Last night was a prime opportunity and example of intentional Christian living at our house. I had asked a couple of the girls in my discipleship group if they would come over and help make the snack (caramel corn) for our large group tonight. They agreed and showed up at 6 pm. All I had in mind was that we would make the recipe and then they would want to leave to get on with whatever it is teenagers do on a Tuesday night.
Immediately those plans were waylaid by my own children’s extreme enthusiasm at having guests over. You know how young kids get when they’re excited–loud, flopping around on the furniture, acting silly. That turned into a request that the teens play hide-and-seek. They obliged and before I knew it, I was playing hide-and-seek with my five kids, a neighbor boy, and two teenagers. It was lots of fun and we ended up running around and hiding in all kinds of silly places around the house. Eventually I did have to cut the game short so that we could make the caramel corn.
Some of the kids went outside to play in the yard where Daddy was building a fire to burn our lawn detritus. The teens and I stayed inside and had fun making the snack in the kitchen. One of them hasn’t had much experience cooking, so she was a little nervous about helping, but she did just fine. The other got to make the caramel sauce. Yum, yum, yum. Once we had tossed the caramel sauce with the popcorn and put it in the oven to do whatever it was supposed to do in there, the teens headed outside to hang out with the kids.
I followed them out and more fun ensued. We played a game called Chaos Tag that I’ve seen my kids playing with the neighbor kids from time to time. That is a hilariously chaotic game! Then we played duck-duck-goose, per the toddler’s request. Daddy even joined us for this one. Just as we were finishing up, one of the teen’s rides arrived and we said goodbye to her. At this point, the boys decided that they wanted to play ghost-in-the-graveyard, so the remaining teen obliged. It was getting late, so I took my girls inside and got them ready for bed. As I was reading a bedtime story to the girls, everybody came in from outside. We said a quick thank you and goodbye to our last teen and she left (she can drive herself). I took the girls up to bed, did a bit of homework, and was in bed by 10:35. For me that is like going to bed at 7:30.
I’ve been trying to process what happened yesterday. On the surface it doesn’t look like anything profound went on. We made a snack and played a bunch of games together. The reality is those teens were accepted into our family last night and allowed to function as a part of it. They may not think of it that way, but that is how it struck me. There were no agendas to follow. We got a task accomplished, but it was fun, not work. We laughed and played. We spent time together. We were authentic and I believe that each of us felt valued and important. I went to bed with a great feeling of satisfaction.
I believe that last night God sent an opportunity our way for some intentional Christian living, precisely at a time when I wasn’t looking for it. I’m so glad that we were open enough to accept that opportunity when it came. What a blessing to all of us!
I just want to encourage you to watch for the opportunities that God is going to send your way, as well. Who knows what He has planned for you!