Youth group. Who in the world came up with such a bland name? I donít know much about youth groups as I only went twice my entire High School years. But never the less the name needs improving. See, I was a girl that on Monday mornings everyone talked about. You know conversations, Ďthere is no way she actually did thatí or ĎI saw Jenny and guess what she was doing or who she was with.í Iím sure you know girls like I was, or you may even be one yourself.
Girls like me, somewhere received a hurt inside them that they try to fix, usually in the wrong ways. Before I knew it, I lost myself and all I had left was a mess. I decided if I was going to be talked about I might as well go as far as I could to give them something to talk about. I did, over and over. But in the middle of the night I would cry and think ďcould I be different, how, is it too lateĒ?
That is when somehow I decided to go to a youth group, I went looking for hope. Instead, all I received was nothing. It was like I wasnít even there. No one spoke, no one asked my name, nothing. The youth minister must have noticed me because the next Friday night at a football game he saw me in the parking lot, drinking. He came over to tell me I was going to hell. True, but he didnít offer me an alternative. He just wanted to let me know how hopeless I was. The funny thing was, I already knew that!
A couple of years went by, and I found myself at the end of me. I had recently lost a good friend who died in a car wreck. I had been arrested for shoplifting and my friends because of some things I had done, deserted me. I didnít know who I was anymore. All I knew is all I had done. For some reason I went back to the youth group and it was pretty much a repeat of before. I wasnít wanted there, I was too much of a ďyouth groupĒ outcast. What was so sad is some of the same people sitting there would have hung out with me at a party. But not at youth group.
Why, because many times youth groups define teens by their past and present. When actually we all should define each other as teens that need Godís grace and mercy! Thatís what I needed, grace because I knew I didnít fit in, but I wanted what they had, hope. Mercy, I needed a whole heap of mercy but you know what so did they. We are all the same, we all need Jesus. They just happened to have him but didnít want to share!
Maybe they didnít know what to do with me, and you may be thinking of a gal in your group that you donít know what to do with. Look her in the eye and smile. Simple, right? But hard to do. Reach out because I believe most gals who show up at a youth event no matter what you have heard, are desperate for some hope. You have that hope and it all starts with you being brave enough to look at them and smile!
Just in case youíre wondering, I was 21 before I tried again. This time they offered me Jesus and he gave me hope!
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3