A Full Circle Story…
What does it actually look like to “walk” with hurting teenagers? Like in a feet on the ground, day-to-day relationship way? This is a question I have been reflecting on a lot lately. As I have reflected, a memory with Kelly* from this summer at Adventure Camp comes to mind.
God was proud to show off his extravagant beauty through the backdrop he provided for a conversation with Kelly, a teenager involved in our Full Circle program. Sitting in the foothills of the Beartooth Mountains in Wyoming, with the “lampfire” casting its warm glow, and best of all– the night sky was crystal clear, blanketed with millions of stars as far as you could see. Can you picture it? This was the backdrop to the most important invitation God would ever ask Kelly. “Will you walk with me?” As Kelly and I discussed God’s unconditional love, Kelly responded with the question, “If Jesus will be my friend and always listen, then yes, I want to have relationship with him.” The significance of this response is understood only when you know the context of Kelly’s story. We have been journeying alongside Kelly for a few years and any time Jesus was brought up, she was quick to say others can believe in Him, but that stuff is not for me. The difference in her response at Adventure Camp not only showed God had softened her heart, but it also gave an inside glimpse of deep hurts in her life. Thankfully, through repeated verses in God’s word, I could respond to her with a confident YES! Jesus will gladly be your friend and he is EAGER to listen to you (Revelation 3:20; Isaiah 65:24; Psalm 18:6; Psalm 139:4; John 15:15).
This story doesn’t give a complete answer to what it looks like to walk with hurting teenagers, yet it does reveal the importance to partner with the Holy Spirit in divine appointments, to remain hopeful, to pray hard since God is the one who is faithful in changing hearts, to consistently remind teenagers the truth of how much they are loved (you never know when they might be listening and soaking those words in), and to provide environments with other teenagers like them where they feel known and supported.
Thanks for walking with us,
*Names have been changed for privacy