So back to last night...
We all gathered in a conference room over looking the ocean and sat in a huge circle. There were My mom and I and 22 youth and 13 leaders present. It was sharing time for the week. You see the youth group traveled for over 20 hours in a charter bus from St. Louis to Daytona to come to Church Camp. When I was a leader with the same church group, we had made our first trip to Daytona in 2005. Now, over 7 years later I am back in a room that is familiar with a group of kids that aren't but they are excepting me being there as if I have always been with them.
The night was full of emotion for everyone. These sweet teenagers opened their hearts out and weren't afraid of what people would say. It honestly blew me away, some of things that were shared and it made me hurt to know that they had carried this around with them for so long. Yet, I related to many on what they have been feeling and thankfully they are crying out now, while they are still young, so that they can get the help and support they need.
At one point I took a few moments to share my heart with the group and let them know they are not alone. That God is with them through the hard times and that they need to hold tight to the group. I wish I would have had a youth group like that when I was their age, but looking back now I also know that God had a plan all along for me, just like He has one for them.
I am really looking forward to seeing who will be at church next Saturday, June 21. I told them that if I can get to church from 1000 miles away, then they can get there from across town and I hoped to see each and everyone of them there.
Love, peace and see you next summer!