As house parents in the residential program, we have the honor and privilege of helping middle-school aged girls as they are questioning who they are, who God is, and what they believe.
The 2009-10 school year proved to be challenging for the girls in our home. Each of them desperately needed to change their behavior and heart towards their parents, teachers, and other significant adults in their lives. Many of them were also struggling with whether or not the wanted to choose to have a relationship with Christ as well.
Just before the school year ended, we attended a Wednesday night youth group service as we have all year. The girls always enjoy the youth group; however, that Wednesday was very different. As the evening was coming to an end, the youth pastor invited any student to the front to pray with him if he/she wanted to make a decision for Christ. To our surprise, three of our girls walked forward for prayer.
As we rode home in our van, Jessica announced that she prayed to accept Jesus in her heart. She boldly shared with the other girls in the van that she went to church with her parents all the time, but she had never prayed and personally accepted Jesus in her heart. She beamed with excitement and pride as she spoke and really wanted the other girls to know that she accepted Jesus.
After Jessica shared her experience with the girls, Kimberly, the newest girl to our home, shared that she too asked Jesus in her heart when she went up to pray with the youth pastor. While we spoke with her about it, she let us know she attended church but had done bad things and knew she wasn’t a Christian. She said she knew now she wanted to follow Jesus and needed His help.
As we celebrated what Jessica and Kimberly briefly shared, Madison mentioned she had gone up to pray as well, but she was still a bit confused. She said she prayed to accept Christ 2 years ago, but she didn’t think she meant it because of the poor choices she had made in her life before coming to Sheridan House. She questioned her commitment and was unsure regarding her own salvation. We explained salvation, how she could be confident and secure in her decision, and free from doubt. She said she wanted to do it right then—in the van. So, we led Madison in a prayer of salvation with a van full of girls.
We experienced a beautiful “God moment” that night. There was a revival going on as we saw God moving in the hearts of our middle school girls. It was amazing!
Our girls are not perfect, but they are each on a significant life journey to understanding who Christ is, showing evidence of loving Him more every day, and making Him known to others around them.
By Brenda Schneider