We had practice for our first (and our family's last) Divine Service in Waukegan. Divine Service is where we celebrate the youth programs of The Salvation Army and parade the kids in front of everyone to recognize their accomplishments.
It's a very emotional time for mutiple reasons. This corps hasn't had a youth program to speak of for a long time. We started a youth band program in a church member's garage once a week two years ago. And now God has brought 30 kids every week to play horns, run around, sing songs, and be silly. It's so inspiring to see how God works and the things He, and only He, is able to accomplish.
As I watched the older girls practice their interpretive movement for Sunday's service, I began to tear up. It was so moving to see young people planning to take part in a service! (5 years ago this church was averaging 6 on a Sunday) It was also heart breaking to think that this is really where my part of the process ends. God has another plan for my life. God has another plan for this corps, and I'm not really a part of it anymore. It's bittersweet, but exciting to think of all the potential that this place holds!
I had to "break" the news to some of the older girls who have become nearly part of my own family in these past three years. It has to be one of the toughest conversations I have had in a long time. We all cried. We all laughed. I heard the words I was saying to comfort them, and all the while thinking "It doesn't change how they feel, Valerie, just let them cry."
God is good. I'm so glad He's given me the time I have had here.