Breaking the cycle

I run a youth centre. I love it.

On many nights things run at very superficial levels. Lots of surface talk, joking, establishing safety. The volunteers and myself establish ourselves as a safe place, and by extension the building becomes a safe place for kids.

Friday night was one that went deeper than surface.  I was given access to two different peoples life. I was showed what life was/is like for them.

One was a 20 year old woman. She can’t be called a girl, she has lived too much. The daughter of an addict, sister of an addict, for a time seemed destined to follow that path. Watching her life for 4 years, there was times I was waiting to hear that she was in jail, or worse.

Almost 2 years ago, i got a late night call from her current “other” at the time… She was pregnant. He and I had  established a great friendship, and it felt great that he came to me. Little known to them, my wife and I were also expecting. We were able to share joy, fear, and the blinding anticipation that comes with wondering who this little ball of cells is.

Friday, she told me more of her story. In the context of a drop in, you never usually get the whole story at one time. She told me of being a little girl, seeing Mom covered in her own blood from falling down at the bar. About being 5 or 6 and watching her mom borderline overdose. About on her last birthday her keeping her mom alive as she overdosed… Happy Birthday daughter.

Her mom is sober now, inspired by her daughter. My friend is not perfect, but she showed her mom, that there can be life. That survival isn’t the only option.

If you pray, pray for her Wednesday. She has to go through something no one should. She will survive, but part of her will forever be damaged. Those of us who follow Jesus, we have to make sure she knows she is loved. Pray that we who follow can show her, that she can do more than just exist… that she can thrive. She has trouble believing she can be redeemed. Trouble with the idea that someone else paid her debt… her life, is about not “having to owe anyone anything”.

The second , she talked about the symptoms. Her life is pretty good, by most kids standards. Two loving parents, great family. But her struggle is, she is starting to see her value. She is beginning to see that she has more in her… the light is breaking up the darkness a bit. But to them she is just her, her life is not important.

Quick lession: How to destroy a Teenager in 3 easy Steps

  1. Make them think they are not important
  2. Make them think they are not important
  3. Make them think they are not important

She is destined to break a cycle as well… she will graduate. And will probably go on to do amazing things. But slowly she is starting to think, maybe, just maybe she is wrong. that she is just her.

If you are inclined to pray… pray she will not believe the lie, that she will not be sucked in to the idea that she is not more. Pray that those of us who follow, that we will help shine light into those dark places.


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