The fire crackled and cast an orange glow on their faces. The small group of girls were gathered, sharing vulnerably about their struggles and hurts. As each teen spoke carefully, those listening nodded at some points and silently acknowledged shared pain at others. The time came for 14-year old Sophie* to share. She took a shaky breath before beginning.
An annual retreat at a Back2Back site recently brought together teens from a number of homes with the vision of bonding them together under their one, true identity –children of Christ. One of the children’s homes sent 15 teens to the retreat, and Sophie was attending for the first time. She spent the entire weekend soaking up lessons and words from those around her.
“I feel very frustrated that I’m distracted so easily,” she admitted. “It causes problems in school, but what hurts the most is hearing my peers say I won’t be successful because I can’t learn.” She breathed a sigh of relief at sharing so openly with others, then picked up a piece of wood sitting at her feet. She wrote her struggles down in neat, clear handwriting before allowing her small group to pray she would feel held in Jesus’ arms, safe, and successful. Then, she triumphantly threw the log on the fire. She looked at Alejandra, a Back2Back staff member, and whispered, “Ale, I feel free.”
The following morning, Sophie took a bold step and was baptized. Afterward, she hugged those present, thanking them for being a part of this decision. “I’m really excited for this step, because I know Jesus will help me and remain beside me in my struggles.”
We all grow when we take risks. Does something come to mind when you think about taking a risk this week? Share about something difficult with a trusted friend? Forgive someone who has hurt us or ask forgiveness for what we’ve done to someone else?
Let’s make a step, let’s take a risk.
*Names have been changed to protect the identities of children.