Definition. — Youth from all over the United States gathering together to hear preaching on topics that point right at them, to play games that only ‘those of age’ appreciate, competitions that prepare and equip them for service now and in the future, to get away for 5 days to make decisions that can last a lifetime.–
This Youth Conference has always meant in the past that Dustin and Andrea are coming!–and they did. They brought several of the Youth from their Church. Andrea is growing my little grandson-and looks *cliche* ‘cute as a button’–and Dustin–my first boy–is going to be a Dad–I remember saying to him at one point–another *cliche*–“just wait until it is your boy standing up there!” Where? I’ll get to that in a minute. Everytime Dustin and Andrea come time vanishes–they could literally stay for a month and it would fly by like a week. Ok-except for the cooking part. I try to make lots of goodies for them. They are pretty busy with the conference-so breakfast is usually above and beyond. I was able to try several things off of Pinterest. My new addiction.
This was my favorite–Blackberry Sweet Rolls. Go find my Pinterest – and you will find all things I tend to stress in my life. I cooked several different things from my Pinterest. I really hated to see them go-but we will see them again in December and then in February-when my grandson will arrive. so-back to Empowered Youth–
This was my boys first year of Empowered Youth. It is hard for me to believe he is old enough to be called a youth now-and no longer a child. He is 12 years old. To me-that still seems like a child-but he says and does so many things now that leap him out of that catergory. I think I prayed without ceasing his first day there. Would he stand up for himself-would he humble himself to hear from God-would he remember to wash his hands before he ate?– I survived and he thrived.
He worked very hard to be able to participate in two of the competitions. He knew last year after Empowered Youth that he wanted to preach in the Preaching Competition. He knew what he wanted to preach about. He was really bold about January of last year-and come October of this year-got very cold feet. We have always told him that he must complete what he has started. He sought help-he talked to his brother-he got advice from two different Preachers that he admires-he worked with one of the Preachers in our Church-and he worked hard to get rid of the fear that always comes your first time speaking in public. He preached his sermon to his family-he preached to his basketball-he preached to his sister-(because he does that all the time anyway).
He also competed in the Instrumental competition. He had also been working on a very difficult song for almost a year. About 3 weeks before the competition, his Dad asked him to play it for him. Now, keep this in mind. My Hero is amazing at most everything-I say most-because he just does not get music. He is very opinionated about what he likes and what he doesn’t like-but he really has no clue as to why. Adam plays his song-waits for the praise from his father. His father looks at him and says, “I don’t like it.”–That was it–I don’t like it–I knew what that meant-My boy’s father is also his Hero–that meant I had to find a new song AND explain to his violin teacher (who is absolutely amazing!) why the song they had been working on every week for the last 10 months was not going to work–with only 3 weeks–3 weeks! I went online and found a song that was to my Hero’s liking-and we made sure he liked it before my boy even took his bow out of the case. Again-he worked really hard–practicing right after breakfast and again after dinner. You see-my boy is not a violin kind of guy. Violin’s are soft and magical and they sing–there is not another instrument that can sing-that is why I make him play it–my boy plays sports–he lives and breathes sports–the violin–that is my thing I force on my child. Why? Because I know it will make him a better person-because I know he will be able to use music his whole entire life–how many 90 year old men do you see out there catching fly balls or making a tackle? But–give a 90 year old man a violin-and if he knows what to do with it-he can make it sing–ok, so yes, I am good at convincing myself how great it is for him–it is.
To me-he was a winner before he stepped into the room where he was competing. I am his mom-I saw how hard he worked. I saw him get upset and then give all of his fears and insercurites over to God. I saw him seek out good council. I saw him give his all-and see all of that work encouraged. He was 1st in the Preaching for the 7th and 8th graders-and I think even more surprising for him-3rd place for his instrumental solo.
Empowered Youth was just that for my boy. He made decisions that week that we believe he will hold onto for a lifetime. He surrendered to God-and there is nothing more meaningful to a parent than to see their child surrender to God and to know that He is who gives wisdom and joy and peace-and God makes Empowered Youth.