Jesus Wore Pink

Jesus_Wore_Pink_Missindeedy

Growing up, we attended a church that was more famous for the pastel color painted on the outside than for what was taking place on the inside. The color of the church didn’t bother me much, although I can imagine many a visiting family’s conversation that went a little something like this: “Sorry family… We simply must find a church that’s less… pastel.”

While there were certainly some who adored Jesus and His ability to transform lives, none were as passionate as my Youth Group Leader. That building may have been pale on the outside, but it was ablaze with a fire for Jesus in this one man’s heart. And that fire spat embers of Life out onto all that came into contact with him.

I’m sure that Jesus wore pink because, over ping-pong and Orange Crush, I met Him. He scooped up my heart and claimed it right there in the middle of all that pastel.

My youth group leader’s influence has been on a my mind a lot lately. What he tirelessly sought to do was make each one feel included.  He brought so many of us tweens to the feet of The Only One who could soothe savaged hearts.  I remain forever grateful for his willingness to reach out to those who felt isolated, outcast, and awkward.

Some of you, who have graciously hung around here for a while, know that we went through a painful church search last spring. We found a church to call home, but it hasn’t called out “Home!” convincingly enough, to me, yet.

And, it certainly isn’t calling out home (or anything even remotely comforting) to Sweetboy. He was the reason for the change. It’s more than a little upsetting to hear your quirky boy, who has trouble connecting to others out there in The Everyday, issue the same indictments week after week. “No one likes me there.” “I haven’t met any friends.” “They’re not very nice there.”

My God!

If we can’t get it right for the least of these, then I think we may be getting this church thing all wrong.

I’m not sure what to do with how I feel about all of this at the moment.  Do I volunteer to be a Sunday School teacher so that I’m “being the change I want to see”? Do I be the “squeaky wheel that gets the grease” and tell the Children’s Pastor my concerns? Do I just keep hitting my knees and praying for God to open eyes and hearts?

Jesus wore pink, back when I was growing up, so I know he has no problem meeting people wherever and however He can.  I keep thinking back on that time and trying desperately to remember what the Sunday School teachers said and did that ushered in a sense of belonging and welcome.

I’m coming up empty, because I’m remembering through the lens of a parent whose child is hurting. And that lens? It keeps getting clouded over with tears. Talk to me. Please.  I need some community right about now.

Let’s brainstorm how The Church can do this better.  How can they meet the needs of the marginalized better? What can we, who believe in redemption for all, do to spur on a better way of loving those who are hard to love? 

 

Advertisements

21 thoughts on “Jesus Wore Pink

  1. I’m playing catch-up on reading through your blogs today… and this one SCREAMS out to me.
    I’ve said the very same things that your son has said and our Pastor’s answer is always “if you’ve been around the church enough, there will be someone that hurts your feelings.”
    I’ve heard that Pastor say he wants ideas on how the church (the one we are sitting in) can better connect.
    I’ve heard others say the same thing about their churches.
    Sometimes we have all left and switched, only to find new things that leave us scratching our heads.
    And one day I was discussing this with two 2 ladies that I had newly met and we realized by leaving, perhaps we were also the problem. We know better I guess that walking away is not the answer.
    It’s something we’ve dealt with since we moved her almost 10 years ago.
    I think I see too much of the negative and I’m not looking to God for the answers and the change?
    I’ll go through and read other’s comments now too and see if there’s some insight here instead of my own.
    You’re not alone in this Missy… None of us are. And your heart for your family.. It makes me sad to have your son treated that way. I love you sweet friend!

  2. Oh Missy, this blog speaks volumes on what is happening in our churches today. I must be careful in how I speak in words right now, but here is my story experienced. My husband and I had been leading our youth group at church for a little over 6 years. My husband worked, sweated, and cried tears over the youth with such love and passion. Sadly, there are always someone within the church the devil can use to destroy the working within the church. We were faced with a small group of adults that lied, deceived and slandered the leadership in the youth group. Why? For their own personal gain, to be known, noticed, heard and to take over a position they coveted. Sadly I must say, they won the battle. My husband and I are no longer leaders in the youth. But! We have learned there is a better way waiting for us and in time God will reveal what He has in store for us. For now we are resting in His presence and have returned back to the basic of when we met Him and getting restored and revived in our relationship.
    I am sharing this account because this is the reality happening behind the walls of some of our churches. It is heartbreaking. Keep praying, keep searching, and yes, speak to the youth pastor, most of the time they are so busy that some actions can slip by them. God knows the church He has for you, a placed your Sweetboy can grow and a place you can recall wearing pink. 🙂 Will be praying for you!

    • Shannon, thank you! For sharing your story, yes. But for reminding me that I do not walk this road alone. It is such a comfort to be reminded God knows. He knows… I pray He continues to work healing on your hearts and point us in the right direction.

  3. My, oh my, sweet friend! My heart aches for SweetBoy and for you. I love all the compassionate words of advice you’ve already received here. Let me just say, your blog readers are a wise bunch of folks. I really don’t know that I have anything else to add. I volunteer in the children’s ministry at our church and we make it a point to intentionally interact and welcome and encourage all of our little ones. We want to love on them so much that they have absolutely no doubt they’re loved because of who God made them to be. It’s a difficult lesson to grasp for anyone feeling lonely or alone, but keep sharing your concerns, keep pouring into him and building him up while you wait to see what God’s up to with this one. He’s at work. He’s on it! Know that you’re not alone in this. Praying for you, Missy. 🙂

    • Tanya – you do not even know… you just can’t know what a balm these words were to me: ” keep pouring into him and building him up while you wait to see what God’s up to with this one. He’s at work. He’s on it!”

      Imma gonna print that out on a little notecard and hang it above my desk for a good long while. I’d hug the stuffing out of you if I could. Pretend, kay?

  4. I am probably the LAST person to be dispensing advice on this, so take it for what it is worth. I’m thinking shopping for a church is sort of like when you date someone? When you know someone is “the one”, you just….”know”? In your gut? In your heart? If it has to be that hard to feel loved and accepted in church—the one place I imagine people should feel loved and accepted and be loved and accepted, is that maybe the answer–that it isn’t the exact right place for you?

    Again, I could be reading it all wrong and maybe it is as simple as reaching out to the teacher. But I guess I just think…..there are plenty of fish in the sea and Sweetboy and his family have an awful lot to offer a church so I do believe the right one is out there and will welcome them with open arms.

    • Heathen, I heart you. Always and forever. And, yes ma’am! You know I’m like a dog after a bone about this – I intend to keep at it until peace reigns.

  5. I will be praying for your Sweetboy. I agree with Rebecca Jo. A conversation with the teacher and/or childrens’ pastor is definitely the right course. The teacher may not realize that he is feeling this way. He/she may be able to help him connect with other students in the class. Hang in there, Mama!

  6. I’m sure that Jesus wore pink because, over ping-pong and Orange Crush, I met Him. He scooped up my heart and claimed it right there in the middle of all that pastel.

    Love those two lines.
    And love you. Love G. Love all of you. I say storm the castle. And by storm the castle, I mean pray and ask others to pray that a way would be made clear. May God provide you an army of pray warriors! I’m in the lead!

    • That I can count on you to storm heaven’s gates on our behalf is a GREAT comfort, friend. Fervent prayers will continue to be sent up. XO

  7. There must be someone out there who has conquered this issue for kids with special needs? Right? Written a book, or a program? Has some insight? Has traveled this path before?

    Having said that, this is a huge problem for all Tweens, teens and young adults across the board. I just got asked to give a talk to young adults about how liturgy is welcoming. If we were doing a good job, no one would have to explain it, right?

    • Believe it or not, Jen, it’s still largely untraveled terrain in church communities up here. Attempts are being made through organization like Jonathan’s Child Ministries and Joni & Friends. But not much has been instilled into the churches up here in the upper parts of New England yet. Maybe the “someone” we’re looking for is us? We’ll keep clinging to hope. (And so glad that you are serving the youth that way! They need more peeps with hearts like yours.)

  8. We are out of church right now, unfortunately. We, too are looking for relationships. Relationships that expand beyond the Sunday morning “Hi, good to see you,” and the “Hope you had a good week.”

    The last church we were involved with was a new fellowship. Eventually my husband was made an elder. We invited people out to eat, a few went but it never went beyond that. Others would say yeah, we will soon! Never happened. At the end of our time there, we had no friends. And at this point, we have no friends from any church we attended. Another thing that turns people off, whether believers or unbelievers, are the cliques and every church has them. I also see too much of the family involved. You all know what I mean, I’m sure. The pastor’s family tends to run things, whether they are truly called to or not.

    I hope and pray for the church to come out of itself. Out of playing church, and be the light and the salt God has called us to be. God bless you and I hope it all works out well for you.

    • Your comment really touched me. This thought, ” Another thing that turns people off, whether believers or unbelievers, are the cliques and every church has them.” makes my soul weep. It’s hard enough on adults to navigate that terrain… I pray, with you, that we can really seek to do this Church thing better. All of us. In unity as far as we are able.

  9. First of all – I hope Jesus wears argyle too because it seems to be all I wear in youth group & the kids call me out on it all the time 🙂 I want to be Jesus to those kids so badly….

    Saying that – I want to know when kids aren’t seeing Jesus at all. This is insight from someone who has spent 10 years in Youth Ministry. I’m there because I care about kids – I’m sure his Sunday school teachers are there for the same reason. They should be made aware of issues. If kids aren’t kind there, it will push kids away – why like Jesus when his followers don’t even want you around? I wouldn’t make a big deal about it – but I’d definitely mention it. Just ask for a quick meet up – coffee – a light conversation & let them know what your son said. And then maybe they can shed some light on the situation as well.
    We had one family that approached us & told us her daughter didn’t like it because she wasn’t feeling welcome. This girl was one who came in & secluded herself. Came in with a Kindle & went into the corner with her head down refusing to connect with others. I’m just saying it may be good to get insight from someone IN the class on what’s happening.

    If I’m reading this wrong & he’s having problems outside of church – I’d do the same thing. Speak with a teacher. Communicate with his friends – all easily & light – just showing concern & love.

    And then I think its about teaching your own child to love others. When you love others, people are drawn to you…

    How did this turn into the longest comment ever?

    • Longest comment or not, it was very thoughtful. Thank you, friend. We have pointed out that he will need some help interacting. He is not a joiner by nature, although video games are not allowed and he’s not that type of kiddo, anyway. He’s happy to hang out with other kids, but they appear to be cliqued up already (at 3rd and 4th grades). Newcomers don’t seem to be welcomed in – and I know that the usual teacher was out for a few weeks, too. We’ll keep at it and I so appreciate the admonition to work on the loving others part. That definitely helps us to shine more brightly. ❤

  10. When we were looking for a new church home 3 years ago, we realized it’s all about relationships — first with Jesus and then with others. We had been so busy “doing” in our last church (as were others that we were kinda-sorta “friends” with), that we had NOT built REAL relationships. We tried by having people over for dinner or going out to eat, but they still weren’t real, intentional relationships.

    Pray first, and then continue to sit back and connect first before you dig your heels into “work”. Listen to what the Holy Spirit says. He may be telling you to have some people over for dinner, or coffee/dessert and games. Be real (which you are already 😉 ). Let God work first before you do. ❤

    • Relationships are definitely what it’s all about, Pat. Couldn’t agree more. We pray for those opportunities – and you know me – I’m gonna talk up anyone who’ll give me the chance.;)

Your Thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s