As previously posted, today was a hard day. Unexpected news came my way, my biggest fears rang true (amongst other things), and I was down. This teaching phase is tough. But I had to prepare a lesson for my YL kids tonight so I couldn't hide away. And that was God's plan. We are not here for us! :) It was 2 hours before YL and I had no talk planned nor was I ready to be "on" for them. I pleaded with God, "I have nothing to say. I am in pain. I have nothing to offer them. What do I do? Give me a lesson now!" To which I felt Him gently reply, "Speak from your pain, my child." "What do I say, God?" I asked. "What did I say to you the other night?" He answered (but in a question of course b/c we know that Jesus likes to do that.) :) I muttered, "Psalm 23. But they won't understand that. I can't even think clearly to speak." "Try Me," He said. So I jotted a few notes down and headed out with no make-up on, swollen eyes, and a red nose. I said a prayer and Jesus calmed me with an amazing sunset (pic below) and some kind words. 8pm came, hundreds of kids flooded in, the action began and I was off and running. Then came the end for my talk. I got up there and told them that I was not gonna pretend to be another Christian leader in their life who seemed to have it all together. I shared with them my story from the other night (previous post) and how even though I am 30, freshly broken up, and alone, I have Jesus who sweetly pursues me. Then I read them Psalm 23. I broke it down...really focusing on how He "makes us lie down in green pastures." When I read that part before I used to envision a little lamb laying in the sun on a green meadow...like in beautiful Colorado. However, I recently found that not to be the complete case. The Shepherd would break a back hind leg of a wondering lamb and carry it on his shoulders, bring it back to the fold, and there it had to stay until it's leg healed and it would no longer wander away. (Thanks Tuck!) My point, we may walk through the valley of the shadow of death, God may break our legs, but we need not fear b/c He is our Shepherd, He is with us, and therefore we have everything that we could ever need or want. He only wants to protect us and give us life. He knows better than we what we need, rather than want. It was not a usual YL talk, but I felt it was needed. I needed it. Why wouldn't they? We all suffer. I assured them that although divorces will occur, Haiti disasters, broken legs before the last big game, break ups, being single at 30 and in pain, etc., He is with us. He came to seek and to save the lost, not the righteous. After it was over I was flooded with kids waiting to talk to me. That is not typical. They usually can't wait for the talk to end, the music to start, and the games of basketball or dancing to begin. But tonight...tonight kids were sharing their pains and telling me how much that they needed to hear what God had to say to them through me. Even one of my new, young, married leaders came up afterward and hugged me and said, "Thank you for your talk tonight. I am married and needed to hear that. Only God is enough for me! You inspire me so much!" Wow...that meant a lot. The youth pastor (of the church of where we hold YL at) was there too and he too said that he loves hearing me talk and my talk inspired him and so many kids. There were a lot of new kids there texting me afterwards and saying how much that they love YL. I usually beat myself up after a talk. But not tonight. And I'm not tooting my own horn either. This one was not me. I had nothing to offer and Jesus came to comfort me so with the comfort I had received, I could comfort others. How beautiful is our Gospel! Just as the pictures below describe...in your greatest pain, put your head on His shoulder. The kids had just been crying before I held them. And Sally is in heat so miserable...ha. Anyways, trust our Good Shepherd, friends. You may not have what you want, but He knows what you need. And in the end, you will want that too. He may make you lie down in green pastures, but it's only to protect you from impending harm, to restore your soul. For He wants to give you life! John 10:10! So while having to lay in green pastures, take advantage to lay your head on the Beloved, just as John did, hear His heartbeat as your own, and come to know and love Him more than anything in this life! There is an incredible road ahead of us all! Goodnight!