Youth ministry is often challenging. Many times frustrating. Frequently disheartening. But deeply rewarding. Seeing a student's heart open up like a timid flower is so beautiful. Knowing that it is only through Jesus that I love, accept, admonish, affirm, and even discipline. Teens sense that.
They start trusting little by little. They start to enjoy your company; they smile when they see you in the crowd. But then they text you to talk about tough stuff. They sit in your living room and cry. They confess, they mourn, and they receive love and acceptance like a dried up sponge.
Sometimes they take the advice, lovingly and firmly offered. And lives are changed.
And sometimes they bring you flowers just to say thank you.
And suddenly I am the one receiving love and affirmation so desperately needed.