A friend recently scanned and posted some old youth group photos on facebook. It was a shock to sign in and see my 15-year-old self looking back at me from my computer screen. Please allow me to introduce her:
At fifteen, I was involved in a Christian drama group. We’d go to churches and camps and perform a piece designed to tell the story of man’s sin and Christ’s sacrifice, and we would usually sing a few songs and share our testimonies. There were around 30 of us who were actively involved in this ministry throughout my freshman year of high school, and we really hit our stride in the summer of 2001. We were just a group of kids, ages 12 to 20, empowered by our families and our community to be a part of this amazing outreach. We touched lives, or rather, God touched lives through us. There’s no question.
I can remember so clearly the feeling of that summer, of listening to the testimonies of my friends, of laughing and crying and laughing again. We shared everything. That summer, I had 30 best friends, and we spent those sunny months traveling around our state, just a bunch of kids who were completely on fire for God.
Fall came, and some of us left for college, and we began to struggle. There was no clear leadership. Though we stayed friends, the heady feeling from that summer was gone. Our ministry fizzled out. We grieved for it, and we still grieve. I think back, nearly ten years later, on that time when we so clearly felt the Holy Spirit moving, and I think how much more could have been done through us.
My own relationship with God has wavered in the years since. I went to college and did not have a real understanding of the importance of fellowship and of staying in His Word, and I allowed myself to get incredibly lazy in my walk with God. It’s only recently, now that I am back around family and attending church regularly and helping with local youth, that I feel like I am growing in the Lord again. Slowly but surely, I am being shaped into the woman He wants me to be. It’s quite a process, and it’s hard sometimes, but I know I will come out of it looking more like Him.
For several years now, I’ve been feeling a subtle pull towards youth ministry, and lately this pull has intensified. I don’t have a clear direction at this point, but I have a heart for teens. I was incredibly blessed to have the support system and the network of friends I had as a teenager, but I know that not everyone has that. I’d love to see kids on fire for God the way we were that summer. I’d love to see them experiencing Him, serving Him, serving others. I’d love to see blessings falling down all around us.
I know that this space is normally pretty frivolous, and I wasn’t even intending on writing all of this. I just thought it might be fun to share some pictures of myself as a teenager, but then I realized that I can’t talk about myself at that age without talking about the drama ministry. God was working on me then, and thankfully, He’s still working on me now!
One more, for fun:
God has blessed me with beautiful memories.