Thoughts About Schtuff

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Roots

I love Roots. For those of you who don't know, Roots is the senior high youth ministry at Rexdale Alliance Church, that I've had the priviledge of serving in for the past eight months or so. When I initially decided to become involved with this ministry, I assumed I would be ministering to a small group of older girls whose issues/challenges would be exactly like the ones that I faced when I was their age (i.e.: choices about drinking, boys/relationships, etc.), but when I learned that I had been given a small group of grade 9 girls, I was shocked, and wondered if this ministry was something that God actually wanted me to be a part of. As I begun to get acquainted with the girls, I begun to observe how hugely different they were from one another, and from me - and I begun to feel so afraid an inadequate; I was worried that I would never be capable of developing deep and meaningful relationships with them, and consequently never be able to minister to them in the ways that they would require.

When February and March rolled around, youth pastor Steevens put forth the general question of the current leaders considering another year-long commitment to Roots, this question sat constantly in the back of my mind, and as I considered it, God in His grace showed me that:

Real relationships with people do not just appear. Developing relationships with people, particularly those whom God's entrusted you to care for in ministry, takes intentional time, effort, commitment, a willingness to endure fruitless times/lack of intimacy in relationships and the feelings that come as a result of those ambiguous times, and time to allow your love for those people to really grow. For some reason, I expected that love for and intimacy with the beautiful girls in my small group would just BE there - I don't know why, but God so graciously showed me that authentic relational development is a long, layered, and challenging process - a process that I cannot simply expect to see results from within the time-span of one year. Though I was initially disillusioned, God has allowed me to learn that because my placement in His ministry at Roots wasn't what I expected, it is and will be SO much better than what I could possibly anticipate!

For example, I had originally expected to work with an older group of girls who were dealing with issues that were easy for me to recognize and identify with. But, now when I think of it, if I had been given a group of older girls, I would have had only one year with them, and would have not been able to develop long-term, deeply-rooted friendships with them. God, in His goodness, gave me a group of younger girls with whom I could potentially have THREE more incredible years of relationship building with (they are currently in grade 9 - Roots goes up to grade 12)! Oh man! When I think of what could happen between them and I in those three years ... just the depth of friendship and knowledge that I could possibly have about their lives ... it thrills me and fills my heart with joy! What I originally was somewhat disillusioned by, God has so graciously shown me is actually an incredibly beautiful blessing! I am so, like, beyond thankful for this ministry - being there, serving Dinah, Katie, Nadja, Samantha, Natalia, and Dorcas has been, is, and will continue to be a priviledge so great that I'm not sure how to describe it!

SO - with the possibility of being in a position to grow in my friendships with and love for these amazing young ladies over the next three years, I've committed to Roots for next year with readiness, excitement, and passion. I cannot wait to see where God is going to take the lives of these girls, and where He will take my life as a result of them. And what I love so much is that once that commitment for another year was made between God and I, it was like He just gave me a bit of His heart for the girls that He's given me ... whenever I think of them, my heart just FILLS! I'm not sure with what, but committing to God and them has freed me to LOVE them more. And I am SO excited about this.

God is SO good!

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