When I first started working at Hosea I was introduced to a youth who seemed to have a lot of things together. She had stopped using, she was taking care of her record, she was interested in pursing her relationship with the Lord. Then about a month later she relapsed. She stopped coming around as much and started blowing off our meetings. Last week I was able to talk to her in person for the first time in quite a while. Immediately she broke into tears, the anguish of her self loathing spilling over the surface. I confirmed her identify of who I knew her to be, explained that nothing she did would cause me to stop loving her, and reaffirmed my desire to have her in my life. We hugged and she left to take care of her personal needs.

Later that week I found myself in several conversations that affirmed the lies this girl was believing about herself. The lies that she was less than unworthy. These were not done out of malice, but out of a lack of understanding. These individuals were not looking at street impacted youth as brothers and sisters, but rather as something that needed to be taken care of. Individuals that find themselves homeless, regardless of the circumstance, are not a problem to be solved, but rather a people to be loved. We need to stop looking at these people as a project and start looking at them the way God looks at them. We are not superior to them. We are not better than them. We are all sinful. We all fall short of the glory of God. We are all messed up. But we are all able to find redemption through salvation in Jesus Christ.

I wanted this youth to know these things. I wanted her to stop seeing herself the way the world sees her and start seeing herself the way God sees her. I wrote her this letter so that she could keep this truth with her.

Dear Sister,

I miss you and hope you’re doing well. I meant what I said last week when I told you that I’m not going to judge you for your lifestyle or actions. I just want to get to know you. I believe in a God who is purposeful in all that He does, and because of that I am confident that God brought us into each other’s lives for a reason. I know we don’t know each other very well, but I want you to know that you are loved and cherished.

In the past few months so many things in my life have changed and at times it seems overwhelming. I’ve found myself returning to the same song for comfort during these times. It states:

Your promises call to mind who I am
That I am saved I am free I am found
I am clean I am covered by the lamb
Hallelujah what can take me from your hand

I often forget who I am and rely on circumstances or people to tell me. When this happens I am told that I am unwanted, unnecessary, and unknown. When people or situations disappoint me, it’s easy to fall into these lies of feeling unloved and unlovable. I know that at times, especially now, you have believed these lies to be true.

It is true that you have made mistakes in your life. I am not denying that. But we have all made mistakes and although some have larger impacts than others, no mistake is greater than another. The truth of your sinfulness does not negate the truth of your ability to receive love. It actually confirms it. The Bible tells us that “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” and later that there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” I know you feel judged for your actions, but the only person who can truly judge you took that judgement on himself in an act of love and grace. The truth is that you are a child of God. You are made holy by his sacrifice. And you are deeply loved each and every minute of each and every day. No good or bad decision or action will change that.

I know you may not feel this right now, but our feelings don’t dictate truth. Truth dictates truth. I hope that in these times you are able to cling to this truth over the lies in your life. I pray you are able to remember and believe in your identity in Christ rather than letting the world tell you who you are. I hope we are able to connect more in the future.

I love you. I miss you.

Sincerely,

Crystal

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