rustypants speaks

youth pastor. husband. idiot. why should you care? it's beyond me.

Friday, March 10, 2006

meet JM

this is JM. a frequent reader & sometimes poster in rustypants speaks, she is always one of Scott's Girls.

in fact, she is the original.

thirteen long years ago i was drafted into leading a group of 7th & 8th graders through one of the most mind-numbing bible studies ever created. and i had NO intention of working with junior highers. no friggin way. i signed on to teach 5th and 6th grade, but when i showed up that first night, i find that i've been "moved up" - and i was not happy about it at all. i've never worked with kids before! i don't want to start with the WORST age group of them all!!

too late. i'm stuck. grumbling and grousing, i go to my assigned classroom.

and in walks JM.

now, JM is not her real name or even her real initials. her name is jeanna. her middle name should have been marie. but it wasn't and isn't. but i've always called her jeanna marie and thankfully she goes along with it.

so in walks JM with a huge smile on her face and thus begins a 13 year long relationship that has been part of the reason i love youth ministry so much.

JM was in 7th grade. just starting 7th grade. i have no pictures to prove it (yes, you just heard her sigh with relief) but we began this friendship when she was 12 and i was 23. i had no idea what i was doing as her bible study leader but she never held it against me. over that first year we had a lot of fun in this class learning (there were only three of them - she, daniel and another girl who i can't remember...) and figuring out our relationship with God together. daniel was a general pain in the butt and the girls routinely took him to task and it was awesome. JM's dad was a big influence on me and discipled me for a summer - an experience i never forgot. she was young but wise and she had an outlook on life that was hard to beat.

and then, after one short year, she was gone.

her family moved to the middle of illinois just before she started 8th grade. i remember the sunday before she left - i gave her my Bible, some fumbling words of wisdom and a big hug. she gave me a pad of paper that had "From the desk of Scott" on the top and a pen. it was the greatest gift i had ever been given (and i still have it - i couldn't open it because i wanted to keep the note she had written on the back of it). i cried that night for the loss.

and then a funny thing happened.

i started getting letters. not email. not phone calls. letters. hand written, telling me about her life, asking questions, being encouraging, agonizing over some things, thankfulness for other things. and in some were pictures. i still have them. from 700 miles away i was watching that sweet little 7th grader become this beautiful young woman. and it blew my mind.

and then, seven or eight years ago, we discover that we have AIM. and we begin talking online. and what was a youth pastor / student relationship began to evolve into a friendship that i value very much. JM hit college and grabbed life by the horns. the more we talked and shared, the more i learned about who she was becoming and her compassion for people, hearing her sensitivity and loving/caring attitude, the more proud i became of her.

meeting her boyfriend (now husband) rob for the first time was a blast. i have no idea what he thought of me but seeing how happy she was with him was all i needed. i can almost guarantee that he was given The Speech ("hurt my little girl and feel my wrath, yada yada") but i don't recall giving it to him.

and then getting to be a part of her wedding a couple years ago - well, that took the cake.

JM continues to become more beautiful, inside and outside. she continues to make me so proud of who she's become, the decisions she's made, the way she loves her man and the way she loves God.

and all this, friends, is part of why i love youth ministry. and JM.


  • At 1:52 PM, Anonymous JM said…

    Aaaawwww! You're going to make me cry and I'm at work!! ;)

    Wow, 13 years really doesn't seem that long given how much fun it's been. I have to say, I don't remember giving the pen and paper, but I still have (and use) your Bible. In fact, that Bible helped to save my sanity that first year in IL. Your friendship, along with a couple others back in MD, helped save my life. That was a tough year (Kids, don't EVER pick up and move when you have a child going through puberty/middle school. The consequences are not pretty). Now, it's hard to be upset at the circumstances that caused us to move to the midwest. After that first year, I made some great friends, went to a fabulous university where I met my husband (who has been my rock through some very difficult issues; talk about being crazy about someone!) and have made my life work.

    AND to top it all off, I'm still friends with the big guy here! :) I'm notoriously bad for moving away and losing touch. But this one stuck, which I'm sure is God's doing. He's cool that way. :)

    Anyway, I've babbled on long enough. Just had to respond and share how much I luvs ya and awesome you AND Lise are.

    p.s. I thought you said you would post a nice picture. I'm sure you have some without my tongue sticking out. :p

  • At 1:54 PM, Anonymous JM said…

    Oh, and I still have my Awanas polo that we didn't want to get. :D


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