North Idaho has decided that mid-January is the right time for winter to begin. Its residents have been spoiled with unseasonably warm temperatures (for the most part) and a distinct lack of the white stuff, which has been falling from the sky since I got up a little after five this morning because the dog simply could not wait for breakfast any longer. It’s pretty. I recognize the privilege that it is to sit here in my cozy house, drinking coffee while I read the book our youth group is going through. But…I’m not sure that I’m prepared for six-to-eight weeks more.
Kate says: influence.
Make yourself an example of good works with integrity and dignity in your teaching.
– Titus 2:7b (CSB)
I am the non-energized bunny, always ready for a nap or five. The odds of me taking on some great, extended adventure exist within the realm of imaginary numbers. I don’t tackle anything in life with gusto. Give me peaceful walks among the flora and fauna, a la scenes in a Beatrix Potter story. Quiet days. Interesting conversations with friends, pitched at reasonable volumes.
Not exactly what anyone thinks of when they hear the words “youth worker.”
The first official ministry thing I ever did was run a small group for middle school girls. I still remember their names. I was so young, still discerning the gifts and passions God had given me. If time machines were real, I’m sure I’d cringe at some of the things I said to them. Thankfully, the Lord is big and kind enough to work through our missteps and mistakes.
Life went on. Marriage, work, writing, illness, volunteering. I know now that my heart is to teach Scripture to whoever will listen so that they can receive and respond to the God of, in, behind and around the text. I’ve led adult groups. Briefly served on the church board. Stood as the kid wrangler during children’s classes.
Today – full circle. With the teens again. Some days, I’m still not sure. I’m older now (34 is practically ancient in our society), so my role has changed. Before, there was a seven or eight year age gap. Now, it’s two decades and more.
I’m stepping into that spiritual mother role. Or maybe spiritual auntie. Someone with a lot more life and lot more scars under her belt. They don’t need me to have all the answers. They don’t need me to be perfect. But they do need me to be honest. And they definitely need me to point them to Jesus at every turn.
God, let me wield this influence well.
15 thoughts on “Five Minute Friday: Influence”
I’m absolutely dead certain you’re a terrific influence, Marie.
You have been on me, and I’m an eternal nineteen-year-old rugby hooligan who’s just discovered an unattended case of beer.
Ha! I love how you describe yourself. 🙂
Marie, I’m sure I’ve asked but where in northern Idaho. We have spent some time in the Bonner’s Ferry and LaClede areas.
I’m about an hour-and-a-half south, near Coeur d’Alene.
So glad God has placed you where you can be a positive influence on young people! Oh how they need it! No doubt they will be blessed by you and you by them!
They really need people who truly love them. Even though I’ve only been to the large group meeting twice, I can see it. And my heart goes out to them.
We’ve also had a lack of true winter here in Wisconsin – just dreariness. I share a similar call as you and have journeyed through all the age groups. I love middle school, but I know I’m not called to youth ministry. May God provide the energy you need to just be real and present. Peace. FMF23
It’s finally hit me that, while God may give us lifelong gifts and passions, the way we use them will change over time. I just assumed that I’d always be leading an adult Bible study group – but nope!
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Thirty-four is ancient? Lol… I turned 50 last year, and I’m still trying to convince my college-aged children that I’m not old. They’ll believe me when they’re my age…. But the most important take-away I got from your thoughts today was how you have made yourself available to the Lord to be used as an example to whomever, wherever, whenever. You truly bloom where you are planted. Praise God.
Thank you so much, Angela! I have struggled quite a lot with contentment, so your encouragement means a lot to me. I want to be useful, wherever I am. 🙂
You are not alone. 🙂
I’m always ready for a nap or five too. But I’ve also done youth ministry. God has called you to this place as you are. Kids need an eclectic group of people to influence them. Looking forward to hearing how God is working in this place.
How did I let so many days go by without responding to this? Please forgive me, my friend.
“Kids need an eclectic group of people to influence them.”
How true that is! There are four other ladies on the leadership team, and we are all so very different. Yet we connect through a shared passion and the love of our Savior. I’m glad that the girls are getting various perspectives and opinions as they grow.