Then I Read the Letters

At church this morning, one of the teenagers came up to me and said, "Deidra, this is from the youth group," as he handed me a gift bag.

I wasn't really sure what it was, because I haven't done anything with or for the youth group.

I opened it, and realized that this was a "do this at home because you're gonna cry" gift. 

The youth group kids had written me letters.

I have been really open about this - church is often a struggle for us.  We don't go to a really loud church, so when Colin gets loud, we stand out.  Church isn't really a place that you want to stand out.  You want to go, sit quietly, listen, and leave.  Well, sometimes we do a lot of running.  Sometimes we jump off the alter.  Sometimes we try to play the piano. Sometimes we try to get into the waters of baptism because, "Look, how cool?! They've filled a bathtub for me to swim in!" Sometimes we run down the aisles yelling, "Help me!" (That last one definitely happened today because my husband and I had him was kinda funny.)

Honestly, I *almost* didn't go this morning.  The last few weeks, we have had to leave early because it was just too much. I thought, "Maybe we should just stay home."  But we didn't, we went.  Something was telling me that we needed to go.  But as usual, when Satan tries to stop me from going, I go and get a big blessing - like these lovely, encouraging letters from the youth group.

To the youth leaders who instigated this - and the youth who wrote me letters - you don't know how much this meant to me.  In our world, sometimes it feels like we stand out a little too much, we create an unwanted scene...other times you wonder if you're invisible because no one can really understand it.

To me, this is what inclusion and acceptance looks like:

Acknowledging someone's differences and loving them because of it and not despite those differences. 

Knowing that, just because someone doesn't fit the mold, doesn't mean they are less than or unworthy.

Understanding that every unique individual is God's creation and welcoming them just as they are.

Because isn't that what church is all about anyway?  Knowing that we all come, broken and undeserving, yet God loves us anyway?  Jesus didn't just love the people like Him - He went out of his way to be with the people who were looked down upon in His time.

I am so thankful for a church family that sees the wonderful, silly, sweet, always-free-to-be-himself little boy that I know and love...and chase all over the church building every Sunday morning.

Youth Leaders and Youth parents - you should all be very proud of your kids.  You're doing a great job raising some really awesome human beings.

Youth Group - thank you for being The Light for me this morning. 


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