I started serving at my church as a way to spend extra time with my daughters...my beautiful daughters were still at the conservative church with their dad (another story for another time) and I wanted to show them a new way to worship God. So they came to youth group and I "attended" with them helping out where the youth group needed help.
Eight years later I find myself still hanging out in the youth room, loving on kids that I may not have raised but consider to be my own, and learning that even while I serve God I find myself constantly "filled" up because those teens show me every day God is with me and walking me through everything.
Not only is it amazing to watch these teens grow up, leave youth, go to college, get their first job, get married, having babies...some I don't ever see again (but I'm thankful for Facebook to keep tabs on them), but I love watching them grow into amazing adults. Some may not truly find God during their time with youth, but I know the late night talks, hanging out and words of "wisdom" stick with them and eventually they either make their way back to God (the same way I did) or for the first time turn to God.
I could not be more proud of my teens and worshiping along side them has feed me in ways I will never be able to express. Watching the steps they take, acts of faith, community love and seeing them grow in their relationship with God...even this last week they showed his love, reminding me again why I serve.
We had a tragic thing happen in our community, and thankfully none of my teens were directly impacted by the shooting in Aurora. What impressed me most and allowed me to not just be proud, but also reaffirm the reason why I serve is their own call to action without being told to do so. These teens came together and prayed, served their community and showed compassion - even to the one who had committed the wrong. Watching them grow in their faith has challenged me and encouraged me to grow even stronger in mine!
It's not always been easy to serve. I myself question if I should serve as I have my own issues,sin and past that had followed me. There also has been major blocks and enemy attack while serving (attack on my family, marriage, my relationship with God)...but I know without a doubt, my relationship with God is the strongest it has ever been, my marriage will have ups and downs and my family will continue to go through the junk because we live in a world filled with kingdom conflict.
Sure I spend time in prayer, read my bible, fellowship, spend time with christian women, go to church...but I know my relationship with God would not be where it is today without the feeding I receive from serving at my church and having the blessing of worshiping along side those teens. I thank God everyday for giving me the opportunity to go in with my daughters to the youth room 8 years ago, and look forward to many more years of being feed while "hanging out".
My challenge to everyone...serve somewhere, it doesn't have to be with teens, but it should be with something you enjoy. Serving shouldn't be a punishment or burden, but something that gives you something back! GET TO IT!