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Lions and Bears

Have you ever faced something so frightening it stops you in your tracks and paralyzes you in fear? That kind of fear can be crippling to the point it makes the next steps forward feel impossible.

Did you know this is often the kind of fear that grips our young people as they face change, even if the change seems to be “good”. You would think an 18-year-old who doesn’t have a home would be elated to move into a TY home where it’s warm, safe and secure. You would think showing up for work at a new job at a bike or coffee shop for a 15-year-old would be exciting, right?

The truth is, the trauma is so deep, and current life circumstances so chaotic, saying “yes” to even the most basic things, can be like standing before a lion that they feel powerless to defeat.

Some of our young people have never had the security to even “unpack” their clothes long enough to put them in a dresser. Many of these youth have had to live out of a backpack as they have to be ready to run again. Some of our young people have never had stability enough to show up at school for long seasons of time, so how could they show up to work long term?

You see, many of the “ordinary and common” occurrences of our day, very well could be terrifying barriers to youth who have never known safety. How can they know better if no one has ever shown them anything any different? Often times they literally don’t have a grid for anything different.

So how do we serve these young people who see holding a job, working toward their own apartment, or learning to work toward healthy self-sufficiency as impossible? I’m so glad you asked!

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of David and Goliath. There is a little overlooked part of the story that I feel is SO relevant in the story of our own youth. As this young teen boy rushed to the battlefield to take down a giant, he said the reason he could take the giant down is because God allowed him to take down a lion and a bear. I believe if we can show these precious young people they can indeed take down the lions and bears, the giants will come down too!

Sometimes having the courage it takes to say “yes“ to moving into a TY home with total strangers is a lion. Can YOU imagine doing that? Sometimes choosing to stay the course in the program day after day after day is a bear. So what if they learn along the way they can indeed take that lion down? I truly believe when that happens, a supernatural confidence is built up in them as they can then face the bear and eventually, the giants. Our young people are some of the most courageous people I have ever known.

I have often said that showing up for the first day is as much a miracle as finishing the program or graduating the apprenticeship. On this mission field we have to celebrate every single step as a success. It’s in those steps lions and bears are defeated and giants come down.

Please join us in celebrating each step and success in 2023!

Written by, Rhona Mahl, Executive Director of Transitional Youth

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