Friday, March 18, 2011

Emmaus Eight

Sometimes I worry about the future. 

As a natural-born optimist and one who hangs her hat on the Hope that has overcome this world, I know worry isn't the answer... but occasionally I fret. 

Over the last few months I've heard stories of young people in this country who were stealing cars, bullying and abusing others, wielding weapons and generally being a menace to society. If that is our future, then we should all run and hide.

These cynical thoughts are strange for a girl whose glass is always half-full

It felt strange to carry a glass so heavy.

Then the Emmaus Eight walked through my door.

About a  month ago our church announced that the Emmaus Bible College Choir Ensemble would be giving a concert and would need a few host families for one night. 

I knew immediately that I would sign-up, and I figured I could take half-a-dozen girls, because it seems my motto these days is: go big or go home

All I needed was a place for them to sleep, and an egg casserole for breakfast.

Amazingly, I put out an APB on Facebook for air mattresses (and sheets) and within a week I had more than I needed. 

The concert was amazing, and as I bobbed my head to the music I was thrown back to my college choir days... the black dresses, the heavy choir folders, the wonderful SATB harmonies. 

I was a little challenged by the math when I was computing the dates of my college years: 1990-1994. 

Um, that would be two decades ago. Let's not go there.

I was quickly brought to my senses when they sang my favorite hymn, Before the Throne.


At the end of the evening I didn't bring home six singers, I brought home eight. 

And it was wonderful. 

We stayed up eating popcorn and drinking hot cocoa until after midnight. I was so keyed up I laid in bed until 2:30am feeling happy and content with my house full of people. 

I learned that these young women are articulate, passionate, caring, smart, talented and amazing beautiful. Every last one of them.

They are the epitome of 'all things new'...some just starting out in college, in marriage, in ministry, in romance, in life. They love their families; they work hard. Some were the first in their families to get through college, and some were walking in the shadows of siblings that had gone before them. Some were quiet. Some were outgoing. All of them were so much fun.

I am pretty sure that not every one had a pillow, nor a hot shower. But no one complained or was ungracious. They were kind to me, my kids and even my crazy dog. 

As I tried to ask questions that would give me insight to each young gal, I was given a glimpse into the hope of the future, and it erased those terribly cynical thoughts and ideas; my worries for the future melted away. 

I think about the Titus 2 admonition that speaks of the older woman teaching the younger and I realized something very important....

I am convinced that the older woman needs the younger equally so. We need the younger to keep our hearts from becoming hardened with the injustices of the world, and instead maintain a healthy, soft and supple heart that is focused on the Hope set before us.

The excitement and energy and enthusiasm of the Emmaus Eight filled my cup and reminded me of the words and promise of Psalm 103.

What else did I learn through this experience?
Becky (an Emmaus alum) and Courtney came for breakfast.
We are trying to keep her from remembering that she is 6 days overdue.
Well, I learned that when eight very attractive college girls come to stay with you, the thirteen-year-old Boy who was a little apprehensive about going to college in five years, will suddenly realize that college might not be too bad. (Look at the grin on that Boy's face.)

I learned that when I had my first baby, several of these girls were preschoolers.

I learned that when people say I have a tendency to talk with my hands, they might be right.

I learned that above all things using my home to lift up others isn't just something I like to do, its a gift I've been given to give to others...and it fills me with a joy that lends to weepiness and laughter, all at the same time.

To my Emmaus Gals, 

Thank you for the opportunity to spend a few hours with you. You were a blessing to me...and I meant what I said: You always have a home in North Carolina.


Hillcrest Cottage said...

What a gracious hostess you were... and you received such a blessing! You didn't have to have a mansion filled with rooms and beds and showers for each one, you just needed to have a heart filled with love.

A great story!

Sandy said...

This was awesome! We've had opportunity over the years to "house" traveling students from Bible colleges, & it gave us wonderful memories. When we reach out to bless others, we nearly always are the ones to really receive the blessing!
And that was so cute about your "boy"...

His Girl said...

girl, you are such a cool chickkie. good lesson in sharing what you've been given and who REALLY gets the blessing from it!

wish I was part of the 8. sounds like a blast

Unknown said...

<3 <3 <3 <3!!!!

Both my kids were born between 1990 and 1994! *sigh*

But that's neither here nor there. I love this post because I am blessed to know a ton of teenagers and they are some of the most awesome, inspiring people I know! They give me hope for our future. But until I had teenagers myself I wasn't so sure.

I am amazed daily at the spiritual depth of some of these kids and what joy I get from them.

And what a great blessing for you and your family. Especially that boy! LOL That made me seriously LOL. Really a lot! :)

Sherri said...

You are awesome!

19 years ago at approximately this same time of year, my parents hosted some college kids who were giving choral concerts in our hometown for the weekend. My parents hosted 2 (not 8!) midshipmen who were members of the United States Naval Academy Glee Club. I'm so glad they opened their home in that way because one of those midshipmen who stayed with my parents touched my heart deeply and 9 years later, we were married. We're celebrating 10 years of wedded bliss this year! Blessed are those who offer hospitality!!!!

Tracey said...

You are so very cool! Thanks for blessing others..and then blessing us with the blog post.

Always good to remember that no matter how many bad folks we hear about, there's many more that truly have caring, kind hearts.

You are one of them.

Happy Weekend!

Charity said...

I recognize some of those faces from the best college ever :) Glad you had the opportunity to be a host and be encouraged. I have no doubt that those girls were equally encouraged by you and your family! Miss you guys. <3

Lacy Loudon said...

Thank you so very much for hosting us! We had a blast! I think it was 1:30 when I went to bed and I still had so much energy because of the great fellowship we had. And the food, don't even get me started! I remember during the concert watching your family and hoping you were a host family and thinking how much fun whoever was staying with you would have. I was elated when I found out I was one of them and even more so when I found out it was a massive slumber party! You and your family were so wonderful to us and I am so glad we met!Keep on opening your heart and home and blessing those you meet! I love y'all!!

Becky Koppen said...

Kellie--I am the mom of two of the girls you took in for the night, so I thank you for your kindness to them. Isn't it wonderful how it works that when we serve the Lord by blessing others, we are often the greatest recipiant of blessing?