When I first met Stephanie, I could tell two things: 1) like most middle schoolers, she was a little insecure, and 2) she wasn’t a “girly-girl.” As a matter of fact, she identified as gay, always had her hair pulled back in a short pony tail, and wore big, baggy clothes.
As I got to know her, I was surprised to find out how funny she was. She was also very sweet and opened up about her life pretty easily. I learned that she lives in a small, two-bedroom apartment with her mom (who is on dialysis), her mom’s boyfriend (who she doesn’t get along with), and her grandma (that has dementia). She also told me she had two siblings, but they’re dead because her mom aborted them. She shares a room with her grandma and sleeps on the floor.
As a result, Stephanie does not like being home so she attends the Catalyst afterschool program every day. She also attends our partner youth group at Crossbridge on Fridays where YFC Staffer Kevin is the youth pastor. She attended the Catalyst Summer Day Camp and the one-week, sleepaway YFC camp.
During camp, I observed how Stephanie befriended all the kids who were “different” and, therefore, being ignored by the rest of the kids. I told her that I could see God had gifted her with a heart for the marginalized. I also helped her pick out a haircut that suited her style & personality (a bob cut with long bangs on one side). It was so fun to see her come to back to school with a “new look,” and it really boosted her confidence. Since then, she’s really started to come out of her shell and is asking more questions, meeting new people, and being more open.
When we see Stephanie, we look past her short hair, baggy clothes, and insecurities. We see what she can become and try to encourage her – and her peers – to reach their God-given potential. When we look at them through God’s eyes, He gives us 2020 vision for who they really are!
P.S. Would you like to hear YFC stories live? Come to our Be the Story 2020! Email [email protected] for more information.