Thursday, February 18, 2010

building an altar.

Last night was our second-to-last night teaching the middle schoolers at our church.

They’re a unique — sometimes tough — group of kids to teach, and to be honest, I thought I was going to be so ready to move on to the older, more mature (hah!) high schoolers.

Instead, I’m dreading saying goodbye to these kids. They’ve grown so much in the past few months, and I hate that I might not get to be a part of that growth anymore. Because last night was one of those nights when I realize what God has been doing, and it’s beautiful.

In class, we’ve been reading the story Hinds' Feet on High Places, and yesterday, these kids — mostly boys — listened as Much-Afraid had to take one final leap into the Canyon of Full Surrender. We read as Much-Afraid reached the bottom and created an altar before God, ready to completely lay down her burdens before reaching the High Places God had called her to.

And guess what?

Our kids got it. (That’s how I feel about them now: our kids.)

These kids completely understood what Much Afraid had been through, and they talked with us about surrendering, about giving up and letting go (a perfect lesson to coincide with Ash Wednesday).

With just a few minutes remaining in class, I stood up to pass out rocks to each student. On the rocks, they were to write down one or two words describing what they felt like they needed to give up, what they needed to place on an “altar” before God.

You should have heard what they came up with.



“Sure things.”



After they finished their rocks, we took them to a corner of the room, and we all piled our rocks their together. We knelt beside our altar, held hands, and prayed.

Each child prayed his or her own prayer, outloud, asking God to help them with letting go.

“Lord, help me to let go of the friends who are holding me back.”

“Lord, help me not to worry so much about my grades.”

“Lord, help me to not be so disobedient.”

“Help me to let go of the ‘sure things’ and let you take control.”

These are middle schoolers!

Their prayers were so sincere; they brought tears to my eyes.

In that moment, I saw the beauty God has been creating in that class.

Not every Wednesday is beautiful. Sometimes, it gets downright ugly.

But I realized, in all of these weeks, in all of these ups and downs, they have been teaching me.

And so I laid my rock right down beside theirs. Control. That's what my rock said.

And I prayed with them. Because we're all in this together.

It's true: These kids can be pills. They can be — unintentionally, I think — disrespectful and loud. Some nights they are literally bouncing off the walls. They are overly critical of each other and talk over one another.

But God is molding them. Just like He is constantly molding us.

1 comment:

jenna said...

This just brought tears to my eyes.. It really is so beautiful. I finished teaching a short series to my Jr Highers last night, and I kinda felt the same way. It is challenging.. but oh so rewarding. :)