Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Surprise Party That Wasn’t

Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Last night we threw a big, surprise 18th birthday for Evelyn. We worked so hard to keep it a surprise, but when you leave one of the invitations lying around, chances are good she’s going to see it. Oh well, she was a very good sport and acted surprised, but fessed up later that she knew. We all had a good laugh. So really, it was the Surprise Party That Wasn’t.

Regardless of the surprise, or lack-thereof, we had a great time. It was a simple swim party with snacks and cake, but it was awesome because of the people who were there.

This party was mostly Ev’s friends from the youth group and her cousins. There were probably 40 to 50 people there I would guess. As I looked around and watched the kids playing volleyball in the pool, and the kids doing various diving high jinks on the other end of the pool, and the kids sitting around the fire pit, and the group sitting on the porch, all laughing and generally having a great time, and I could not help but think of the verse in Hebrews that refers to a ‘cloud of witnesses.’

I realize those verses are referring to great men of the Bible who had paved the way, given the example, and cheered each other on to ‘run the race with perseverance’ but I see this current group of kids as sort of a contemporary Cloud of Witnesses as they serve a similar purpose for my children.

They show up. They celebrate each other’s victories and mourn each other’s failures and losses and remind each other to not grow weary and lose heart. They are truly an awesome group of kids.

One of the things that always amazes me is the youth leaders in our church. They make it a point to show up to these personal events. They’ve been at all of my kids graduations and many of their graduation parties and birthday parties. They don’t just show up for five minutes and leave either, they stay and participate and have fun.

Last night we all sat around and discussed the various bathroom situations on many of the mission’s trips they’d each been on. It quickly devolved to discussing various sickness and the results of those sicknesses in sundry third world countries. Let me just say, God Bless America and its health care system and excellent plumbing.

The point is, even though the conversation literally went to crap, everyone had a great time of good, clean fun. And most importantly, Evelyn felt loved and celebrated.

As I stood in my backyard and surveyed the goings-on, I said a little prayer of thanks for the people God has put in my children’s lives. We could not be more blessed. I don’t think it necessarily takes a village to raise a child, but it most definitely takes a cloud of witnesses. And God has given my children a very rich group who is with them on this race, and cheering them on.

*I did a terrible job getting photos because I was having so much fun! These are the only ones I have, and they hardly show any actual people. Whoops!*

1 comment:

Mary Katherine Jauchen said...

I love this! So glad to be a part of Evelyn's life and y'alls. I feel like family when I'm at your place and I'm grateful for the way you've opened up your home, your family, and your life!