Experience the Joy

by Kristi Van Dyk

A wise friend of mine said something the other month that has stuck with me. I was having a hard day and needed to word vomit. She said, "Be careful not to share the hard with people who can't experience the joy." 

Brilliant. Of course. We misrepresent reality just as much if we only speak in one state of life. 

This advice has caused me to pause longer between blog posts.  I don't want to censor the authenticity we've kept in this journey, but, I want to make sure that I'm sharing the joy amidst the hard. So this post, while there is hard embedded, is mostly joy. 


This summer each one of my four tiny humans was approached by a young adult. That young adult looked them in the eyes and asked, "Could I mentor you?"

The kids who live at Maranatha (res kids) were assigned a staff mentor (OH SO many GENIUS programming implications from this, but that's not what this post is about). I'm talking about my all over the map, crazy beautiful humans being approached, and ASKED, weekly, to spend time with a young adult, 1 on 1. Not any young adult, some of the COOLEST young adults on the planet. YA's who spend time with them, play with them (already for 5 hours a day), teach them, plan special events for them, and now, mentor them. 

Let that sink in a bit.

Can you imagine, as a little, having a big kid seeking out time with you!!!?? You don't feel like the tag along. You're sought after. You're the star. You're loved (by someone other than your Mommy).

Let me just tell you. This brought joy.

These mentors are as good as their word. They faithfully text to ask permission. They select creative activities. They show up. They focus. They read some devos. They talk to my kids about faith in real life (their lives). They answer real questions. They model great quiet times.

They.make.a.difference. They bring joy.

In this season of life where we really do chant mantras, "one foot in front of the other, just keep swimming, one day more,"  my little ones need some outside voices, some added perspective. They need a break, a respite, some relief.

So these mentor dates. These beautiful people ... They.bring.joy. 

I've stolen some images from random mentor dates to illustrate my point, and to show you the joy.

Join me in seeing the beauty in the brokenness. See the beauty that happens when others come alongside. When others commit to a legacy of faith, an inter-generational approach to modeling the Christian life.

When that legacy envelops a worn out family, it models for its future children what it means to be the hands and feet of Jesus ... 

This brings joy ... 

(Don't even get me started on all of the beautiful life lessons I hear they've discussed ... #heartoverflowing). 

Side note: while Joshua obviously can't yet verbalize, he and his mentor spend time together, just like the big kids. And in so doing, all that he needs to know is clearly communicated. You are seen. You matter. You are loved.