Ok, feeling the need to clarify. Began baking cookies at 6:30 a.m. because I wanted to eat cookie dough with my morning coffee. If you can't be totally transparent with strangers who read your blog, who can you be honest with?
With the help of Monkey, Dea and Darius' friend and unofficial brother in law - he is the brother to D & D's older brother's baby-momma, (sometimes, I need to draw it on paper. It helps.) - we whipped up some yummy bbq stuffed baked potatoes with all the fixins, garlic bread, and salad. Monkey had gotten into a little trouble with Johnny Law for skippin' school and needed some community service hours. I needed the help so it was a win-win. His grades may reflect more of a win-lose but that's not the topic at hand.
We have a group of regular attenders but always have kids who come in late and want to eat. The deal is, we're happy to feed you all you want but if you eat, we'd love for you to stay for the worship. The obvious reason is that, if kids can come, eat, and leave, we'd have 250 or more every Wednesday night and my oven might go on strike.
Inevitably, each week we have kids come and eat, look you in the eye saying they'll stay for worship, and then either be very disruptive during the preaching, or simply walk out the door after dinner. Last night was no exception and this HoodMama got a little feisty. There was one 8 year old little boy who was leaving and, in the process, was pretty disrespectful to me. In addition, he was pulling a whole group of boys with him creating chaos in the middle of worship.
I was frustrated and maybe a little less than gracious.
Thankfully, Garrett, one of the Mercy Street staff, came out to help. It was amazing to watch. With so much grace, love, and clear instruction, he talked to this little stinker about respect, Christ, and the love of His people. He corrected the child's behavior without shaming him and eventually wooed him back. Before I knew it, the child's hand was in mine walking down to the children's program - genuinely happy to stay. Garrett - clearly the professional.
I read this from a friend and pastor, Patrick Lafferty, this morning -
The quality of our love reveals where we place our trust. If we find ourselves withholding love, it may reveal arrogance or indifference in us. But it might otherwise reveal fear—fear of what we might lose (or what we might be left with) if we relinquish something of value to us.
A real stillness before God will lead to freedom to love extravagantly. Abundant care becomes not only possible but preferable because you no longer fear losing what cannot be taken from you. The Christ who bestowed all that we would gain all is meant to persuade you of the fact that He is our true refuge. Persuaded of that in the stillness of prayer, praise will flow, and often through relinquishment for love’s sake.
Who are you afraid to love right now? Nothing the Lord has given you in Christ—forgiveness, favor, renewal, eternity—can ever be siphoned from you. How might the truth of His being our strength in those ways free you to love?
What describes my heart so often is the part about withholding love because of indifference or arrogance. I'm certainly praying for the ability to love extravagantly because it is how I have been loved.
On the lighter note, while all this was going on outside, our friend, Tracy was teaching the kids about creation. After her lesson, we walked out to look at the Mercy Street garden to see first-hand how creative the Lord was - even in His variety of tomatoes.
I picked some mint and asked a child to smell it and tell me what it he thought it was.
"Weed? It smells like weed."
Weed? Hmmm. Close. Really close. Try again.