Today is my favorite day of the year...Ash Wednesday! That may seem a bit odd when most would answer with Christmas, birthday, anniversary or other equally momentous day. I look forward to Ash Wednesday with the anticipation young children have for Christmas. When I was young, this day didn't even register as a blip on my radar so why is it so significant to me? It's not just today, it's what today represents--the beginning of Lent, 40 days which might not seem like much but those 40 days can be transformational.
For a few months now I've been meeting at FUMC Bentonville on Wednesday evenings with a group of dynamic young ladies. I've always said I "don't like kids" but these ladies are different. They talk, share, eagerly listen and seem to absorb information (and text their grandma's) every week!! While I may be their adult leader it is really they who have taught me. As they allow me glimpses into their daily lives, friendships and families I have the opportunity to realize just how different life really is for teenagers today. As adults we tend to minimize the struggles teens face and suggest our own teenage years were far more trying. Until you sit in a room with kids every week and listen to their stories you have no idea! These kids need Ash Wednesday and Lent!!!! They need mercy!!! The weight that rests upon these sweet shoulders is more than many adults could carry. As parents, teachers, leaders and mentors we need to strive to show compassion to the teens in our lives. When the teens are short with us, tired, frustrated, withdrawn, acting out, etc. maybe instead of punishing them we need to look deeper and look for the real answer. Grades, bullying, peer pressure, drugs, alcohol, making the team-choir-orchestra, being the best and even living up to OUR expectations are all creating a huge amount of stress on our kids. I know I am guilty. If God/Jesus/Holy Spirit could show compassion to all of humanity then surely we can show mercy to those we love.
here or here.) My young ladies have no idea how much they are on my heart every day. We have been learning each week about influential woman from the bible-Deborah and her STRENGTH, Puah & Shiphrah with their BRAVERY, Martha & Mary reminding us while WORK is important it is also vital that we LISTEN & LEARN, Esther who was very QUICK WITTED to save her people, Priscilla who shows us that TACT is an important means of communication, and RUTH-oh sweet Ruth with her LOVE and DEVOTION. This week we are going to do something just a little bit different, I am writing letters to my young ladies because I am honored each week to be influenced by a modern day Deborah, Puah/Shiphrah, Mary, Martha, Esther, Ruth and Priscilla! In their honor my Lenten goal for transformation is to be more merciful-to my Handsome husband, my beautiful Angel girls, my parents, my siblings, my extended family, friends and even strangers.