A few weeks ago, Mark the Youth Director asked us each to share why we were present at the meeting, committing to a year of youth-filled Sunday nights. He shared about the amazing summer he’d just wrapped up and we each took turns trying to explain why we’d spend a few hours each week with the kids. I had trouble putting my finger on it – my generalization was when they had one of those aha! moments. I do love that moment.

But this Saturday took the cake. Well, cupcakes, to be more specific. One of the kids from my youth directing days pledged his love and commitment to a beautiful young lady, and I was privileged to be a witness. I watched as he couldn’t stop giving her kisses (I’m pretty sure he paid people to clink their glasses). I heard the speeches as Casey’s family said all the wonderful things about him and praised the man that he has become.

I put on my big girl pants and didn’t cry. Out of sheer joy. For him.

Over the past few years, communication dwindled with Scott, like so many others that I thought about and prayed for for so long. Messages in passing, prayers when I remembered his trips and lots of asking his dad about how things were going. So when the invitation arrived I nearly piddled on the floor with glee.

Oh, what an evening. The beauty of love realized and Christ celebrated. It was enchanting. To top it off, we were seated with another wonderful family of which I have fond memories, and I had the opportunity to chat it up with several other kids-who-are-no-longer-kids. Extrovert hangover, for sure.

But back to the beauty. I took it upon myself to steal Scott away for a few, just to tell him how thrilled I was for his joyous day and to offer best wishes on his marriage. And I did make sure to ask (albeit, 5 hours too late if his response was negative) if the lucky lady *knew* what a wonderful guy she had in him. I think she does.

Scott tried to tell me “thanks” for “all you’ve done for me.” And the compliment was appreciated, but completely backward. Sure, I put in a few hours planning bible studies and events that had a goal of helping him grow in his relationship with Christ. Maybe it did, but only God really knows. And as it says, I’m just watering the garden, I can’t cause anything to grow anyway.

But as I was watering a seed that was planted & tended long before me (by a whole family, really), I was standing in pouring down rain. I was soaked to the bone with blessings to just have had the experience of walking through life with Scott, and with so many of the other kids. Even if at an arms length away.

It sounds cliche, I know. I wish I could draw it as a picture or explain it with better words. While helping these kids was nice, what really makes my eyes well up and my heart skip a beat is seeing them so insanely content. Exploding with love. Ready to take on new challenges. Loving others. Seeking God. There’s no other word I can use to explain it except beautiful.

I don’t say that with an air of wearing a sticker that says “I helped make that” (I’ve read the studies and I’m cool with it). If I were to pick a sticker that most describes my feelings, it would say, “Wow. What a privilege that God has let me know this kid and watch him grow into so much. How was I so lucky to get to know him along the way? My life is much more rich with this relationship.”

Mark’s question was difficult because it was backward. I feel like the peasant coming up to the offering with all I have, but in comparison to the blessings, it really is only petty cash. Whatever I can offer any student really doesn’t come close when put into the light of the blessing of relationships. To have one, with any kid, is worth far more.

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