Last week a fight happened after youth service in my home church. One girl fought another and before the night was out it got ugly.
Do I live in NY City? Nope. Big ole Muskogee, Oklahoma. Bible belt. Land of beautiful hills, green pastures, nice friendly people, and lots of tubing and skiing at the lake.
And yet 2/3rds of the youth that come to our services deal with things that would be at home in any larger city -- addiction, parents who are absent, home life that is a hard place to be, and more.
Last week part of the youth were worshiping God. I read their xangas and they talked about a service that was awesome, about the places they went after service to eat, and the friends they hung out with. Because the drama was taking place outside, very few youth knew what was going on and I'm grateful for that.
But as I prayed about this situation I thought about the two girls who started the whole fiasco. One comes faithfully. She doesn't pretend to worship God, but in our conversations I hear a hunger for something real and spiritual. Her mom kicked her out at 15 and she lives with a friend and her mom. She doesn't have the money to buy the clothes she'd like to wear, so she gets creative and her clothes and hair are her artwork -- pieces of this and that with some black nail polish thrown in.
The other girl hasn't talked about her past, but she's 13 going on 35. She's already cynical about life. She came to church with a friend. That friend stopped coming, but she's still there week after week.
I wish I could reach these two girls. They like me. They trust me. They know my faith is real. They don' t mind if I sit with them and they are open to a hug and a word of encouragement and a conversation, but I've noticed that it is the adults who reach out to them.
I wonder what would happen if someone their own age sat next to them. Not anything earth shattering -- not trying to change them or make a big deal out of it, but just sit next to them in service.
What would that do? Would that put someone in their corner that worshiped God during service? Would that help them to know how to pray if they wanted to talk to God? Would it give them incentive to stay during the entire service, rather than being drawn out by the others who sit alone?
I don't know the answer to that. All I know is last week two girls found themselves alone and angry in a parking lot, and I'm asking God for answers on how to love them and reach them right where they are.
I realize that they have problems and that some teens don't feel equipped or know the right words to day. But I don't think these girls are looking for someone to fix them.
Maybe all that is needed is someone their own age to ask them to sit by them and their friends during service.
Maybe that would be a beautiful act of worship -- the same as praising and lifting your hands -- as you reach out to someone who is looking for God and not real sure how to find him -- yet.
How do I know this? I was once a girl just like them.
visit Suzie's website at http://realteenfaith.blogspot.com