This is a difficult time of year to commute to and from work. With all of the area school systems in session, the roads are full of people, and traffic is heavy. So heavy, in fact, that my commuting time is almost double what it normally is. This makes for a long day, and this week, following Labor Day, the official end of Summer, has made for a long week so far!
My wonderful daughter, Melody, has successfully transitioned from elementary to middle school, and seems to be doing really well. The move to a new school also coincided with a change in routine at our church, Grace Community. The youth program, called Light Company for the middle high students, is such a great program, and I've looked forward to her being a part of it for a long time. I remember my wife, Teresa, who was a 9th grade English teacher in Howard County, telling me that she could tell which kids at the school where she taught were involved in the youth program at Grace. They were just different. Good different. That was inspiration enough to lead us to the church. That, and the lead pastor, who Teresa got to know since she taught most of his children.
So Melody is attending the youth services at The Warehouse at Grace, and she is making friends and getting to know the ministry staff, and she's loving it. And this is such a blessing to me. The youth program also has a weekly Bible study, and Melody gets to meet with the girls in her age group at the home of one of the volunteers who works with them. Last night was their first meeting.
It had been a hectic day, and I got home fairly late yesterday afternoon. I took the easy route and picked up some Chick-Fil-A for dinner, then rushed home. We had just enough time to eat, then we had to leave for the weekly Bible Study. It was clear across the county, so we were late, of course. We're rarely on time for anything anymore, but we were welcomed by the youth leader when we arrived at her home. She told me how much she has been praying for Melody, and this touched my heart in so many ways.
You have to understand, I hate the stigma that is attached to Melody, as a young girl whose mother died when she was a baby. People automatically feel sorry for her, and that sympathy takes on a lot of different forms, from prayer to kindness to sadness to empathy to pity. I don't like receiving that attention, myself. Even though I continue to battle depression as a result of her death, now 11 years ago, which is a lifetime, I don't feel like I deserve the sympathy that is shown towards me, and I hate the emotion that creeps out of me when I receive kindness from others as a result. Life happens, and death is a part of life. But Melody is different. While she has no memory of her mother, and is as well adjusted as she can be for someone who doesn't even know what it's like to have a mom, I relish the attention she receives through the prayers of the youth leaders, because she is special. And I'm so thankful for the Light Company youth leaders at Grace.
God is doing great things at Grace. I am grateful for the care the leaders give to the young people that are a part of the youth program, and the way they bless the families of Grace. We are in the right place for us right now, and I can't help but see God's hand in this.
Have a great evening, everyone!