Stephanie* tells me her story…it’s filled with pain and hurt inflicted on her by the ones that should love her the most. I hear the pain in her voice but she seems to brush it off…pretending that its not really that bad. She’s coping or surviving. My heart breaks for her. What she has experienced in 14 years of life is hard to swallow. She’s a child but at the same time she is beyond her years. Later while playing a game at camp…she laughs and smiles. She’s having fun but her story is always there under the surface.
Strangely, she is not alone. In our large group…there a handful of girls whose stories make me want to weep. Junior high girls broken by the world. One girl asks me why God would let a man rape a woman…what would lead a young girl to ask this question?
What can we tell them and how can we help them?
I don’t think the four spiritual laws are enough for these girls. (I don’t think the four spiritual laws are enough for me.) Before I expand on this- let me clarify- I believe salvation for these girls is enough…and attainable…a gift. But in my experience these girls will not suddenly become church girls. Not because they don’t want to…but because they don’t know how…and because they don’t know how to let Jesus’ healing power heal their deep brokenness.
So, the gospel message is enough for their eternity…but I believe it can be more powerful than just that in their life. We must repeat over and over the power of it. We must speak it over and over again. We must not grow tired of speaking it. We must not get discouraged when they don’t change their language, their clothes and even their behavior. We can’t give up.
They need to know that Jesus heals. Jesus loves. Jesus saves. Jesus offers us more…and better life.
He transcends the pain. He is not the one who inflicts pain. He is gentle. He cares for the broken and the outcast. Yes, He is radical, strong but he is gentle and loving.
Honestly, they can’t hear it enough. They are messy and they make ministry messy. They cuss in front of all the wrong people…they wear clothes that make you blush. BUT THEY NEED THE CHURCH…AND THE CHURCH NEEDS THEM!
Be the church that welcomes the girls who no one else will welcome because of their baggage and their pain. Be the church that shows them the true Jesus.
I am not giving up on these girls…I hope you won’t either.
*Name changed to protect a girl who has already been hurt by others.