Every few years this very old, very dear book, It’s Me, O Lord , wanders off my bookshelf and drops into my hands,  usually at a time when I need to be reminded not to take myself too seriously.  In one of her poems, “Too Old to Run,”  author Anne Springsteen writes:

“Father, help me to get several things straight:

  1. I am not young anymore.
    (Move over-
    everything moves faster now
    and there are others in the lead.)
  2. I am not in charge anymore.
    (Move over-
    younger minds and hearts need room to work.)
  3. I am not dead!
    (I cannot run anymore,
    but others will- and I can cheer them on.)”

What sage wisdom to pay attention to as the years I look back on are accumulating!

But another poem, “Those Young People!“ is so poignant as I read it this morning.  It is a snapshot of what we (in Prevention) see on hard days.  The “norm,” at best, reveals a chaotic household, a revolving live-in “parent,” deceit, distortion of truth, poverty cycles, substance abuse, and addiction.  One mom recently shared with me during a discussion about how to talk to their adolescent son about puberty and sexual health: “My husband says that when he’s seventeen, he will just take him to Las Vegas for a ‘guys trip.’”

“There are so many now

whose hearts will be broken

on their own dreams.

There are so many now

who have already given up dreaming.

There are so many now

whose brilliant minds will never grasp

the real issues of life and death.”

God has been so faithful to insert us into the very intersections of these young lives where their hearts are breaking on their own dreams, or they are on the cusp of giving up on dreaming at all.  You see, meeting, seeing, being introduced to Jesus Christ is the only possible happy ending for many of our young clients. He is the only one who can heal, restore, sculpt dreams, and help them develop their brilliant minds by developing brilliant faith! Pray for their broken souls, broken families, and broken dreams.

“There are so many now

who want tomorrow

and have no patience to wait through today.  

There are so many now who do not care about today

and will not care about tomorrow.”

Our culture is screaming “there is no one to trust, you have nothing to lose.” As Paul tells us in Philippians 3:19 “…Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame.  They are focused on earthly things.”

“All of these, Lord,

all of these I bring.

You know each one,

you know each hidden pain,

each hope, each plan.

Take care of them, Lord”

By God’s grace and provision, we are encouraged by our own faith in a God who is an engaged Father who knows His children, who knows exactly where it hurts, is the Author of Hope and the most glorious Planmaker and competent Caretaker.

“They are Your kind of people, Lord,

These earnest, honest young.

It’s Your kind of work, Lord,

This helping, this healing.”

It is not without prayer and sometimes trembling prayer, that we are armed to go into the battle for these young lives.  Sometimes we feel like it’s just a drop in the bucket, “what possible difference are we making?” Sometimes, we mistakenly carry the weight of their wounds, and the helplessness of their circumstances sits like a rock in the pits of our stomachs.

“But take care of me too.

Help me to reach through

the noise and confusion

to touch one or the other now and then.

This will be hard to do-

I am afraid of them, Lord.

They are rubbed raw

with empty words and phony gestures.

(I hesitate to touch a nerve rubbed raw.)

But I must do it.”

This is the heart of our Bridgehaven Prevention team because we know…

“If I turn away from them,

I will have done it to You.