Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Right now I am torn about what to write about. I have so much left to talk about my vacation and I also have a huge recap post for King's Fest but I have really been feeling a burden the past week or so and I need to talk about that.

This really isn't a new burden but lately it has really been pressing hard on me. I am up late into the night, awake in the middle of the night, up early in the morning, and consumed with it all day long lately. I am constantly reminded of this and brought to the verge of tears regularly.

The burden is my teens. I am always worried for them, for their poor decision making habits, for the seeming lack of interest in holiness, for all the things I cannot change, and for their relationships with parents.

I keep getting the same stories. So many live in houses that are not homes. They live with adults that are not parents.

The people that should be parents fail to see just how much it hurts when they worry too much about being a friend, or use hurtful things to make their "child" behave. I see my students hurting time and time again with the same thoughts. No one cares.

I go to them and let them know I care. I don't just offer them empty words but I dedicate my time to listen to them and pray with them. I try to never say "I'll pray about that," because I'll forget. I know myself well enough to know that. Instead I ask them if we can pray and then we do. Increasingly they see that I do genuinely care, but there is just not enough of me.

I cannot be what the parents need to be. I just don't have the time to be that for 50+ students. I honestly don't know what to do.

Our church is seriously struggling right now. The youth is growing is leaps and bounds but the rest of the church is atrophying. I have a few workers and they are doing an amazing job, but I need more. Right now the church is drowning financially because of some selfish individuals that caused a church split. They caused significant harm to the church and to my youth.

I am full of worry and anger and I see a need that is far to big for me.

Right now I need prayer. My church needs prayer. My students need prayer.

Please don't tell me you are going to pray, instead take a moment right now to pray. If you can remember, or if you have a prayer list then please use that as well.

8 comments:

Marni said...

Hey Nick,

I'm so sorry. The pain you must see and then take on...well, I can't imagine. God bless you for loving these kids and trying to fill in the gaps for the love and care they aren't getting anywhere else.

I'm in a similar situation at my church. It's painful and most days I battle such anger and bitterness, that if I don't pray it away immediately, it can become very consuming. Before writing this, I prayed for you. I prayed for your stamina, your continued pouring out of yourself onto your kids and all the gross feelings that come along with church splits and conflicts.

I'll keep praying even after I hit the "publish your comment" button. You have my word.

Beth said...

Nick. Just prayed for you, your church, the kids...and will continue to do so.

I know how overwhelming working with kids/youth can be. So many days I just had to do the best I could and trust that God loves every single child and teen more than I could ever imagine. That doesn't take away the worry and pain of watching them suffer the consequences of sin and bad decisions on the part of their parents and others, but as much as God is loving, He is also just. I had to trust in that, too, when I felt like smacking some parents in the head. So keep loving our God and loving the kids. You are probably a far bigger role model to them than you realize. Wish I had better words for this kind of thing, it's a struggle.

Holly Brennan said...

Dude. I'm totally right there with you. I work with the youth group at my church, and I see all that you were talking about. I see those who are devoted and definitely following God against all odds. I see the ones getting made fun of by their own families, and I see those who are merely left to flounder. I see those who just get to the point of being like, I'm done with this. No support, dealing with triteness and legalism.

Yeah.

I'll join you as part of the knee brigade. I think I may wear mine out shortly.

Candace Jean July 16 said...

As soon as I read your title I was praying - it was a red flag you usually don't display. I've prayed for you and read through this twice. Now as I type I'm crying and praying (God must love my tears - he gifted me with so many).

My heart breaks for these kids, and yet I wonder how often myself I was one of those adults instead of a mom, in a house that wasn't a home, despite having a loving, kind husband and all the support in the world. I, too, worry about poor decision making, narcissism, and lack of a close personal relationship with God with one of my children. And I pray he doesn't feel as lost as he appears to his mother.

Thank you, Nick. You have made a difference in many lives but it may be a while before that is apparent to you. This may feel too big for you but it's not too big for God. He's got you - and them.

Claire said...

Nick; you moved me to pray... properly pray for you and the stuff you mentioned there... which is something I find hard to do.

So you have my word that I prayed for you, am still praying as I type and will keep doing so as long as I remember (I like to think that if God wants me to pray for something, he'll remind me!!)

It will be OK, I know it.

C x

Nick the Geek said...

Marni,
Fortunately the worst of the pain from the church is about a year old. We are now rebuilding from years of problems that came to a head last summer. I still get angry with the church adults because so many aren't interested in rebuilding. They are happy to let the church wither and die. Prayer is very important.

Beth,
I am glad that God is able, but I wish I was more able. I am too much of a fixer to not want to fix everything. Oh well, God knows better right?

Holly Brennan,
Yep, one of the girls I am worried about lives with her divorced mom and her boyfriend. Both of them are wiccan and so she really doesn't fit in at home, but her dad is an alcoholic so ... Makes me want to build a giant mansion with rooms for all my kids.

Candy,
You know me so well. Generally I feel like a parent that worries about how they measure up honestly cares and that is more than most of my kids can claim to have.

Claire,
Thanks so very much. God is good and faithful. Of course I am required by geek law to make the obligatory Heroes reference.

~Save the Cheerleader Save the World.

Hmmm, I don't have a cheerleader in my youth so I guess it isn't my responsibility to save the world.

Lanette said...

Nick,
I've been reading your blogs (along with several others), but yours means a lot to me because I have a 16 year old girl and a soon to be 13 year old girl. My 16 year old has gone through a lot of struggles in the last few years with her faith and life in general and I had hoped that her youth pastor would be another person on my side, trying to help her get through this stuff (but not replacing myself or her dad). Anyway not so much, if felt like if you weren't the perfect "Christian" kid then they didn't quite know what to do with you....Last year she started attending another youth group and honestly if this guy wasn't single and such I would wonder if you were him! I'm so thanful for youth pastors who really love kids, not just the ones who have it all together, but the ones who have hard stuff going on in their lives. Don't give up and know that there are people who so appreciate what you do for kids. I don't know you, but you sure appear to be doing what you can. Don't let other "adults" get you down, sometimes they are more childlike than the teens, and that's saying something. Thank you for loving, serving, and teaching those kids......you may be the only real adult they have a relationship with. And I too have prayed for you today. (sorry for such a long comment)

Nick the Geek said...

Lanette,
I am glad your daughter has found a place where she can be ministered to. I also very happy that she has a mother that cares. I honestly think that will go a long way to helping her through whatever pain she goes through in life.

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