Wednesday, January 2, 2013

He Saw Me In The Stands: God's Gift In My Time of Burnout

An Anonymous Guest Post

By the time Christmas Club arrived I was done. Burned out. Ready for a break. Not sure I even wanted to give it another go in the spring.

Being a Young Life leader is hard on my family, takes so much time, and I honestly haven't even seen much 'fruit' in guys' lives lately. What I've seen instead are Instagram pics of my high school friend (who met Christ at camp this summer) doing keg stands wearing his YL camp shirt. I've been so discouraged, and last month I just wanted to quit. 

I guess the Lord knew I needed some encouragement, because I got a note in the mail the week after our last club. It was from the parents of one of my Young Life guys. With the note, they enclosed a paper their son had written for one of his college applications. After reading it I just sat at my kitchen table and wept. God's kindness caught me off guard. 

I debated submitting the letter to The Young Life Leader Blog, but chose to do it anonymously and just change the names. I wanted you all to be encouraged because I know this letter could have been written about you too. 

A College Application Essay

It's been a long, chaotic day at East High School. My head aches, stomach growls, and the cramps in my legs span all over with great discomfort. I make my way through the massive pack of students while ascending towards the cafeteria. Worn out with despair, I take a seat and make the most out of my laconic break. Out of nowhere, I feel a friendly hand grasp my shoulder. A tide of reassurance crashes over me as I look up and get the soothing, "Hey buddy, how's your day going?"

In my eighteen years of life, I have been fortunate enough to come across many positive role models. These individuals have been influential in my upbringing and personal development and have been by my side offering me guidance and valuable advice. One role model in particular stands out in my mind and has recently been a big part of my life. This person is making an impact on me as I go through some of my most critical years in my development. I would like to thank my Young Life leader and friend, Jack Perkins, for being such a positive influence on my quest to be a high-achieving individual with a strong moral character.

Jack is a thirty-year-old dedicated father of three precious girls and husband to Jenny. He lives in a very modest home and lives each day with a strong faith in Jesus who is his guide in living the life he does. He stresses to us money is not everything and that it does not insure happiness. While he teaches us to be frugal with our money, Jack is very generous with his own, often buying food for those in need or just for times we are all out on an outing. Not only is this man generous with his money, but also with his time. Jack is often available to drive high school students to various events, regardless of the distance. His commitment in working with young people and generosity with his time is very inspiring and encourages others to acquire his traits.

Jack makes spending time with our group of guys a priority and always puts in so much effort to make us better people. He makes many sacrifices throughout the week in finding time to come to our events that we participate in and to show his support. He jumps right in the student section and he cheers like he is cheering for one of his own children! After a blood shedding loss and feelings of forlornness take over, Jack is at the door of the athletic field house waiting 30 minutes for me to come out of the locker room. He always gives me words of encouragement to keep my head held high and to move on. Every week, I can expect to see Jack roaming the cafeteria of our high school just to come check in with the students and see what is new and how our week is going. It amazes me how he takes the time to stay for all four lunch periods just to make sure we are doing fine. Friday mornings, Jack gathers guys for breakfast and provides us inspiring messages and scripture. He often shares with us his life lessons and bible verses that are very meaningful for the stages of life we are experiencing. These messages stay with me through the week to help guide me in making wise decisions.

Jack Perkins has greatly impacted my life and the lives of many other young people by being there for us and guiding us throughout the many obstacles we have to navigate through during high school years. While he is doing this, he is strengthening my faith in our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ. He seems to understand the trials I encounter in my high school years, never passing judgment on me. He gives me great advice and he puts things into perspective so that I can fully understand.

I want to be like Jack Perkins in having the ability to give positive messages and offer guidance for today's youth. My senior year of high school, I am a Young Life senior leader. I am committed to helping freshman transition into high school and being a positive role model with the choices they are faced with during their high school years. My days left in high school are limited, and I plan to take Jack's positive influence on to college with me. I hope to provide the same friendship, leadership, and guidance to future young people as I go through my life journey. Jack will always be there as a leader, mentor, and friend. I feel very fortunate to have him as part of my life.||

Before reading his essay, I doubted if kids even noticed I was in the cafeteria. I wondered if it was worth staying the thirty minutes after the football games. I didn't think it was making any difference.

I'm thankful we serve a Heavenly Father who knows just the right time to whisper in our ears. May you hear His gentle voice today saying 'well done.'||

Do you have some encouragement or ideas to share? If so, here's how you submit a guest post on The Young Life Leader Blog.

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