids over for lunch. While I was making the biscuits and sausage gravy, one of the sleepover girls (12 years old) pinned down a boy her age, with help from another girl, and ‘accidentally’ groped him. He was not amused. So after lunch, Jason spent the entire afternoon working as a mediator between the kids and the parents, and brokering peace.

It was a rough blow for us, and especially for her, to send her home. She’s one of the most broken kids we have.

Later that evening, kids started showing up at our house again, waiting for the Singspiration to start. We were hosting it at our church, for the evangelical congregations in two neighboring towns. We headed over to the church just before six, and every one of the youth and kids turned out. I’ve never seen kids so excited about a bunch of worship bands and hymns. They had never heard of such a thing. They picked the music for our band to play, and took over the first three rows.

Afterward, I was serving brownies and helping out with refreshments, when one of my neighbors came up to me. She had a few choice words to say about how ‘lenient’ I am on the youth, and how she plans to start coming to all of our meetings to “whip them into shape.” And, just to demonstrate, she openly yelled at one of the teenage girls next to me for interrupting her. Fun stuff.

So I cleaned the church kitchen and went home and called my mommy. And as I reviewed the entire weekend with her, and remembered how much huger all the blessings God poured out on these past few days were than the little bumps in the road from Sunday, I got over myself. We had a miraculous weekend. Exhausting, painful, fun, confusing, scary, encouraging, dangerous, and miraculous. God never makes it boring.

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Sabbath

This is my front door, today.

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Get it Right, Mom

Naiah is 16 months old now.

Me: Hello, little miss.

Naiah: I’m Yaiah.

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Dinner Trouble

Jason: Food, meet Sarah’s mouth.

Sarah’s Food: Nice to meet you.

Munch!

Anna: Hand, meet Sarah’s mouth.

Anna’s Hand: Nice to meet you.

Whap!

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A few weeks ago, Jonah was pretending to be my husband in the church nursery. His portrayal of Jason seemed a little misogynous to me, so out of respect for Jason, I didn’t post it. It went something like this:

Jonah: I’m going to work, now, Becky. I need food for work. Make me some food!

And later. . .

Jonah: I want cookies. Becky, make me cookies!

I was a little puzzled as to where he got that idea.

Then I got a phone call this afternoon. It was Jason, calling from work.

Jason: When I get home, can you make me some cookies? I really want some cookies.

Me: You called me from work to ask for cookies?

That explains a lot.

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