A) I basically say the same thing over and over. Why do you guys put up with me?
B) I'm really a different person than that chick who was posting here a while back.
We've got VBS behind us, which is always a relief. Love it, wouldn't miss it for the world, really really glad it only comes once a year. Basically the same deal as last year, crew-leading first-and-second graders with Joy, 'cept our new friend Reese joined the team too. Well, not so new, I suppose. Since Christmas-ish. Remember the New Years Eve post? Well, yeah. But anyway, the kids were brilliant, like they always are. I love that age group!! They're still so sweet, and they still have that great attitude that they loose in favor of "coolness" around the time they turn ten.
Also, same deal as last year with playing a psycho part in a bunch of skits only small children would enjoy. This year, I was a star named Sparkle. Sparkle loves to sparkle and sing for Father God. See what I mean? Except this year, it wasn't craziness with Joy and the not-really-but-kind-of-friend-person-thing we got to work with last year. It was craziness with Joy's . . . crowd? Can you call it that. This bunch of really close (and really older than me) people that hang out at her house all the time. Her, her (twenty-two? I think?) older brother Al, her (increda-goofy, but increda-good for her, I definitely approve) boyfriend Mark, Reese (who's twenty-five), and Reese's mom Donna. I had a decidedly less than perfect attitude going into it, but I was pleasantly surprised. Still get the third-wheel feeling (new, and not fun, but bearable) feeling around Joy and Mark, but as a whole, it was really really fun. Reese is single too, so we pick on them together. Lol. But Reese is a really good friend too. And, Al decided I exist. I mean, he's always been nice to me, but with some decided distance there. Last week he treated me pretty much like he treats his other female friends, so less awkwardness there. And, of course, there's Joy. My best friend on the whole planet, don't know what I'd do without her, Joy. So it was really okay.
What else interesting has happened lately? Oh!! There was that whole thing with Stephen. Yikes. Can I post about that here?
So, I don't know if I've said it before, but a while back (okay, more recently than I wish), I really liked him. Maybe you could tell that from how I've talked about him. What you haven't been able to tell was how bad he hurt me. When you care about somebody, they have this ability to either help or hinder your self-esteem. He chose hinder. I understand not liking me back, that's just a fact of life. But he took it too far, and treated me badly. And it's like I said to, well, I forget who, but if somebody treats you like nothing for long enough? You start to, almost, believe it.
That might be the number one thing God did with me on that trip. He healed me. He cleaned every last remnant of the jerk out of my heart, and he used the guys on the trip, who treated me like a lady deserves to be treated, and like a friend, to remind me of my worth. More on them later.
But then I got home. Of course nothing had changed, I hadn't expected it to. I was willing to just let it go. Then during worship last Sunday, God just wouldn't let me go. It was like He was seriously there poking me, saying, "I don't care if you're over it, you can't just let a brother get away with that." I knew I had to call him out.
It was the scariest, hardest, saddest thing I ever had to do. After worship, he always goes to get a drink of water. So I bolted out of service, waited for him to come out, and called his name. I asked him if I could talk to him for a minute, I dragged him into the youth room. And I told him everything. I told him I didn't have the words to say to him, and that I was asking God to give them to me. I asked him what I've ever done to deserve the way he treated me, I told him I was OOOVVVEEERRRr him. I admitted to him that he had hurt me, and I told him that the next time a girl likes him, he needs to deal with it differently. I told him I loved him as a brother in Christ. I told him I just wanted to be normal again.
He wouldn't admit he'd ever treated me any differently than any other human being. He made excuses. He tried to defend himself. And no matter how mad I was at him, I didn't yell at him. I wasn't ugly. I went to him in love, I kept my patience. And when I'd said everything I had to say and he started to leave, I asked if I could shake his hand. He's the sort of person who takes a handshake seriously. And he shook my hand. Which, I think, means that no matter how much he disagrees with what I said, he heard me, and he had some shred of respect for me by the end of it. It was a truce.
After he left, I near about fell apart. Thank God (no, I'm actually being serious. Thank God.) Joy came out then to get a drink of water. So I dragged her into the bathroom and told her everything. She was proud of me. My mom was proud of me. His sister, my friend Corinne, was proud of me. I think his dad is even proud of me. He keeps giving me these funny grins.
But you know what? I think more than any of them, I'm proud of me. He didn't beat me. I did what God wanted me to do. I did it boldly, and by His strength, I did it well. It was so much more than hard for me, but I did it. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And I think that's all the big stuff that's happened over the last few weeks. We did get invites to our dance camp out to the area churches, waiting on return on those. Looking forward, this week is downtime and helping mom finish the canning-freezing-pickling from the garden. Next week is, Lord willing, Exalt dance camp. Another week off, then our dance camp. Wish us luck!!!!!!