Tonight was our last Proclaim meeting of the year, and we had an end-of-the-year party/fun night. We had pizza and played a game where the kids had to guess which adult had which favorite (and of course, we gave them candy if they got it right).
Yesterday was State Drill, and they all worked so hard and did well. We all had a BLAST, and the fun Wacky Time Live game show that was at the end of the day was so fun! Several of our kids got to participate in the different games, and they even got me to go on stage for a silly song, wearing a clown's wig that was way too small when they asked for children's workers to come on stage. (I kind of hid a little, so there was no good picture of that one, lol).
I love these kids SO much! They have become so special to me, and I absolutely love watching them get excited about learning God's Word. I have gotten pretty close with their parents also, and I truly feel like they have become a second family for me.
Tonight, at the end-of-the-year party, I had to tell them that I will not be back next year. :( That was probably one of the hardest things for me to do. I love them so much, and I love my church family. I honestly don't want to leave, but I really feel like God is leading me in a direction that does not involve staying in Benton. It seems like everywhere I turn, as I said in my last post, I am hearing Him say that He wants me to go, and to let go of staying here. Even the story I shared in Sunday School this morning when I taught seemed to scream at me that I need to IMMEDIATELY obey what I feel like He is saying to me, even though it is not what I really want to do. The man in the story wanted to stay with Jesus, but Jesus told him no. He told him to go back to his village and his family and friends and tell them all the wonderful things God had done for him. The man didn't question Jesus. He just went-- and he went not just to his village, but TEN different villages, telling what Jesus had done for him, and everyone who heard him was amazed.
It seems to me that obedience is definitely a theme that I am hearing and learning, everywhere I turn. And not obedience with a hint of hesitation, but IMMEDIATE obedience, without question. I have had a tendency to say yes to God but then hold onto one little thing. Right now, that thing is staying here in AR, which has become my home. It's almost like I have kind of half-heartedly said that I am willing to go, yet I have still looked for ways to stay here. As my mom used to tell me ALL the time when I was growing up, "Delayed obedience is disobedience." If I am still holding onto staying here, I have not truly surrendered that to Him and said I am willing to go wherever He sends me. That is being disobedient.
Tonight, even though it was hard, I told the Proclaim kids and parents that I will not be back next year. I am going to follow God to Fort Worth to go to seminary and continue to listen to what I feel He is telling me. I cried on the way home tonight, because I love those kids so much, and I can't imagine not being with them. God never promises that being obedient and following Him will be easy, but He does promise that He will always be with us. Even though I hate the idea of leaving my church family and my home that I have come to know over the past two years, I know that I have to be obedient. I don't know exactly what God has in store for me, but I am looking forward to following Him, one step at a time.
Eph. 3:20-21: "Now to Him who is able to do immesurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen."