Young Lives

Well the holiday’s are finally over & things were quiet around here for about 5 minutes…..then the busy started again!

This past week we had our monthly Young Lives club & as always it was such a special time!

If you’ve never heard me talk about Young Lives, it’s a volunteer-driven, domestic and international missionary organization.  It’s ran by adult volunteers who are concerned enough about teen mom’s & dad’s meet them, on be within their culture, and build bridges of authentic friendship. It’s a time where once a month, these young mom’s and dad’s have the opportunity to come to a safe place, enjoy a hot meal, and build relationships with the mentors & volunteers. The volunteers get to love on their sweet babies while they enjoy some time to hear a message from the bible. We get have a chance to show them the love of God through these simple acts and have the opportunity to speak the Gospel in both word and deed.

We have a huge group of volunteers that put this whole thing together every month! From the cooks, to the driver’s who bring the moms and babies to club & back home after, to child care, to mentors that connect with the girls and checking in with them on a weekly basis, all the way down to the decorating and set up…. which is me!!!!

I started with Young Lives about 4 years ago and I helped with decoration. When we moved away up north I obviously had to leave it and I was so sad to not be able to volunteer anymore. So obviously, the second we moved back the first thing I did was get back involved! My heart cries out for these mom’s & dad’s so loudly so for me, & blessing them with the simplest thing, like decorating tables & a dessert bar is something I look forward too every month!

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When I was 17, I was in a dark place in my life. I Had a boyfriend with whom I had a toxic relationship with, and before I knew it I found myself “in love” and expecting a baby. I didn’t initially have the support of the father, so for a while I was scared & in this crazy situation alone! Growing up as a pastor’s kid, I couldn’t tell my parents in fear of disappointing them. So here I was 17 & pregnant, father wasn’t around, & my friends were off being normal 17 year olds. It was a really scary time!!!! I think back to those days and don’t know how I even managed to get through my days of going to school, cheer practice, and homework, all while trying to hide this huge secret.

That sweet baby went home to be with the Lord before I met him/her, and it took me a lot of years to instead of be angry with God for my loss, know that he had more plans for my life before I became a mom. I know now that Young Lives was something meant for me to be apart of, so I could turn my sorrow into something beautiful by blessing these moms and dads. I know all too well what a lot of them are feeling everyday and that breaks my heart for them, but also just pushes me to make their monthly club as special as possible. So for the few hours they’re there they can just forget about the stress of the world and school and feel blessed. Hopefully they will feel the love of God through what we’re doing and that will turn into them asking more questions about God and starting their walk with him.

So many of these teens are going through what I faced for a short while everyday- scared, maybe alone in their pregnancy, not knowing where their next meal will come from, not having support or help from family, or how they’ll even get through school to graduate. I thankfully had parents who accepted my situation with open and supportive arms, but that’s not always the case for most teen parents, and I can’t imagine going through that area of my life if I hadn’t of had my parents. I hope to show these girls through my story, that even though they might be facing some dark days; God is still there. He’s still watching, & working, & most importantly no matter what, L O V E S them!

That’s where Young Lives comes in, we have opportunity to be that support system for them and try to do life with them as much as we can! Sometimes all you need is an ear, or something to look forward too when life is hard. The volunteers at Young Lives want the best for these mamas and dads and being able to support them and lend a hand is something so little, but in the end could be so impactful for their future!

If you know me at all, you know I LOVE a good party, so when they put me in charge of decorating I was stoked! I am not always the best with expressing myself or talking in front of people, but I can decorate the heck out of tables; and I thought, how amazing it would be to be able to make this place like a fun party every month for these teen mama’s & dad’s! The greatest part about it all is my big kids, Emma 7 & Crew 5, are involved and it’s something special we get to do together every month. They’re still very young, but they understand that we get to throw these fun parties for mommy’s & daddy’s who work really hard and deserve a fun night! My kid’s are very blessed and my husband and I have always tried to teach them about giving back & blessing others. Through Young Lives they are seeing me do this, but also wanting to help me & enjoy making it so special for the other parents! They also get to help in child care with the babies when the mom’s & dad’s hear the message and my little Emma LOVES all the babies!!!! Her heart is so big & she looks forward to helping every month. This love for helping is so strong in their hearts. and I pray that by them seeing me volunteer every month, it will grow deeper in their hearts to bless others so that when they’re older it won’t be” just fun time to help mom decorate” but instead they will feel called to bless others all around them & continue to spread the word and God’s love in the simplest ways.

Trying to find a way to serve God while in the midst of motherhood, with 3 little kids, and working, and homework… it can be super hard at times! Because for me, most days, I feel like I’m called by just being a mom and by doing my best to serve & teach God’s words to my own kids. But being a part of Young Lives, & having my kids serving with me, it’s just become a regular part of our lives. Sometimes the simplest acts of kindness is all God expects from us. For me, to be able to hold a baby so a mama can eat, or hear the message and reflect on the word with the mentors is such a blessing to me. At the end of the day if there’s 30 mom’s, and only 1 leaves with a full belly AND a full heart with the gospel, then it was a job well done! That’s the biggest goal we can have every month is to try and reach at least one heart. One is where it all starts.

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