To the weary youth leaders and pastors please don't give up

Picture a little girl.
Stringy, unbrushed, blonde hair and big blue eyes. 
She's a tiny girl, a girl with rapid feet and a fragile heart. 
She's a girl with secrets and scars so deep that they leap to the surface disguised as mischief and trouble. 
She's the girl with a broken home, a broken heart, and a broken future as far as anyone can see. 

There are not many who take the time for her or have any hope for her. 
She's holding tightly to the anchor of the fierce love of her earthly father and the attention she gets from being a little too loud, a little too wild, and a little too messy. 
She's sweet but so full of spice. 
She looks like a habanero pepper dipped in sugar and she spends her youth being treated that way too. 
People get close but never close enough to feel the heat for too long. 

That little girl was me. 
That is the little girl that is coming to your youth group every Wednesday night.
That is the girl who feels utterly hopeless. 
A lost cause. 

But she's not!
Just like I was not! 

When you see that girl or boy each week that sneaks off into the dark hallways, the one that jokes and laughs through the whole talk, and the one that you are inches away from casting out. 

Remember that she is me. 
Remember how far and wide and deep God's grace and mercy reaches.
Remember how achingly He loves her. 
Remember redemption and love isn't reserved only for those who are "close enough".

What you are doing, each and every week, is for her. 

Those kids that seem the farthest, the ones that seem too broken, or too messy, those are the ones who you are doing this for. 
Those are the kids who, by the grace of God, are going to understand just how far God has brought them. 
Like me, they will look back and be blown away at just how deep God was willing to dive in to save them. 

What you are doing matters. 

It matters more than you will see. You have the hardest job, in my opinion, because you give and give and you rarely ever see the fruit. But I promise you, there will be more fruit than you could have ever imagined. 

So keep singing about bushy tailed squirrels, keep eating wasabi by the spoonful to make them laugh, keep checking those dark hallways, and keep sharing the love of Christ. 

Whatever you do, please don't give up!

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