Recently, Jay and I went to a conference for mission leaders called MissioNexus. The conference filled our mental library with research papers, powerpoints, pie graphs and stats on what we are doing. We sat around tables and chattered over how to be doing it and with whom to partner in it. And then, we pushed back our chairs from the table with one question hanging on, one angle unanswerable with mere seminars and PhDs:
Why? Why do what we do?
Answering that question takes a look inward – past the Hilton conference with chandeliers and academic lingo and service awards. Past the charts that try to scientifically describe levels of a relationship and the necessity for things like hospitality. Past the suits and ties and titles.
And, it takes a look upward – a look that settles on a God that fought for us, who redeemed us and claimed us through the power of the cross.
Because here’s the deal: only God can give the why of why we continue doing what we do.
So, after much thought and prayer on this, today I’d love to introduce you to some of our whys…
These girls were among the first kids we met at Seneca Center, back when it all began in 2009.
One beat up our son. (He may have mouthed off to her? Regardless…)
Another threw rocks at one of our daughters, and then she ran away frantically – into a tree.
We all laugh about those stories now, because these girls were different kids then. Full of fights and attitude and high walls.
They started in BridgeKIDS – going to activities, VBS weeks, concerts, and such on that big Bridge bus. They’ve gone to the summer camp every year. Most importantly, they’ve settled back on our couches and into our routine family life. Sure, they’ve had ups and downs, but they keep coming back.
Today, they are our trusted babysitters, role models, and helpers in the BridgeKIDS programs.
But, it’s more than that. Somewhere along the line, our family circle stretched out a bit, and they’ve fit right in.
People have asked me before about my motivation for living at Seneca Center. (And, often I ask it of myself, to be honest.)
This, friends – this is my motivation, my why:
I want to see these young lives raised up into the people God’s created them to be.
It’s simple. More simple than 3 conference-days of hashing over missions research and strategy.
Years back, God tucked deeply into my heart the image of these kids walking across graduation stages, or walking down aisles, or walking back up this front porch – with their heads up and their eyes full of grace and confidence and peace.
But, let me tell you – that doesn’t mean I’m a stellar person, that I enjoy all the chaos, or that I am not slammed with doubts and questions as often as you are.
It just means I keep hanging on, utterly dependent on a strength that far surpasses by own, because I believe God when He whispers promises of “someday…” to me.
And, it just means I am reminded each day of the undeserved gift of grace to me, a messy life in need of a Savior. Maybe I just see myself in all their eyes.
So, every hug matters. Every conversation. Every activity. Because, when it’s all said and done, that’s our strategy. It’s just grace and love from ones who understand all too well their own need, offered to fellow hearts in need.
Years down the road, I pray these kids will be the ones walking into conferences, networking with other leaders, sharing their stories, and praising Jesus for His sovereign hand on their lives – from Seneca Street onward.
We believe it will happen. Someday.
See, that’s why we do what we do.