November 1st // Melinda Lucas

Posted on by SpokaneYFC

"To say it simply - show up."

       This last Saturday when our two and a half year old woke up from her nap we asked her if she wanted to put on her costume and go trick or treating. We thought we were on top of it by taking her to a trunk-or-treat event rather than waiting until Halloween night. We put her elephant costume on over her clothes, told her how to trick-or-treat, and gave her a bucket to carry around. Walking up to her dad she said, "Trick my treat!" practicing the phrase she was just learning the meaning behind. We bundled her sister up in her tiger jacket and took off headed to a church we'd never heard of. After driving a couple of laps around the area we had thought the church was located, my husband and I looked at each other with that look of "what now?"

       Now, we're fairly directionally proficient. Between my husband who was born in raised in Spokane, my sense of direction, and Google maps we typically can find anything. But for whatever reason on this given Saturday, we were just off of our game. In a last-ditch effort to not totally disappoint our sweet daughter, we offered to go to her favorite park. 

       As we pulled into the parking lot of the upper Manito Playground we realized that because our daughter was in her costume we hadn't thought to grab a coat for her. Desperate not to let her down again we got out of the car. 

       I looked around as I stepped out of the car. Ninety percent of the park was dressed in adorable fall outfits; layers, vests, corduroy, and scarves. And here came our family: three typically dressed humans and a two andhalf year old elephant. Our little elephant took off for the swings and my husband and I debated who was going to go with her. 

       In the moment I was so embarrassed. I knew the story behind why she was wearing an elephant costume. I knew that it was simply because I had forgotten a coat for her. I was feeling inadequate and unprepared. I instantly began assuming what all the other parents were thinking. Assuming they were judging me. I was letting my ego separate me from my daughter. 

       I snapped out of it rather quickly as I heard my daughter squealing in excitement to go on the swings. I hustled over to her and held her hand embracing her joy rather than the assumed judgment I perceived. Her joy continued. She was laughing, smiling, and could care less that she was dressed as an elephant. She commented on how her very large elephant ears blew in the wind as she swung back and forth. 

       It saddens me to think that I almost gave in to my insecurities rather than showing up for my daughter. All she wanted to do was have fun with us – to play at a park or trick-or-treating. As parents, even as humans, we make choices to show up for others. Often choosing to show up means overcoming our insecurities. 

       The youth at Youth for Christ as just like my daughter. They just desire to have caring adults show up in their lives. Adults who can put aside their own insecurities, fears, and cares in order to be there for them. 

       When I first started volunteering at YFC in 2011 I was terrified. I was incredibly worried that I wouldn't know how to relate to inner-city kids. I feared that I'd be too weak for them. I was scared that they would hate me. If it hadn't been for the encouragement from others I probably would have never stepped foot in that youth center. What was the encouragement they gave me? To say it simply - show up. 

       I think often in ministry we feel that we need to be the perfect person, or have the perfect action plan; when simply we need to show up. We need to put the insecurity aside and just be there for kids. Trust me, they let you know if they want to talk or just to play games. 

 

       Youth for Christ's ministry model of Three Story makes it very clear what our method is – it's relational. Bridging your story with their story and with God's story. The best way to bridge those stories is to be there; to hear their story, to share the redemption in your story with God's story, and to invite them into a relationship with Christ by just being there each week. 

       I would encourage you to consider volunteering with Youth for Christ. We're not asking for you to be perfect, to have the perfect action plan, or to make this your full-time job. But what we are asking for is caring adults who can step into our youth centers each week and simply show up. Hear the stories of the youth and be there for them. Show them that showing up is more important because they are worth it. 

Melinda Lucas

Director of Business Operations
[email protected]

READ MORE ABOUT MELINDA AND HER WORK AT YFC HERE.

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