Thursday, August 27, 2009

Raising A Thankful Child

My parents made me ride with them. Like getting up for church wasn't hard enough for a young, pre-teen girl, I had to get up 2 hours earlier!

It was our church's bus ministry. We went down into the heart of Rochester; some might say the very core; the innermost part. The places that people avoided going to at all costs.

I hated it. I sat there, arms crossed in front of me, glancing out the window with a searing look that could cut through steel. I needed to let everyone know where I stood; and that I did!

These kids don't even care, I argued with myself.

Look how "unappreciative" they are;

how misbehaved they are being...

It wasn't a quick change. I wore that proud, smug look for what seemed like months.



These children began to capture my soul like nothing I'd ever experienced before. I began to go on visitation with my parents and youth leaders every Saturday morning.

I saw where they lived; and heard the gunshots in their backyard.

I saw how little they had; bare mattresses strewn across the floor. Maybe a gallon of milk left in the fridge.

I saw how much they desperately just wanted to be loved with a true, unconditional love.

I began to love them; talk with them; listen to them; no matter what. When they would be rude and crude, I continued to love them. I stood my ground, this time with a purposeful heart of compassion.
A miraculous thing occurred!

They began to melt like a pool of mush! Their hard exteriors began to shrivel open, inviting me in with open arms. They saw the love of Christ being lived out, through me, a sinner saved by grace.
I was being changed; reshaped; made new because of "them", but more importantly, because of HIS WORK, in me.

So won't you teach your little ones, to have a compassionate heart? Teach them to love the "unlovely", the hurting, the lonely; for this is TRUE RELIGION!

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this,

To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

James 1:27

But we don't have a rundown old school bus to send them on, you say?

Get them involved in service; something bigger than themselves. Teach them that life isn't all about them. Have them experience what Christ came to do.

Mark 10:45 "For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many."

If you do that,
If they listen and obey the Spirit's leading,

They will be changed!


  1. Trace, this was a blessing to my heart. We "run" the bus ministry here at our church in Northern, NJ and so often it's an "inconvenience". It takes so much time and work..I have to sacrifice my hubby every Sunday morning as he leaves to drive his route, leaving me at home to get myself and 4 children 6 & under ready and out the door for church. However, to see the kids excitement on Saturday mornings when you show up at the door for visits, and to see them become faithful to Sunday school and church, and eager to learn about Jesus. Knowing their home life is not good under many circumstances, sometimes we are the only listening ear and affection they receive. It's so worth the time and energy that is put in. Even tho many are still unappreciative and dis-respectful at times, I know that deep down God is working in their heart. Thanks for the needful reminder to love the unlovely Traci,

  2. Wow, this was good! Mike and i helped out with the bus ministry when we were dating and just like you, my heart truly opened up to those kids. Then at our new church we were able to have a youth group, filled with city kids that just needed that love like you said. I still think of all those kids and remember so many of their faces. They so desperately need our prayers!

  3. Loved this one! Thank you!

  4. Thank you for the reminder that everyone deserves to be loved, even the unlovely.

  5. Traci, thanks so much for coming by the other day from Ann's and your kind comment. This is a great message here. A wonderful reminder to us of how important it is to get into the lives of these kids. Thank you!

  6. I live about 45 minutes away from Rochester well the one in NY at least :) Thanks for stopping over at my blog. Oh and I am left handed to and the penmenship...yeeeaahhh...
    blessings :)

  7. When I was 19 I became an EMT. I quickly learned that not everybody lived the same way as me, not everyone had the same 'luxuries' that I did. Oh, I did not grow up in a rich family at all. We did not have a lot of money, a fancy house or have all the extras like a lot of people but we were well taken care of. When I became a medic, I learned that people lived without furniture, heat, electricity, water, food, medications, and all sorts of basic necessities. Some even lived without a home. Some grew up fighting for their very lives in their own homes or on the streets. I grew up real fast as I learned how other people lived. It was sad and frustrating because you knew you couldn't help them all. But I knew I could help some. And I really tried.

    A few years later, we had the opportunity to go on a family mission trip to the inner city of Charleston, S.C. We went into the housing projects and set up Bible School for the children left at home during the hot, humid summer while their parents either went to work or just went out doing whatever it was they did during the day. Our lives were changed that week as we stayed there in Charleston. My two young daughters really got involved with the Bible School and had a huge influence on the lives of the kids in the projects. We even had a birthday party for one of the kids there. Our girls asked to do it for him. We even went and bought that little boy some toys. His eyes were as wide as saucers as he opened up his presents. You would have thought it was Christmas!! Another boy who started out the week being mean as a snake, ending up bonding with my husband. By the time we were packing up to leave, he asked my husband to help him ask Jesus into his heart. Our fellow church members who had been on that same outreach in previous years had said there was no getting inside this little boy's heart. He was just too mean. Boy, were they wrong! This child was a new person at the end of that week. This trip is something my girls still talk about to this day and it was 9 years ago. They are now 17 and 15 years old. I wouldn't trade that week for anything in this world.

    Thanks for sharing this post. It has brought back some amazing memories.


    Teresa <><

  8. What a great reminder Trace. Great post, I will never forget those times on the bus. What precious children we met.


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