I was close to a lot of kids (yes, I call them kids) from my oldest daughter’s high school class of 2017.
From the time they were in 4th grade, I was carpooling with their parents, attending birthday parties, school and community events, hosting sleepovers… and that is also when I started my first girls’ Bible study.
Other friends, like the guys, or other girls not in my small group, were still with me when I was their chaperone on field trips, or when they didn’t have a snack or lunch money, or when the car that could hold seven shuttled them because my daughter would tell anyone, “my mom can take you.” We always seemed to have someone at our house.
For almost a year and a half, I was occasionally their substitute teacher, and then God blessed me with a permanent job, and for the last 8 years I have worked in their schools.
I built relationships with students who weren’t even that close to my own daughters, because there is just something incredibly tender in my heart for those in middle and high school. The reasons why are sprinkled over a lifetime of blog posts… but mostly it is just because that’s where God has directed my compassion. When your own teenage memories are burned with significance, then I guess that’s where you go.
Now, I haven’t had the same opportunities with my younger daughter’s class (considering these classes average 500 students – it is hard enough just to know half of them).
Even though this has made me sad at times, the Lord reminded me that I cannot make life identical for each of my girls. There won’t be the same memories, events and friendships…and although I still have those, it will be in whatever different way the Lord orchestrates it.
It also made a difference that my older daughter was in band, so that’s why band moms refer to having 200+ other children!
Plus, my younger daughter seems more embarrassed by me, which causes me great amusement. Any time I made something for a class or team, like those cutesy Pinterest snacks, she completely disowned it, refused to take it, or just asked me not to tell anyone it was from us. 😂 Code: don’t draw attention and stay under the radar.
I had to learn she wasn’t as outgoing and social as her older sister. She is incredibly smart, sensitive, brilliant and meticulous, with drive and determination that will take her as far as she desires. But, she’s almost happier curled up with a book than to have a house full of people.
At this point, I’m completely off topic, but you needed to know why I am about to share the following.
Let’s pretend I sent the a text to 14 college students that still keep in touch and encourage one another.
Perhaps one of those replied individually and asked, “Hey, was this for me? Did you hear about what happened?”
No. My answer is no, I don’t know what is hardly going on with anyone, but then maybe it isn’t me that is actually “calling” them.
I do know they have an enemy, and I know they have a Savior. That’s why I continue to post scripture, text, send videos and occasionally try to use Snapchat, but my voice isn’t the one that matters.
It is His, and they have to choose which voice they follow.
So, because I know more than 14 teenagers/college students/young adults, that one text led me to write this blog post today. Maybe it will reach beyond the 14… to whoever needs to hear it.
To whoever needs to hear His voice.
The Group Text
There are 14 names here.
14 unique hurts and loves.
14 different relationships with Jesus.
14 girls figuring out money, friends and life.
14 girls who make choices every day.
14 who may or may not hear me. I am not unaware that I can get muted and ignored.
That’s okay. I still love you.
Do you know why?
Because there was a period of time when I muted and ignored God.
He still loved me. Relentlessly.
He still provided for me.
He saw me stumble and waited, until I looked up one day and realized He had been there all along.
Did it hurt Him when I fell?
He took the nails, lashes, thorns and a cross for me to be able to have freedom from sin.
When I choose to go hang out with Sin, then He’s like a worried parent wondering what time you will get home.
If you are somewhere you should not be, then I want you to know that I’m always praying you will find your way home.
But, a gazillion times more than what I hope…Your Heavenly Father, the one who the Bible says we can call “Abba,” which means Daddy in Hebrew…wants you more.
Unlike your real parents, your Abba – He sees everything. He knows your deepest thought. He knows exactly what you need, and what you don’t need.
It is similar to my blog post titled, “Taken,” where I compare the movie and the dad to how God sees us when we have been taken by the enemy.
He is moving heaven and earth, with a host of heavenly warriors, just to come after you.
I am not talking to anyone in particular. I promise.
Sometimes, you might think I am because there’s something in your soul…the Spirit…that’s prompting you to move, change, or go in a different direction.
Consider that maybe it isn’t me talking to you. I could be over here clueless, and just sharing a devotion, but it comes across as pointed or placing blame.
No, sweetheart…that was not my intent. I’m still over here struggling through the Upside Down, marriage, my kids, job, family, death, friendships, health, and my own spiritual walk.
It was most likely Jesus. Let me tell you why…
When Samuel was a young boy, he was raised by the Eli the priest.
You may remember the story about Samuel’s mother, Hannah, who had been barren. She begged the Lord for a child, promising to then return him into service for the Lord.
Eli’s own sons were corrupt, and so when Samuel was weaned and brought to the temple, he was being taught by Eli to be the next priest.
The Bible says that Samuel “did not yet know the Lord because the word of the Lord had not been revealed to him.”
-1 Samuel 3:7
1️⃣ One night, Samuel heard his name being called and he went to see what Eli needed. Eli said he had not called him and so Samuel went back to bed.
2️⃣ He heard his name, “Samuel!” He got up and went back to Eli again, but for a second time he was sent back to bed.
3️⃣ He then heard his name called a third time, and again he went straight to Eli.
However, this time Eli understood it was the Lord speaking to Samuel.
Eli told Samuel that if he heard his name called again, to say, “Yes, Lord, your servant is listening.”
Verse 10 says that after Samuel did this, the Lord came and spoke to him.
Girls, if the Lord is calling you, please do not mute Him or ignore His plea. Learn to recognize His voice by staying in His Word and through prayer.
I know you might want something or someone more than the Lord right now.
That’s actually insane if you really think about it, but because I have been where you are, that’s why I have spent the last 9 years telling whoever would listen, that this day would come.
You see, the Bible warns that if someone hardens their heart to the Lord over and over…eventually they will remain that way.
“What does a man profit that gains the whole world, but loses his soul?”
A compelling and convicting verse (also a great song).
You can keep going to the wrong person, asking them what they need, or you can be brave enough to say, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”
The word of the Lord has been revealed to you, and from it you cannot hide.
He is calling.
With all my heart,
Copyright © 2018 Keysha Thomaston®. All Rights Reserved.
This is THE MESSAGE translation. Also look up and study the original text.
Romans 1:18-32 The Message (MSG)
Ignoring God Leads to a Downward Spiral
18-23 But God’s angry displeasure erupts as acts of human mistrust and wrongdoing and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over truth. But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse. What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand.
24-25 So God said, in effect, “If that’s what you want, that’s what you get.” It wasn’t long before they were living in a pigpen, smeared with filth, filthy inside and out. And all this because they traded the true God for a fake god, and worshiped the god they made instead of the God who made them—the God we bless, the God who blesses us. Oh, yes!
26-27 Worse followed. Refusing to know God, they soon didn’t know how to be human either—women didn’t know how to be women, men didn’t know how to be men. Sexually confused, they abused and defiled one another, women with women, men with men—all lust, no love. And then they paid for it, oh, how they paid for it—emptied of God and love, godless and loveless wretches.
28-32 Since they didn’t bother to acknowledge God, God quit bothering them and let them run loose. And then all hell broke loose: rampant evil, grabbing and grasping, vicious backstabbing. They made life hell on earth with their envy, wanton killing, bickering, and cheating. Look at them: mean-spirited, venomous, fork-tongued God-bashers. Bullies, swaggerers, insufferable windbags! They keep inventing new ways of wrecking lives. They ditch their parents when they get in the way. Stupid, slimy, cruel, cold-blooded. And it’s not as if they don’t know better. They know perfectly well they’re spitting in God’s face. And they don’t care—worse, they hand out prizes to those who do the worst things best!
The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson