Who Lives At Your House?

This is a question we ask youth as we’re getting to know them. It’s a question free of assumptions about their family, allowing them to answer without shame or being boxed in. This is important because most of the youth we work with do not have a traditional family. Having a "normal" family does not mean it's healthy nor are all non-traditional families broken. Many of the youth we work with have a common theme of brokenness in their homes. When you hear their stories you begin to understand the gravity of their challenges. Often one's first response is to try to fix things and sometime it can be fixed; however, the challenges are often so much bigger than human fixes. Really, at the end of the day, teens, like anyone else, want most of all to be heard and understood; to know that they are not alone. Listen to their some of their voices...

“In order to get away from a bad situation I moved across the country to live with a parent who I’d known for only one day.”

“I don’t have a dad. I have a sperm donor”

“I’m not allowed home.”

“My mom can’t take care of me because she’s sick and sometimes it feels like my dad doesn't really want me around either.”

“I was 13 and homeless.”

“I’ve never met my dad.”

“My dad left us and then gets mad at me when I don’t make time for him.”

Often their answers are heartbreaking. It's easy to feel weighed down by the brokenness. And yet this mess is at the center of God's work. Father of orphans, champion of widows, is God in his holy house. God makes homes for the homeless, leads prisoners to freedom... - Psalm 68:5-6. 

- Derian Julihn


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