Last night was really rough. Really rough. In the last blog post I told you a little bit about CREW. CREW is a weekly youth gathering that serves as Keller Park Church's youth group. CREW was pretty difficult last night. I had to break up a fight, ask a student to leave(and actually get him to leave the building), do constant crowd control, and persuade students to leave after CREW while they had a giant cupcake-throwing war outside with some unwilling participants. By the end of the night I was spent. After CREW, I spent several hours brainstorming new programming and techniques to get kids to listen and behave. By the end of the night I was feeling a bit sorry for myself....wondering if all of this was actually making a difference. I sometimes find myself in a place where it all seems for not.
Then today happened.
I took Stella to ballet class and when we returned home, I found this on my front door.
The index cards read: Carrie Anne Badertscher, You have made a great impact on our lives. All the things you have done for us. We want to give something back. We want to show you that you are appreciated and that we love you. We have something for you at Michelle's. We really hope you enjoy it. This is to show you how much we care.
As I walked through my house, I noticed index cards taped in various spots. One on the couch that read, "the first time we cried together." One on the table that read, "first time you encouraged us on school" and another on a picture in the back room that read, "a place we call home." So many memories written on index cards. My heart was full and so were my eyes(full of tears).
After I finished reading the cards, David said it was time to go to Michelle's house, which is right around the block from our house. (Michelle helps me lead the girls' discipleship group. She and her husband live in the neighborhood.) When we arrived at their home, Nene and Asia were standing at the door. As they welcomed us in, I noticed this poster on the wall behind them.
I can't begin to explain how I felt. It was all just so overwhelming. We hugged and then they made fun of me for crying so much. I must have looked like a hot mess. They quickly ushered me to the back room where, soon after entering, people jumped out from behind furniture and from within closets and yelled, "surprise." It was then that I started to cry the ugly cry. Families from church, UME students, volunteers from CREW, my discipleship girls, they were all there. We munched on snacks the girls had gotten together and watched the kiddos run around with great delight. It was a rich time of fellowship.
After the families left, the girls had a special dinner waiting for the five of us. On the dinner menu was: taco salad, movie popcorn(they actually went to a movie theatre and just purchased popcorn), sour patch kids, and Pepsi. All my favorite things. We laughed and reminisced about that past two years.
The evening ended with the girls reading letters they had written about our time together and memories we have shared.
I have never experienced a night like tonight. It was truly one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given. The girls had planned it all and kept it all a secret. They put a menu together, secretly got house keys from David, invited families from church, and taken time to write out their thoughts. They blessed my heart in a way that it has never been blessed before.
Every tear, every frustration, every late night, every knock and phone call, every difficult night at CREW. It's all worth it. Thank you Nene, Asia, Haley and Michelle for reminding me of that. Thank you for loving me like you do. I love you all desperately. My cup runneth over.