Friends, I can’t even wait to tell you about what I just experienced.
Have you ever prayed, “Lord, break my heart for what breaks Yours?” Then, time goes on and you feel nothing? I have.
Today was different. Not only did the Lord break my heart for high school students in Reynoldsburg, I also have a renewed desire to share Jesus with the community. (In case you are a new reader to my blog- I lead Young Life in Reynoldsburg, Ohio!)
Last week, someone in the community reached out to my Young Life team, seeking volunteers for an event at the high school called Point Break. (Point Break is not associated with Young Life.) The program attempts to improve the behaviors, values and attitudes of high school students in their schools and communities, intervening before acts of hatred, violence or self-harm occur. Basically, kids sit around and share their feelings. As a result, relationships are forged and reconciliation begins. I really didn’t know what I was getting in to, but I agreed to volunteer.
On a side note, I am taking the easiest course-load of my life. I only have “real” class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Public Speaking (which I adore), Crisis Communication, Beer and Wine Tasting (online) and Chocolate Science make up my last semester at The Ohio State University. And yes, you read that correctly… I am taking a class about chocolate. Anyway, I have a lot of extra time on my hands; I knew the Lord could use this experience with Point Break to create relationships with kids.
And oh boy, did He.
I left campus at 7 a.m., nervous for the day ahead. I walked in to the school with the hope that I wouldn’t fall asleep during the presentations. After being mistaken for a high schooler three times, I found Matt (one of the guys in charge of the program). He explained my role was to join the high school students during the activities and lead a small group discussion. The students move through a variety of games (like Young Life Club games), small group discussions, teaching segments and times of personal reflection. It blew my mind what these kids shared.
I have never seen such obvious brokenness in my life. During the small group breakout session kids shared how they turned to drugs, alcohol, self-harm and bullying to numb the pain in their lives. Stories of murder, prison, rape, suicidal thoughts, death of family members, drug addictions and loss of hope were shared during this time.
It took everything in me not to scream, “Y’ALL NEED JESUS!” Okay- so that may be a little bias… but these kids need hope! They participated in an activity where students spread out on a “line” across the gym. The speaker would read a statement; if that applied to your life you were asked to “cross the line.” An example of this would be- “Cross the line if you have ever been a victim of cyber bullying.” The questions ranged from very serious to light-hearted. With every step a high schooler took, my heart broke a little more.
Here are some things I noticed:
1. Almost every girl crossed the line when asked if they feel they are not beautiful.
Do these girls know they are fearfully and wonderfully made by our Creator? (Psalm 139:14) Most of them don’t; I can’t wait to tell them.
2. Almost every boy crossed the line when asked if they feel they are not masculine enough.
Do these boys know they don’t need to be strong on their own? They are made blameless and strong through the battle fought by Christ! (Ephesians 6:10)
3. More than 60 percent of kids crossed the line when asked if they are raised by a single parent/their parents are separated/they have never met one of their biological parents.
Do these kids know they have a loving Father in Heaven that will NEVER leave them? (Psalm 58:5-6)
4. The number of kids who were victims of sexual or domestic abuse was ASTOUNDING.
Do these students know they are meant for so much more in life?
The list could go on and on! I fell in love with these students today! I was so broken-hearted by what I heard that I actually sat, crying, in my car for about 30 minutes. Oh, how the Lord broke my heart for what breaks His. Finally, after a long prayer, I reached out to a friend who spoke Truth into my life. He reminded me that the world is full of broken people but their is great hope!
I feel incredibly blessed to pray for these kids. Would you care to join me?