November 7. Today I am 30 days out from turning 50. That is, if The Lord allows me to live until then. Or if He does not return before that day.
It is with a deep feeling of gratitude and a keen awareness of God’s goodness that I reflect on my days as a “youth” at Central Baptist church. Besides what I have already shared … that two other girls had scoliosis and wore a back brace and that my BF was wonderful … I also was a part of an amazing group of students and youth leaders. From SS school teachers to summer youth pastors, God continually brought people into my life who helped shape and mold me into His likeness. Even this morning as I was rehearsing my blessings, I could hardly imagine anyone being more inundated with godly people in their life than I have been. As I often say, I really was born with a “spiritual silver spoon in my life.” If anyone is without excuse for knowing and loving God, it would be me.
My 9th grade Sunday School teacher was Mrs. Mary Frances Meek. I owe my mom a debt of gratitude for praying another woman into my life and allowing me to love her. My wise mom knew I needed another “mom” to listen and advise. Someone not so close … not family. And that is exactly what Mrs. Meek was for me. She called me every Saturday night to say she would see me on Sunday. And she did that even though I was the PK, knowing I would most likely be there. That meant so much to me. She taught us girls the bible each week and she smiled the sweetest most genuine smile while she did. Beautiful inside and out, she loved us all. I sat with her in church sometimes and enjoyed visiting with her in her home too. And I still have a big box of cards she sent me through the years. What a blessing to have this kind of godly influence in important years.
At CBC we often had summer youth pastors. One summer, God orchestrated that a college aged guy named David McKelvey would lead our youth. There is no way in a post I could share all the ways he influenced me to love Jesus more. But the biggest way was this: he clearly loved Him himself. It was evident in his daily life. My friend Linda and I would hang out at the church and bug him. He wasn’t afraid to tell me when I wasn’t acting like Jesus. He was a great team player on the church staff. He was a learner and a leader. He was patient and yet pushed us to grow.
That’s the best kind of example to have when you are a teen.
We had other youth pastors who were very influential in my life and continued to lead me to gospel-centered thinking and living. And there were also many adults who went to youth camps and spent time with us. Special Sundays called Youth Sunday were dedicated to the students filling all the positions in the church: they taught adult SS classes, led the music, ushered, and even took the staff roles. Youth camps, revivals and retreats … all were of great importance to me. Those who invested in me were not only making an investment in me, but in the people they will never meet – those whose lives mine touch. I could use an entire blog post on each person who has impacted me, and I wish I was able to do that. Before I move into my college years, I do want to zoom in on two other very important parts of my high school years: our youth ensemble and youth camps. (Blog post to come).
“Everything we do matters. To everyone. Forever.” (Andy Andrews)
Thank You, LORD, for a wonderful life. And for each person who has touched mine.