Why Giving Grace to Teenagers Matters, No Matter What Day It Is

Giving Grace to Teenagers Matters

There’s been something I’ve been wanting to write about but haven’t been able to write about because, well, I couldn’t.

Some things are ready for sharing as they happen. Some things will never be ready for sharing after they happen. Some things need time to process before they are shared. Maybe most things need time to process before they are shared? Some things after they are processed move from being a sacred burden to becoming a sacred testimony to community, love and grace. I feel safe today, not ashamed, and want to share because there may be someone else out there who hasn’t shared yet and needs to hear this.

The people who did life with me this year (thank you, I love you, I’m sorry, thank you, I love you) through some challenges I was facing helped me wake up on a Monday with the idea that I could endure it. Because, to be candid and completely transparent, there were a few Sundays this year when I didn’t think Monday was an option. It’s tough to type this because the image of a depressed, wondering-if-life-was-for-her Brooklyn isn’t the image I want people to see. But it’s the person I struggled with and the person I am proud to say has walked into some brighter Mondays. (If this is your struggle, I’m praying that you have a person, a people, a someone who you can sit with because you deserve another Monday, you were meant for Monday, you were created with a purpose and are loved when you feel like you have no purpose.)

I want to talk about this journey and struggle more; I’m just figuring out how and when and even where to begin. I want to tell others about it because I think it helps to see humanity win. But I want to focus on just one part of it today—the part where I desperately needed grace. I know what it feels like to need grace and need someone to pause and sit with me in the dark, the place where I’m pretty sure hope is born. Hope is the brightest thing I have ever seen in contrast to the darkness that has at times settled around me.

I needed someone to help me hold onto that hope. I needed someone to help me with a personal comeback that seemed out of my reach. I needed someone to say it’s OK if you’re not OK; it’s OK if you’re not awesome; it’s OK if you’re not doing your best right now; it’s OK.

And I feel like this is our role in youth ministry. To cultivate conversations and relationships where teenagers can walk in post “Friday” with the heaviest of burdens, heartbreaks, mess ups and failures and say “I’m really not OK” while feeling at the same time that their not OK-ness doesn’t make the space or time any less valuable. They need someone to say to them, “You are valuable regardless what’s happening in your world.” To feel safe somewhere, to feel cared for, to feel seen, heard and loved…regardless; it’s what grace-giving youth ministries look like. It’s what friendships look like. It’s what families look like. I think that’s what love looks like.

I recently shared a breakout “Giving grace to teenagers on Mondays…or Fridays” at Orange Conference. I feel like it could make the difference in some kid’s Monday (or Friday or whatever day we have the privilege of sitting with them in their darkness). We touched on a lot of things that help culture and conversations become a wider opening for grace to come in, specifically as it relates to the need for grace in the phase of adolescence.

Here are the notes and presentation files if you’d like to have them.

Love to you.

Brooklyn  

Brooklyn recently founded The Justice Movement, a church youth movement that helps teenagers help others. Her priority is to inspire and resource youth to break cycles of poverty through faith in action. An ordained pastor, Brooklyn has served in full time youth ministry for the last 16 years, authored numerous books, contributes and communicates for Orange Leaders, and speaks at camps and conferences. She, her husband, Coy, and daughters, Kirra and Mya, live in Lakeland, Fla., where they like being outside, playing with their dog Marley. www.brooklynlindsey.com @brooklynlindsey/ www.justicemovement.com @thejustmove

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Brooklyn Lindsey
Brooklyn recently founded The Justice Movement, a church youth movement that helps teenagers help others. Her priority is to inspire and resource youth to break cycles of poverty through faith in action. An ordained pastor, Brooklyn has served in full time youth ministry for the last 16 years, authored numerous books, contributes and communicates for Orange Leaders, and speaks at camps and conferences. She, her husband Coy, and daughters Kirra and Mya live in Lakeland, FL where they like being outside, playing with their dog Marley. www.brooklynlindsey.com @brooklynlindsey/ www.justicemovement.com @thejustmove