T is for Thursdays
When I was a freshman in high school, Young Life came to our school. And my sister and I both became very involved. For those unfamiliar with Young Life, it is a faith-based youth organization with the goal of ministering to middle and high school aged kids. It typically involves a weekly young life "club" and for our group, that particular event rotated between different homes each week. Club was full of fun- lots of games and competitions and silly/messy/ ridiculous activities usually capped off with some singing and then a short "talk" that focused on teaching about the love of Jesus.
We also had a weekly bible study that while still fun, was less of the games and silliness and a little heavier on the worship and Jesus. And for 3 years that bible study was on Thursday nights, in my living room. I feel 100% positive that those Thursday nights heavily shaped my early Christian walk. I grew up in a family of believers and always had that foundation but it was in my early teens that my own walk with the Lord truly began to develop as I watched and listened to my leaders week after week. Remember my swim coach? Well when he wasn't pushing me to run up a huge flight of stairs or reach a personal best at my next swim meet- he was speaking truth into my life and planting seeds that would take root and grow. Each Thursday, just a group of teenagers, talking about life and the struggles and joys that come along with it and how we can hold both of those feelings in a relationship with Jesus.
Every Thursday, there were piles of shoes at the door in the laundry room. Kids crammed together on our wrap around couch or on the floor-ears and hearts open to a message that would weave itself into our very core and become very much apart of who we are. That would begin to shape the people we grew into.
Thursdays were a day of rest as a teen. Something kids don't get nearly enough of. And I don't mean in the physical sense but in the emotional and spiritual sense. It was a day that no matter how crazy or busy it had been- for 2 hours we could all be still. And kids need that. And they need adults, besides just their parents (although they definitely need those too), speaking Truth into their lives, cheering them on and just walking alongside them through the good and the bad. And that's what Thursday was. That's what Young Life was.
My faith is a huge part of who I am today, it informs how I live my life, how I do my job, how I love the people around me. And so much of that is thanks to a pile of shoes in the laundry room on Thursdays.