Caitlin attends our Clifton Park Campus Life. She is one of those girls that makes you smile when she walks into the room. She jumps around and laughs and does silly stuff to make her friends smile. She is one of those kids that if you don’t look too closely, you might think that they don’t have any problems.
At a recent weekend retreat, I had a chance to sit down and chat with her. After a bit she let me know that she had been dealing with some personal issues. She let me know she had decided that she did not want to continue to be the person that she was in the past and opened up about things that she had done that she wasn’t proud of. She realized that there were a lot of people that still see her as the person who she no longer wanted to be. She said that she spends a lot of time talking to God and asking him to change her heart and their hearts to see her the way that He does. She knows that she made bad choices, and they used to reflect who she was trying to be, but she wasn’t trying to be that person anymore.
She also told me about the ways that she is working to grow spiritually by memorizing different Bible verses that help her remember who she is in God’s eyes. She was trying to write down her thoughts and to listen to positive messages and music every day. She talked about picking her friends carefully and making sure that they are the ones who support her and lift her up instead of leading her in the wrong direction. She talked about wanting to be the same kind of friend to them that they are to her.
The level of maturity that she showed during that conversation was inspiring. There are a lot of factors that our high school students deal with and being able to focus on personal and spiritual growth while navigating high school and everything else that comes with being a teenager is quite a challenge. I am so honored and proud to be one of the many people that are helping this amazing young lady to find her way. This is why we do what we do, so that these kids know that they are not alone and that there are others who can see them as the beautiful masterpiece that God created. Even when they may struggle to remember, we are here to remind them that they are beautiful and awesome and so loved.
-Julie Cohen, Volunteer
*Names have been changed