I don’t know how else to say it. I don’t think I have ever written anything like this, but it is on my heart and it needs to come out.
The youth of the nation are finally starting to see Jesus face to face. Seeking Him, following Him and leading others TO HIM!
A couple years ago, the Father called Darlene and I out of our comfortable church. The church where God put us when we both came back to the Lord after a long hiatus. There have been many storms since then. My battle with drinking, both of ours with pornography, struggling with secular music. Also, our storm with when God called us into the ministry; Mine was 20 years before, Darlene was called a few years ago…
We had the bookstore/ministry for a few years, our Bible studies and occasional speaking at our church…
So, here we are, at a small church in Minerva. God said GO! Go away from your comfortable surroundings… GO from where I called you to… GO!!
There’s been a lot of that.
So, we get to Minerva wondering WHY? Why, God have you called us here? These people think we have an agenda, some of them don’t trust us… WHY?
So we rest. We watch.
And then, the direction. God said, you’ll help with the youth.
What?! I specifically told Him NO!! Don’t make me work with kids again!!
I can’t do it!
God said “GO!! Let Go! Let ME!”
So, we start out with helping out.. showing up every Wednesday.. playing the games, then planning the games, then giving messages and then…
Our co-leader went home to the Father…
And here we are. We are up to our eyeballs now… fully committed to this group of teenagers…. “ALL IN” if you will.
No turning back. We listened, we learned… and then it begins… the youth, the older ones start showing the spirit working in their lives… we start a leader corps with the teenagers showing the most fruit.
They are on FIRE!! They are all in… we take them on a couple missions trips, we start gearing them up for the enemy, they start taking on more responsibility..
We keep our cell phones on for late night talks… we pray daily for their spiritual well being… we have long talks… leading, guiding… the younger ones aren’t getting it yet, but these guys are!! These FIVE teenage girls are GETTING IT!! Then we see OTHERS… GETTING IT!!!
And then….. CRASH!! The enemy got his foot in the door…
One falls… then the next, then the next..
Oh, they all still believe.. but now they are questioning.. they fall away from the word that gave them life..
They stop wanting to be at youth.. they still come, but something is wrong.. seriously wrong. My heart breaks. I am crying tears of fear, not tears of joy.. what happened?
Our hearts are breaking… what did we do wrong? What did we say? How do we get them back into what God had specifically called them to do???
They don’t answer back our texts.. we don’t hear from them…
Why? How? When?
We got all in… now we are drowning!! We are drowning and the ones showing fruit are now drying up…
We spent all that time.. all that energy and then they just give up????
Then God whispered…. “was it you? or was it me?”
Wow, I had never thought of it before… sure, I pray over the music, my messages.. but was it all us? Did we really rely on God?
In John 15:1-7, Jesus said,
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
Darlene and I had not given EVERYTHING fully to the Father! We made the plans.. noone shows up… We invite servants to serve, but without praying over the increase!!!
We had not fully surrendered “Rooted Students” to God, the Father of all creation… we felt we could do it alone.. after all, must has been in trusted to us.. we can’t fail now. We have so many lives in our hands.. we have to teach them the right way…
US??? OR HIM?
My heart still breaks. We love these kids with all our hearts and souls… even to the point of laying down our lives for them. We keep pressing on to the higher calling… but THIS YEAR… this minute, this SECOND….
We fully surrender to YOU, Father. Take care of our teenagers… enable us to be efficient tools, worked by YOUR HAND. And help us to trust in YOU!
So, we pray without ceasing, give all of our fruits to HIM.. trust HIM with all we have and with the hearts of these young ones… and pray that they keep the faith and not lose ground…
New International Version (NIV)
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”