She might be a visitor, but she is just as likely to be the daughter or granddaughter of a longstanding member. Keep an eye out for her. She is precious. She is on the brink, and she needs to know God cares.
When Jeni was 7 she dreamed of being a doctor.
Today, Jeni just wants peace. She isn’t looking for God-peace yet. She is just looking for a world where people are treated nicely, and don’t go crazy.
When Jeni was 13, she was raped in an online chat room. You’d think that it would be different, but if you had met her after the incident, you would have discovered similarities with traditional rape victims – “I couldn’t make it stop”; shame; self protection; rage (often turned inward).
Jeni’s friends have a similar plight. In fact, if you did a poll (and Jeni has) 60% of them have been raped online, in person or over the phone. Stats tell us that as many as 80% will be sexually assaulted in some way by the age of 18. About 70% of Jeni’s friends will “try on” different sexual orientations during 7-9th grades. Most of them will make a choice by 10th grade. On alternating months (it seems) they will be bi, gay and straight.
The people in Jeni’s life have been unpredictable. Even if her mom and dad were perfect (and you know they weren’t because they are human), life has sent her some hard curve balls. She doesn’t care what you think. She is looking for what brings you joy, life, stability and vision.
She will hear how you treat others more than what you believe. She will see God in how you reach out to the lonely person. She will hear God’s love when you show compassion instead of disdain for the people who are her friends.
The fact that she is in church probably means that on some level she believes God exists, but she certainly doubts that He is benevolent.
Remember the Woman at the Well? She was a sort of Jeni. She was isolated. She spent most of her conversation with Jesus trying to pick arguments with Him. Then there is a miracle moment. She is transformed. The only that that transforms us like that is seeing ourselves in the eyes of Jesus. Suddenly, the woman didn’t just feel accepted, she was renewed. She became a community activator, bringing many more to Jesus.
Jeni has this kind of potential, but it won’t happen in a conversation (barring God’s intervention) – she will need to see and hear God’s love, healing and acceptance again and again before she will begin to believe that maybe, her life isn’t over yet. Maybe she can dream again. Maybe God has something better than just looking for lack of conflict. Maybe He can cause her to dream again.
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