Because of Love

I’m sitting in the Salt Lake City airport with Alliance General Council 2015 live streaming in my ears and on my laptop. I’ve got another hour before a tiny plane takes me to a tiny city in Idaho. I left Council early this year because in that tiny city lives a girl who is graduating from high school tomorrow. That girl has called me twice today to make sure I’m coming. This morning she called in tears and just a few minutes ago in laughter. Both times, actually each time I’ve talked to her in the last month, she’s checking to make sure I’m keeping my promise to be there.

In fall of 2010 that girl lost both her parents in a tragic and horrifying incident. At the ripe age of 13 her entire world was tipped upside down and given a violent shake. 6 hours after her parent’s death that girl called her former children’s pastor, Miss Mel, to share her story, to cry, to mourn, to….be heard. I listened, I cried, and I mourned with her.

That was just the beginning of a journey and relationship that continues to shape me today. (more here)

In many ways it seems irresponsible of me to leave Council before it is over. Amazing, I mean AMAZING, things have been happening all week. Kids are being given notice, people are wanting to talk strategy not just quick fixes, and God has been at work. My job is the national Children’s Disciplemaking Specialist I should be there, right?

No.

A year ago I knew I would be leaving early from this Council and I have had the blessing of our president and my vice president for over a year. I don’t really remember when I promised that sweet girl I would be at her graduation, but I did. Maybe it was never a specific promise so much as an understanding. I do as much of life with that girl as I can. I call her on her parent’s birthday and major holidays and the anniversary of their death and just because. I fly to that tiny little city at least once a year to spend specific time with her. I do life with her, and high school graduation is a major milestone. I absolutely would not be anywhere else tomorrow at 2pm then sitting in her high school gym watching her graduate. Because of love.

So I answer her calls. I pray with her. I cry with her as her heart breaks over another milestone her parent’s are missing. I reassure her I’m on my way. And always I point her to Jesus, the one who is alway there. Because of love.

We at the Alliance are a family. We desire to be a family that is known by their love. And crazy things like this are what love looks like.

And so, because of love I walk away. And while my brain wants to be present at Council my heart has already flown to that tiny little city to that sweet girl. Because of love.

Melissa J. MacDonald

Melissa J. MacDonald

Passionate about children’s ministries Melissa J. MacDonald is a published author, in demand speaker, and a children’s ministry innovator. As the national Children’s Disciplemaking Ministries Consultant for the C&MA Melissa spends her time training, coaching, speaking, equipping, and consulting with churches and districts both in the US and abroad. Melissa loves everything about children’s ministry except for stale cheerios and cranky volunteers. Visit Melissa's blog.

Four Responses to “Because of Love”

  1. […] busy schedule that only my assistant could keep track of I took the time on Tuesday to text with my sweet girl who lost her parents exactly five years ago on that day. I text her words of love and encouragement and shared grief. Because discipleship means purposely […]

  2. Wow! Cannot believe she is graduating. She has grown up quick….in many ways. Praise Jesus you had a relationship with her. I shudder to think of the path she could have gone down if that relationship, that connection to Jesus had not been there. THIS is disciple making; this is what it looks like to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Thank you for living your faith out loud. Please give that girl a squeeze from someone who has prayed for her off and on through the years!

  3. Thank you for sharing what love looks like. I work in a local high school and with the 5-11 year olds at my church and truly agree that it doesn’t end when we send them on to youth group. Thank you for following and sharing your journey.

  4. You are doing what Jesus would do!! I love you for being YOU and am praying for you. I want to be just like you when I grow up!!!

    In God’s Unfailing Love,
    Janice

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