Part of the Family

Part of the Family

Danni Blackburn

Campus Life centers on stories. Last semester, Club was focused on learning about the characters in our middle schoolers' stories. During the week we talked about family, I shared the story of Naomi. Naomi once had all the family and love she could hope for until they all died seemingly close together. Once having the family everyone longs to have, Naomi was left with no blood relative. Just when she felt like she had no one left, God provided family in her daughter-in-law, Ruth, not by blood but through love.

Too many of our students are in this place, feeling like they have no one left, whether it’s through neglect, abandonment, or even death. As students had the chance to explain their families, we heard of many mothers who are in and out depending on boyfriends; siblings who have died or have been negative examples; dads who aren’t known; grandparents raising them until they died. Some students cried, others joyfully shared, and some emotionally shut down and grew quiet. Then came our wrap-up where I had all of our ministry leaders come to the front — one mom, two dads, and four older sisters [and even two little elementary sister helpers]. I encouraged the students that just as God didn’t leave Naomi without family, God hasn’t left them either. Even though in the moment, when we would rather have God just make our biological families love better, sometimes God provides family by love and not blood; in this case, a mother, two fathers, four older sisters and two little sisters to play games, listen, ask questions, and simply love them during our time together.

It is my joy to see these middle schoolers latch onto the idea of Campus Life being a family who loves. I love it when the student who just pulled their math grade up runs to a leader to show them their test. I love the moment their mom gets out of jail, and there is a leader the student wants to process that with. It can even be just a leader and student coloring after Club and catching up on life one day.

I love being a part of this family. Thank you for being a part of it too.

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