A young lady I know posted a statement on her Facebook tonight that did me a world of good. She was referring to the fun that some of the kids in our Youth Group had hanging out at our house tonight after their weekly Bible Study and she said she loved hanging out at "our" house.
I have talked about our new home in previous blog posts. I love it! It's old and has it's quirks but I knew from the first time that we walked through it that this house was meant to be ours. I know from conversations with family members that I'm not the only one who feels that way. No, it's not in the nicest neighborhood. Then again, I'm not sure we're an "upscale, posh" neighborhood kind of family.
Hubby took his first youth ministry in January 1993 and from that point on one or both of us have been employed in a field that put us in contact with teenagers. As our own kids grew into their teenage years, that just meant a wider pool of teenagers for us to get to know. Because of the jobs hubby and I held and our own kids, our homes have known a fairly steady stream of teens. This new house seems to attract them in even larger numbers with more regular consistency than our previous home. My hope has been that it would be a place that kids felt safe to be themselves. I wanted them to feel welcome to forage for snacks, pop a DVD in, find a television show, whatever!
After reading the statement I mentioned at the beginning of this post, my first thought was 'my job is done here.' And I told her that! I was reminded of two very important "quotes" that I hold near and dear to my heart. The first comes from the pen of Forest Witcraft - "A hundred years from now, it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much money I had in the bank...but the world may be a better place because I made a difference in the life of a child."
The other important truth comes from scripture. In Mark 9:36 & 37 we read, "He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.” Granted, teenagers are not "little children" but I'm sure that the principle still applies. So I'll deal with the extra dirty dishes and the food vanishing a little faster than I expect. If it makes one teen who is not biologically mine feel safe in my home then I'm happy!