DO THE WORK (Part 2 of 2)

It was the tediousness and simplicity of life at that time that made the space for me to move from believing in God, to actually knowing and being known by Him.   I began devoting time to bible study, seeking God for companionship and affirmation, and learning how to really pray – to converse with God.  Not just asking for things, but sharing my deepest thoughts, and questions, and concerns.  As well as sharing things that I think are funny and perplexing and disturbing and beautiful.   Learning to recognize his voice in deeply intimate exchanges.  So full of delight and grace for me.  Not because of anything I do, but because of who I am.  His daughter.  His beloved.

For a long time I have felt like all these years have been a wonderful detour.  I just figured that God just had a better plan for me than mine, and I was grateful for how everything worked out.  In recent years a discipleship ministry has taken root in our home.  I serve a family dinner to a community of inspiring young women and lead a bible study with them on Monday nights, and host a family dinner to a community of exceptional young men every Thursday night.  That means that…

I get to be a homemaker for these guys:

But also for these guys:

And for these girls:

As well as several beloved faces not represented in these photos.  Amazing young people that we get to love and feed in our home every week.

Recently, on a Thursday evening I paused while cleaning the kitchen and looked around my home.  I had fed and nourished my family and several young men through good food and good conversation.  Men we have grown to truly love as part of our family.  Some of them were laughing at the dining room table playing a game.  Some were watching TV.  Others were enjoying conversation, working on laptops, and folding their laundry.  It brought tears to my eyes remembering that twenty-year-old college girl, sitting on a dorm room floor and dreaming plans into the early morning hours of running a group home.  The veil was lifted and I could see that my life is not a happy detour.  God has been absolutely faithful to fulfill the deepest desires of a young woman’s heart, and every part of my journey has equipped me for this.  My vocation.  My life work.  I did not give up “working”.  I have just been on a path that I could not have foreseen at twenty and it’s full of blessings that I could not have imagined.  God has made my home into a place of healing, of hope, of peace and joy for everyone who comes through our front door.  But because I expected the fulfillment of my dreams as a young woman to look like something else, I almost missed it.

And I no longer think my twenty-year-old self would label me a sell out.  She would love coming to my home for dinner.

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3 thoughts on “DO THE WORK (Part 2 of 2)

  1. She would ABSOLUTELY love it.

    What a post! These 2 entries perfectly capture you, your calling, and your gifts. And, you’ve prompted thoughts for me today on how my life looks way different than I imagined it… and to continue to invite that 20-year-old me to rest in what God has been doing all these years.

    Sooo glad you’re writing.

  2. For those of us who have watched you over the years, this “in home” ministry with young adults is not a surprise, but simply using all of your gifts in one place: your love of people, love of mentoring, love of activities, love of sharing your home with others, love of studying God’s Word and applying it to one’s daily life, and the love of good food, combined with a natural generosity and wanting godly people in your son’s lives are all motivators behind this. It’s been exciting to watch this process and it’s expansion from sharing an Easter dinner with a couple of friends who were living away from family 16 years ago, to Team Kess’s attitude that “mi casa is su casa.” May God continue to bless your and Ryan’s ministry.

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