I missed a day of posting. I honestly feel like my world has been turned on its heels. I wish I could tell you all of it but then we'd be here forever.
I will start with my weekend.
As a chaperon for our Youth Group I went to YC Edmonton. If you have never heard of it, it is the gathering of about 16,000 youth who come together for a weekend to listen to cool rock bands and incredible speakers sing and talk about God. It is overwhelming ... and I don't just mean the volume!
This was my second time there and I honestly hope I can go many more years. Although I do have to admit that my 39 year old body complained more than it did two years ago. However for me there is no replacement for seeing young people in love with Jesus.
I did not grow up a believer. I didn't find The Way until I was
18 years old in university. It is a marvel to me that kids get God. It isn't that I think they aren't smart enough, but I remember my days as a young person and I was so centered on myself and my own world. I do believe this though, with all my heart - if I had been exposed to a stadium filled with young people praising God and striving to hear His voice I would have jumped on the bandwagon immediately.
Folks, if you do not have an immediate connection to the world of teenagers, let me tell you something.
THEY ARE HURTING.
Thousands of youth stood for prayer or for hugs when the speakers talked about past regrets, painful relationships, rape, substance abuse, cutting and family violence. What you see on TV or in the news is happening in the homes of TOO MANY of our young people. Their lives are being splintered by pain and hurts beyond what they think they can bear. It broke my heart. I wanted to hold each and every one of them and tell that God loves them and so do I!
I want to share with you a story. It is one girl who didn't know anyone could love her at all. Her broken home happened suddenly at age 15. She was caught in the middle of a anger driven dispute between her parents. She felt alone. She felt abandoned. She felt guilty.
She reached out to others for help and for encouragement. The only thing was the kids around her were engrossed in their own lives and perhaps their own pain. She soon learned of one segment of the population willing to give her love. The guys.
If you have never experienced that deep seated ache to feel loved you may not understand the lengths our young girls will go to for acceptance and for attention. This girl did. In fact, she did whatever she had to.
The other problem with this method of receiving love from young boys is its brief. Fragmented. Incomplete. Teen guys aren't in it for the long haul. So it becomes similar to a drug addiction. It isn't enough to receive it from one guy. Once he has moved on, she needs to find another guy. And another guy. And another.
(I wish Dads around the world would read this. Your daughter needs to feel she is loved, she is pretty and she is valuable. If YOU (Dad), don't tell her she will find someone else who will. It is a simple fact. But the guy she finds to tell her may not say the right stuff and he often attaches requirements to it.)
DADS STEP UP AND LOVE YOUR DAUGHTERS BEFORE SHE FINDS A TWISTED VERSION SOMEWHERE ELSE!)
Sorry - small little soapbox there.
Anyway back to our girl. She struggled with each relationship that took her deeper into a world of adult situations, sexual favors and perversion. She made so many mistakes and took so many wrong turns that the way she found to receive love actually made her feel even less lovable than before. Now she is floating in a mire of guilt, pain and self-doubt.
Then she gets pregnant. Now our young woman is a disgrace. Or at least she feels like one.
I believe without a shadow of a doubt that this girl could have avoided the pain of rejection, the shame of exposure and the weight of adult problems spread across teen shoulders. All could have been avoided... but sometimes it is our greatest moments of weakness and our deepest pits of despair that lead us to the cross.
Thousands of teenagers were lead to the cross this weekend. Many for the first time. Some will return home to a family that does not embrace God or teach God or even allow God in their homes. If you are a believer I call you to pray. Pray right now for at least one of those kids. You do not have to know their name or their home situation. Just pray because God knows them. Each and everyone of them. He loves them.
Please try to commit to pray more than just now - like every day if you can. However I believe in the power of prayer and if all you can do is pray once, do it. Pray for that young person to have strength and that Satan will not have stolen the seeds that were planted already. If you do not know whatelse to pray, then pray that they would know this:
The past is gone and they are a new creation. Pray that they know they are more than what they've done or said in the past, today and every day in the future.
This band played a side stage at the weekend. It is my prayer that ever person hears their message. That whether you are a believer or you aren't yet - that you understand that You are more than all that because the God of the Universe loves you so much that He died for you.
It is the message that girl needs to hear. I know because it the message that brings peace to my heart and ...
I am her.
If you like the video here are a few more clips to check out. Here. Or here. Or here.
The band told us at the concert that they asked their facebook followers to send in the messages that roll around in their heads that keep them from feeling loved. Then they took those messages sent to them and wrote them on a large chalkboard.
What's your message? What sentence repeats itself over in your head telling you are aren't good enough? What lie are you clinging to?
Write it down somewhere and then watch God erase it as you accept who you are in Him and in His love.