This was Darrell's second year, but I use to take the 2 older girls with me while he stayed home with the younger kids. They have always loved the teen track....coming out excited about the truths that they learned about their own lives, purity, or Creation, history and the Bible's archeological findings.
Last year, we were in such a spot, we went for a change of pace with no big intentions and found answers to what we were walking through. We are so grateful for those answers.
This year, we went for encouragement from a few classes but more importantly for the people we knew would be there. Sweet friends who spoke into our lives and we were able to do the same for them. We met a few new folks with heart connections too.
Our older children attended classes on Biblical purity and loved the classes. The younger children hung out with us in the vender hall. They got to test the many new products, visit with us, eat lots of snacks and attended story time with Uncle Rick Boyer--a favorite.
Darrell was able to attend one class and so was I. My class challenged me.
Carol Baniard was my speaker. She shared her story of growing up in a wonderful pastors home with loving parents. She spoke of her downward spiral trying to find answers of her own to her faith and no one in the church could answer her questions. She went to Christian college and asked those same questions. She switched to a secular college and asked the same questions...tried many different religions...and then became an atheist.
She can wittingly share her story about how she thought atheists would be nice people. She instead described them at people who took pot shots of everyone else but were unable to defend themselves. She spent 13 years in this dark place before she started to pay attention to God calling her back through circumstances with her own newborn son.
As she shared her story, she challenged me. Am I ready to give a reason for MY hope? Are people around me asking those questions? Have they asked those questions and I failed them?
The self examination has continued and sent me on a quest to prepare my reasons so I would not be one of those people that would not be ready to give an answer...
At the core of any Christian believers walk is JESUS....mine too! He is our hope....He came so that we may live. I admit, I have had times in my life where my hope tank has been empty. It is a difficult place....but in saying that....if we walk with the Lord and focus on Him....that hope is restored!
In Psalm 119:9 it says, "But How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your word." Our kids have had to memorize this because our world can seem wacky sometimes. We ask ourselves this question but God has already told us how. If we keep ourselves in the Word of God, we know his ways and can plant them in our hearts and learn from them as we walk the road set before us. It is a line of truth to evaluate who we are in Him....not how we dress, how we look, how big our house is, how many things fill it, or what kind of car we drive. God looks at the heart and the things that motivate us. He searches our hearts for the things that are of Him.
Self reflection can be a motivator to prepare. I am thankful that Carol made me take a hard look at things, I am thankful for God's grace when I stumble, His hope when I am lacking and the path back under His wing of protection.
I am excited for the things we were shown last weekend at MassHope...the fellowship and connections we received. It was a blessing to be able to attend.