I was looking at my friends list on Facebook recently, and was reminded that while I know many of my facebook friends well, there are others that only know me through SM. And after looking through the new timeline on facebook a lot of my status' probably don't make sense to those of you who don't know me well.
I'm a middle-aged married guy with four kids, aged 15,17,19 and 21. To someone reading my facebook status you would think I'm a helicopter parent or that they are always in need of help. Not the case at all, they are great kids, they are doing great. They experience the normal teenage angst, (guys/girls, relationships, grades, school decisions), but they are awesome kids.
I'm also work with teens through my church's youth group, and until recently, I was a volunteer Hopecoach for the Dawson McAllister Ministry. Dawson McAllister has a radio show that runs for 2 hours on Sunday nights on top 40 radio, all over the country. Honest forthright answers, with a dose of Christ's love mixed in. Volunteers and staff talk and text, with thousands of young people each month. Five years ago, I started answering phones for the ministry on Sunday nights, and discussing whatever topic came up with the teens that called in wanting advice or a friend to talk to. In the past five years I've had one on one conversations and made friends with, somewhere around 1500 young people. My young friends are bulemic, cutters, prostitutes, pimps, gang members, over-acheivers, drug addicts, anorexic, dropouts, strippers and potheads. They struggle with their parents, teachers, divorce, each other, depression, boyfriends/girl friends, and relationships in general. They have been let down, stomped on(literaly and figuritively), beat up, raped, abused and neglected. I've been on the phone with them when we called the police. They have tried to committ suicide, hurt themselves and everyone around them. I've talked to a young person with a pistol on the seat beside him, driving around looking for a quiet place to end his life. I've talked to 17 year old young woman who had never heard anyone tell her that she was loved. I've prayed with them, and I've had them pray for me. (You want to talk about being humbled, that will do it.)
When I got invloved in my churches youth group, it wan't long before kids found out about the Dawson McAllister call work that I did. So they started to talk, call and text. They also started to refer friends who were dealing with big stuff. Why do they talk to me? I don't know. Someone once told me that my grandpa could talk to anyone, and maybe God blessed me with some of him. I can say the conversations are one of the greatest blessings that God has blessed me with, and I'm a pretty blessed guy.
An animal welfare person I've come accross, once told a group of us,"I'm your worst nightmare, an insomniac, AR person, with a computer and an internet connection." He would say he was kidding, but he isn't even close. My nightmares include missing a call in the middle of the night, a phone call going dead, a call from a young person saying they've been raped or that one of "my" kids has died.
This isn't something I do on my own. God has blessed me with a great bunch of folks to walk along with, and I couldn't do it without his help. And please don't make me out to be anything more than I am. I am one of God's screwups. I mess up all the time, and without his help, I'd be an even bigger mess.
So in this New Year, if you see my status asking for a prayer, say a quick prayer for one of "my" kids. Thanks.