In addition to our friends from Maryland being here with us, the highlight of my day was having Bobby walk in the doors right before Sunday School. He has now quit his job that had him working Sundays. Yee ha!!!! He wanted to surprise us with this today. I have always known, if we could just get Bobby to have Sundays off and be at church on a regular basis, it will create not only a huge change in HIS life, but the lives of everyone around him. Talk about a kid with an absolute ton of potential... really he has the ability to be a serious history maker. I believe huge things are in store for him.
When I saw Bobby come in I freaked out with happiness. He said he is so happy that with the resignation of his job he can be at church each week from now on. I told him I'd do whatever I could do to personally help him get a job where he doesn't work on Sundays. I advised him as I have so many others that it's so important to set the standard up front with a potential employer that you WILL NOT work until after 1 pm on Sundays and that you will be a dedicated hardworking employee, however church attendance it the priority, no ifs, ands, or buts! So he asked me, "Momma Shrodes, are we doing anything special for lunch today?" I said, "just meeting at the house and there's a place always set for you, of course..." He beamed as usual.
At the close of service he met me in the hospitality room and said, "I just feel so good...just being here makes me feel so different." Today Larry preached once again about the family, and he shared some stories about Dustin and how he prayed the prayer of salvation with him when he was just 2 years old and he's stayed true to God all this time. Of course Bobby is one of Dustin's best friends, knows how he lives and he spends a significant amount of time in our home.
Bobby has been raised by a wonderful single father who took care of him after his mother left the family, got a divorce and moved to California when he was just a little boy. One of the reasons I am so close to Bobby is because for all intents and purposes, I'm the "up close" Mom he's never had. He comes to the house often not just to spend the night or eat here, but to just drop by and show me his new car, his prom pictures, or discuss whatever in his life is on his mind as a mother would talk to a son. You can read the story here of him getting saved this past Easter. Up to the point he met Dustin and he started seeing what true Christians are really all about, Bobby was an atheist/agnostic. Many people wonder why so many kids today are espousing these views and my personal opinion is - they have gone through so much hurt and pain in their upbringing that they wonder, "how can God be real if he allowed this or that to happen to me?" These kid are so fractured they can't imagine there's a God. Contagious Christians need to come along and give them hope. We need to be "Jesus with skin on" and show them the love of the Father, through our loving example.
After talking to me in the hospitality room, Bobby went and found Larry out in the sanctuary and talked to him and he said, "Papa Shrodes, you'll never know how much this service meant to me today." and Lar said, "really Bobby, what specifically impacted you?" and he said, "Well, everything your family has is what I want. As you know I haven't been raised like this in a Christian home with a Mom and Dad and a relationship like you have with your kids and it's what I want so much for my own life. The thing is, I see your family up close from being at the house all the time and I see that what you are telling these people on Sunday is truly what you are living with your family at home. That's the kind of life I want. And I'm going to make sure I learn all I can to make that happen..."
When Larry told me that in the car I just wept. I mean, I knew in my heart it's how Bobby felt all along but just to hear him express it, it's just beyond words.
He came home with us today as did Casey and then our friends from Maryland so we had a real full house for Sunday dinner and luckily I had a mountain of food - two roasts, 10 lbs. of mashed potatoes, a huge bowl of corn, ceasar salad again, my homemade biscuits, etc.
We had a great time together sharing at lunch time and then Savanna was making jewelry with a few of our guests and Larry sat down to watch sports for a few minutes and I went over in the lazyboy chair and laid down with him and went to sleep for what ended up to be a few hours. Do you know what it's like to shut your eyes to rest for a few minutes and open them up hours later, not realizing just how much you needed the res? I felt so terrible to go to sleep with guests here but I was just so exhausted I couldn't help it. Thankfully they are true friends who understand! They were just making themselves at home having a good ol' time. Making jewelry, watching TV, sitting out on the patio, getting in the jacuzzi, walking around the neighborhood to work some of that dinner off.
A few hours later I woke up and they were wanting to go to supper. By this time so much time had passed, it was 7 pm! I really did sleep forever without intending to. Larry called Bonefish and got a table reservation and we all went there for a late supper. If you've never been to Bonefish, it's one of the best places in my opinion, for seafood, and I love their crab chowder.
We sat and talked for a few hours with our friends and it was so nice just to be together...and enjoy a relaxed dinner with some calamari and mussels, and much more. I think most Marylanders consider good seafood and good conversation a pretty much unbeatable combination!
I want to post some pictures tomorrow of our day today. I didn't take any - I was too busy, but Cherie and Vito took a bunch so I'll get them off of her camera tomorrow and try to post some.
Family, friends, food, good conversation...nothing better.