Let me back up.
It had been one of those weeks. A million projects. A million roadblocks. A $1500 video camera that doesn't work nicely like the $400 one. A photocopier that spits your paper out off-centre when it's not jamming (the little elf inside giggling incessantly with every groan). So I was in a mood. And I had to run youth. And it was the last place in the world I wanted to be. My parents were keeping the kids overnight. Just imagine: a house - EMPTY, QUIET...what a beautiful thing. All I wanted was to curl up in bed, watch a movie as loud as I wanted to and eat chocolate until my tummy hurt. But, no. I had to run youth.
I drove back to Hanover. I turned off the radio and sang some worship songs really loud to try and bounce myself out of my funk. I powered through the leaders meeting. Decided to totally mix the order up just to see how it went. Called all the kids in just to dismiss them to Life Groups right off the bat - radical, I know! And we were short leaders, so I had to lead one of the groups.
I ended up in a Sunday School classroom with three girls, some bristle board, markers and an American Standard Bible. Our assignment was to read Ephesians 6:10-18 and then draw our interpretation of The Armor of God. I got to verse 14: "Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH..." These are teenage girls. Much giggling ensued. The "Belt of Truth" became a jock strap on our very muscular armored man drawing. And I laughed with them and kept them on task and tried to direct conversation around why we need this armor and how we can get it and whether or not we actually have it. And somewhere in the middle of that hour I realized that I was having a good time. My mood had shifted and I was actually happy to be there.
I had fantasized about being "too sick" to go, knowing that my sister would have stepped up and taken my place in running things but what a blessing that I followed through on my commitment instead. I actually learned some things, listening to Heidi's lesson. I was moved by the alternative worship that was simply a group prayer time in which kids spoke their praises out loud - no music - no band. And what an amazing thing to hear Janneke share about the freedom she experienced at Acquire the Fire the week before! There could have been no better cure to a hard week.
And my empty, quiet house was still waiting for me at the end of it all and I got to enjoy it with a full, happy heart, a sharpened sword, peaceful feet, a righteous helmet, a strong shield, a shiny breastplate and , of course, girded loins.