For such a time as this (2/6/17)

I've had multiple people look at me wide-eyed for wanting to work with boys who have sexually harmed. They don't understand it. Why would you want to be around that all day? ....Be around what? Broken people? I want to be around it because these are human beings that deserve someone to listen to them and hear their stories. Did you know research shows that the rate of reoffending after treatment is only between 5 and 14 percent? So between 86 and 95 percent of adolescents that sexually harm will never do it again. Yet, the stigma on them is huge. People avoid these kids like the plague. They are disgusted by them.

I don't feel disgust when I look at them. I see kids who honestly, for the most part, are grossed out by themselves. They are so broken and their lives are so chaotic that they don't even know where normal is. When these kids are charged, they have a sentence that follows them the rest of their lives. And most of these kids were victimized, taken advantage of, shown what they should not have been shown, and unprotected. Some statements I have heard so far- "I haven't had many happy moments in life" "I can't forgive myself for letting myself be abused" "I don't know if my dad even cares what happens to me" "Everyone in my family has been abused, and now I abused someone too" just to name a few. They don't sound so different than many of us. They struggle with self image. They wonder if they can have a different life than generations before them. They want to be liked. They're busy trying to make a name for themselves. They're terrified they don't have what it takes.

That's why I work with them. Because people never outgrow the need to be heard and seen. I want to hear them and see them. I don't want to shriek away. I want them to know people can see all sides of them and still love them and see worth in them.

It's not a burden I'm forcing myself to do. It's  a pleasure. I come alive to be a part of their lives and they make mine more meaningful.

Today, I can't be eloquent. Too much in one day. Honestly, I laughed so hard today that my face hurts from laughing. Laughing at how goofy and full of it these kids (at my internship) can be. They truly say the darnedest things. Then I spent time with one of my youth girls. She always surprises me, in a good way. Then it was pouring rain and we went to a puppy class. Eventful indeed. My life is full. I have no room to complain. Time to watch This Is Us and decompress.

We are such seriously fickle people. How often our words about desire and belief don't match our actions. I am a part of this group. We want to be closer to God--yet we open up our social media sites and spend hours in front of Netflix and don't spend time talking to our Savior or opening His Word. We want to surround ourselves with positive people-- yet we don't separate from the negative ones. We know we need Christian community-- but we won't put ourselves out there. We say we want to feel like we have a purpose-- yet we have a list of things we tell God we simply won't do.

I'm not going to lie, I carry too much of the burden for these things in other people's lives. I get frustrated with kids in the youth group (for example) and I think to myself that if only I did more, they would get it. But, the truth is, I can't change hearts. I lie to myself so often, too. I want to be so willing to look myself in the face and refuse to be mediocre. If I don't want to follow Jesus, then let me just say that. I have nothing to prove. Help me, Lord, not to try and take your place. Help me release your people to you & help me to live an authentic, active, faith.

"For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" -Esther 4:14
You may be thinking, "Huh?" So, let me provide some context. Esther (a Jew, but no one knows this) becomes a queen to the King of Persia by some very random events. The king is a jerk and one of his advisors is also a jerk who happens to hate Jews. He demands everyone bow to him, but Esther's uncle, a faithful Jew, won't. So, Haman (the jerky advisor) gets the king to agree to set a decree for the destruction of all Jews across the kingdom. So Mordecai (the faithful uncle) tells his niece to beg the king to spare them. However, if anyone approaches the king without him extending his scepter, they get the death sentence immediately. So, Esther's not crazy about this idea. The above verse is Mordecai's response to her.

This matters because of two things. 1) He knows God is going to save the Jews, whether Esther plays
a part in it or not. He's not shaken when it comes to the promises of God. Impressive. 2) He knows that God is sovereign and provident and that there's a very high likelihood that her rags to riches story has eternal significance.

We could all use a little more Mordecai-like faith in our lives. I have had several conversations this week around the topic of using our influence and current locations. I just feel so convicted and inspired about it. Wherever you are, it IS for such a time as this. This world is a battleground. No one should be sleeping. It also has me thinking about what that influence and placement may be for me. I feel like I need to confess it, but I was looking at further education possibilities online yesterday. I'm embarrassed because of how much I have been complaining about being in school and how deeply i have been yearning to be away from it. At the same time, I have some big, visionary ideas about therapy, the foster care system, missional living in the church, ect. and I can't help but wonder if part of being able to speak into these broader systems is continuing my education. Either way, I'll probably wait a few years before pursuing anything. It's just weird because I can honestly say it's not about the status or title whatsoever, and that feels good. I know the passions in my heart are for such a time as now and I don't want to waste them. I know he will show me where to step and when.

It feels more real today. We are so close! Our last training done, and now just for home inspections. We are unsure of where God is leading. In some sense, we have less direction than before. We do feel pretty strong about siblings, but learned we can probably take up to four kids based on room space. I'm open, Lord. I love the boys he has put in our path-- but I am not sure they are to be our children. Please pray with us that God would guide us and make us see what He sees.

Why is it so easy to focus on the hard and miss the beautiful? I refuse to conform to this. So, tonight I watched teenagers delight to worship God. I watched high school girls rally around one another for the cause of forgiveness. And, overall, I get the awesome privilege of pouring into the lives of these kids (who drive me crazy but I would jump in front of a bus for all of them).


  1. In response to your comments about furthering your education. First, I would love to hear your ideas - I work in an organization with big, big ideas, and I might be able to make some connections for you. Second, I'm not going to say that more education wouldn't be beneficial, I'm just telling you that it probably isn't necessary. Knowing what you have already done and your capabilities I think you just need to keep asking God for the right moment and the right connections to move those dreams forward. Sometimes I think we feel that the world will see us as inadequate, but the beauty is that God doesn't care what the world thinks, and he makes divine appointments all the time without having the "proper" qualifications in place first.

    Besides all of that - I love your heart, and I love reading your updates, even when I'm drastically behind on my reading :)

    1. Thanks for the encouragement! I'd love to talk ideas sometime :) Love you so!


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