We have recently started a second girls' group. It was by the grace of God that this group formed. I did not go out seeking them, but God started sending these older girls to our teen group. Recognizing that their needs are vastly different from the 12-15 year olds I work with, we decided to form a new group. This one is for older girls, still or their teens or early twenties. Some of these girls are moms of one or two kids. We were blessed to have two women at Contact step up and agree to mentor these girls. The group is still in the early stages - just one or two young women each time - but I feel a stong sense that God is working here.
Last Tuesday I had a chance to visit with one of the young women. She has two small children, is living on her own, dropped out of school, no job...a hard situation indeed. She was very downcast all evening. She confided that her brother was recently shot "over colors" (gang stuff). He is recovering, but she is too scared to return to her apartment. If she had been home, she believes the shooting would have happened there. "What about my kids?" she worried. Later she also told me that her babies' daddy was sent to jail last week. She is staying in a crowded house with his family, trying to figure out what to do, where to go... We prayed together. I said things I hoped were helpful, praying all the while that God would put words in my mouth. How hard it is to respond to a situation I can barely grasp, a hopelessness I have never felt!
Later a visited with one of the mentors for this older group. When I told her how discouraged this young woman was on Tuesday, her response surprised me at first. "Good, that's good...maybe she'll be scared enough to make some real changes now". The more I thought about it, the more I heard the wisdom of her remarks. This young woman has had plans before - school, job training, new apartment - but they all fizzled. Now she is at a place to make some real changes. It's no small thing to change your friends, your apartment, your environment, but I believe that is what she needs in order to step out of the life she is in and into the life God is calling her to. Sometimes being scared is a good thing. Thankfully, this young woman has some people who really care about her, who want to help her make changes, who love her where she is, and seek to offer her a hand of hope. Please pray for this young woman and pray for the wisdom of those who seek to offer both truth and grace.