18-year-old Shayla came to us from a long way off. A thousand miles away from “home” and equally as far from any semblance of hope. Shayla didn’t trust anyone. Why would she, after all she had been through? Abused, abandon and told she was worthless ever since she could remember. No child…ever…should experience this kind of pain.
Some of the young people who come to us have visible scars. Others have scars they have learned to hide, and others have scars so deep they will never been seen. Shayla has them all. Each scar, some seen, some unseen, holding another reason to believe the lies she has been told her entire life, so much so, she began inflicting scars on herself…deep and jagged wounds from the whispers of self-hatred and the desperate cries for help.
Words fall short in times like this They simply can’t convey the impossible mission God has us on, that ONLY is possible with HIM. He is the one who said He will never leave nor forsake us, so how do we tell this young girl to trust a God she says she has never seen? And to believe in a love that she says she has never experienced? All we can do is love her like He has loved us, and to flood her with the truth of her value. She is precious in His sight!!!
Shayla recently chose to be baptized. Tiny step after tiny step, and the greatest courage imaginable to yield to this amazing love that will heal every wound and set her heart free to be the young woman she is meant to be.
Just like with each of our young people, Shayla’s story isn’t over yet. She comes in and out of such deep pockets of pain it’s utterly crippling at times. But we are there. Because Jesus is there, and HE is our strength too. So Shayla once again finds the courage to take another tiny step that leads to another tiny step.
So often we look for those “happy endings” rather than simply make an unwavering commitment to walk this journey out for the long haul. Friends, this is messy work, just like this life is messy. But we are committed to the missionary work of this community with these young people. To love them and speak the truth over their lives as they whisper courageous prayers and allow us to walk alongside them as they cry through their healing.
Thank you for walking alongside us as we walk alongside them.