Her Ever-growing Tribe

By Maddie Young

“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” - Desmond Tutu

{tribe:// any aggregate of people united by ties of descent from a common ancestor, community or customs and traditions, adherence to the same leaders, etc}

Golden sunflowers. Pastel colored lavender. Champagne and baby pink zinnias. Fiery red coneflowers. Multicolor dahlias. Petite white daisies and tiny buttercups. Potent eucalyptus seeds. Sprigs of caspia bent every which way. All dancing gaily in the wind. Buzzing bumblebees gliding from one nectar home to the other. Fuzzy caterpillars slowly advancing across the ridged emerald green leaves. Butterflies fluttering across the fields. Lightening bugs floating on a breeze. It was near time for sunset. A unique blend of colors smeared across the once blue canvas. Tangerine orange with a splash of purple. Cotton candy colors swirled in the mix. Cool air was settling in. Replacing the humid, sticky feel of a typical summer day. There was a slight breeze drifting in and out, which made the night slightly more refreshing. The dark cedar pergola sat at the top of the hill overlooking the luscious garden. Hearty veggies on one side and rows of perennials to the other. Vintage bulb string lights intertwined tiger orange marigold garland creating a canopy of twinkling stars. Buckets of freshly picked flowers scattered around in the newly cut grass. An elderly barn off in the distance. Faint animal noises could still be heard. Dogs running around wagging their tails. Their happiness couldn't be tamed after waiting a week to play with their other puppy friends. The long whitewashed farm table with extended bench seats placed under the canopy just so. Intricately designed cloth napkins placed delicately atop the statement colored plates. Simple arrangements in various colored bottles and mason jars line the center of the table. Even a few cacti and succulents mixed in. A Mexican style table runner directly down the center. There was a plethora of color. 

It was taco Tuesday. Her favorite day of the week. Crunchy corn taco shells and creamy white queso. Freshly made guacamole and slightly spicy salsa made with recently picked veggies and herbs. Warm tortilla chips recently removed from the oven. The aroma of ground beef and shredded chicken tickling the hungry young girl's nose. Shredded cheese and snow white sour cream. Crunchy leafy lettuce and vine ripen tomatoes. Pitchers of freshly brewed tea and recently squeezed lemonade. All the basic mega Mexican fiesta essentials. Scattered across the table. Of course with every hearty meal, sweet decadent treats followed as a cherry on top of a mountainous ice cream sundae. 

Taco tuesday not only meant delicious food but exquisite friends. Precious, spirit filled souls congregated around the extended table. Before each meal hands were linked taking turns asking the blessing. The young girls catch up on the week’s events and discuss any exciting upcoming news. Pure sunshine radiating from their faces while laughing uncontrollably. Of course the typical silly faced pictures were taken and corny jokes were shared. Before the sun tucked in to sleep, each girl picked up their plastic buckets and woven baskets to pluck the week’s harvest. It was always a joyous occasion. 

Soaking up all the vivacious vibes, the young girl is reminded of the numerous blessings her Heavenly Father graced her with. She had prayed and prayed and prayed. God had far exceeded her expectations when He placed these special people in the young girl’s life. Each of these precious souls have been such a blessing and a huge part of the young girl’s recovery and life. 

Jordan Dooley seemed to sum it up perfectly for the young girl. “I admire and love these women so much. Their bold hearts for the Lord, humble spirits, and tender love for others pours out from every single angle of their souls. I'm so grateful for weekends full of love and community. Getting to do life with people where the Spirit is always active, present and welcome, where laughter and dance parties are never in short supply, and where real, messy and simple life is lived and loved with such overflowing joy and gratitude is an absolute gift. This is church. This is the kind of church that we so desperately need -- the kind that reaches out, invites in, and always makes room in the circle… the kind that sits together, shares together, eats together, and celebrates each other.” This is the life the young girl’s Father is teaching her to embrace. 

Growing up, her momma always said, “it takes a village,” and she never fully understood what it meant until she was older. The countless mother figures and added siblings creating a dysfunctional family. Friendships coming and going through various chapters of life. Separate states proving that love has no boundaries. Hardships and glorious celebrations. Tragedy and disastrous moments. Light of new beginnings and hope for what the future holds. Every element contributing to the person she is. Throughout her journey Jesus has been evident even in the darkest of moments. 

The historic African proverb states, “it takes a village to raise a child.” Looking around at the exquisite environment Jesus had created, she was grasping how the proverb fit into her life. One earthly person couldn't even begin to instill so much wisdom and truth into another's life. Her Heavenly Father brings each discipline to the young girl to teach her, love her, support her or even hurt her. Positive outcomes or not each person continues to shape, mold, and reveal to the young girl who Jesus created her to be. 

This was her tribe. 

Maddie Young

Maddie Young