Youth Ministry from a Youth.

I’ve experienced a lot of youth groups. I’ve had my favorites and my not-so-favorites. I’ve learned new things from each one I’e attended, whether it be philosophical or something I learned from people watching. I don’t have nearly the wisdom to write about this subject, but I think I might have an interesting perspective. 

I grew up in church and a christian home. I’ve always been the church girl, goody two shoes, or whatever you want to call me. I’ve been able to go behind the scenes of youth ministries and been closer to people then I have have before. I’ve changed roles a lot, but always consistently held the role of the churchie. 

In doing this, I don’t think I’ve ever been able to be, well frankly, me. 

I wouldn’t say I’m sure who that is yet, but I think I’m now beginning to be able to learn and test the waters for who I’m becoming. That’s where youth ministry plays such a key role. I’ve always been told “God’s got great plans for you, Ali.” or “You’re really strong in your faith.” or “You’re going down the right path, and you seem to have unwavering faith.”. I used to love these complements that generally came from the people I was closest to in youth ministry. While sure, these are all good things, I don’t think I deserved them. I’m not pulling the self conscious card here, but I genuinely think, I was who youth ministry wanted me to be.

The faithful, narrow path, in love with God, girl who might have been...a little fake.

That’s the thing though, youth ministry shouldn’t shove me into a mold of what this ideal teen needs to look like to make it through life still believing and not making mistakes. I should be able to live life just like I would if I weren’t being watched. I shouldn’t feel the need to come as close to this mold as I can, while sacrificing my curiosity. Heaven knows, I would test the waters as soon as I was out of high school. I’ve seen this curiosity played out in so many ways, wether is be: 

The girl who got pregnant. 

The person who got drunk.

The people who start cussing.

The person who started doing drugs.

The cutters.

The teens who are suicidal.

This will happen in any youth group, but what I need, and what I think teens need, is someone who lets them talk about this openly. Someone who will tell them to call them if they need a ride after they got drunk, or a place to stay. It isn’t about always telling them it’s bad, bad, bad. It’s about letting them be curious, and leading them in a way where they OBVIOUSLY know it may not be a good choice, but they feel free to be who they are, and ask questions. I completely acknowledge this isn’t easy and doesn’t work for everybody. But, teens will be teens. We’re curious, we need someone to let go of our hand and instead be only a phone call away. We know you care about us, we’re learning though. We still need to be able to be curious and be free enough to experience God through forgiveness and mercy if thats what we choose. 

But that’s just me. 

the day of brain surgery

It’s 1:26 am. I’m leaving for the hospital in 2 hours. 4 hours until my life it altered rather drastically. Sometime after I had told my brother about this whole ordeal, he (in his very light hearted manner) mentioned how after I die people will be able to tell that I had brain surgery. Isn’t that sort of funny though? Like dang. My life is going to be greatly changed tomorrow. There’s so much unknown thats being forced upon me that for a while I felt drenched in it. It soaked me with heaviness that only something with such a great magnitude of change can. 

That’s where God clung to me. 

I couldn’t shake Him off. Heaven knows I tried many, many times. But somehow I wasn’t able to lose Him. I see it as oil and water. God covered me in a permanent oil while I felt I was drowning, but the two weren’t able to mix. In a glorious, unknown way God kept whispering “I have better things for you.” or “My favor rest in you.”. Each of these phrases never left my conscious. I heard them in moments of fear, hurt, and freedom. 

I was never really a believer in peace that passes understanding. The amount that I undermined it seems so silly now. I had always known that peace existed, and people were given it in times of desperation. Only until this instance did I ever discover what the phrase entails. The question people always always always ask when they discover I’m having brain surgery is “Are you nervous?”. In the beginning, I covered it up with a sly reply that was somewhat confident. But now? I have the peace that passes understanding. If I were even able to tell you what it feels like, I would. It’s something so beautiful, sacred, and holy that only being surrounded by such peace will ever describe something so delicately strong. 

So that’s where I’m at. I guess I’m going to dive in head first tomorrow and come up swimming at some point. God’s done some pretty amazing things through this situation and in my life. I can’t wait to be able to share the full story post-surgery. Thank you for all of the prayers and love sent my way. 

Brain Surgery

Please read this article first.

Now laugh.

Alright. You're good now, you can keep reading.

Brain surgery seems to be in my near future. I'm so thankful for everyone's prayers and encouragement, but I keep being asked how I'm doing, as well as a multitude of other questions. As guessed, I'm nervous. I'm scared. I'm hanging in there.

A few days after finding out about all of this I was able to meet with my wonderful neo-conservative hipster-like youth pastor. (You're welcome Brian) He sat down with me, listened, and told me that my situation sucked. But, then he gave me some very needed advice. He told me to keep it simple. That I could only take this a day at a time. Day by day I needed to realize God is right there with me. So that's just what I've been doing. That's all I can do. Simplicity and God are all that's keeping me grounded right now.

 I'm learning though.

My dreams never included brain surgery. I never perceived life to be what it is currently. I haven't changed, but my situations sure have. And my idea of God and faith has overflown. I've gained new understanding in so many different situations. All that to say, God is still my rock. He's still solid in my life.

"Ye who long pain and sorrow bear,
Praise God and on Him cast your care." 

You Have Me- Gungor 
"Always faithful, always good
You still have me.
You still have my heart."

After All- David Crowder 
"I will sing a song for you my God with everything I have in me.
But it's never loud enough after all." 

redemption story pt 2


The drive home was the farthest thing from peaceful. My heart accelerated, my pain escalated, my stress overwhelming, my emotion too much. My life was quickly crumbling into torturous bits. I placed my hand on my thin belly. How could I manage this? My father was right. I’m an ignorant irresponsible scoundrel. The words were manifested in my soul. Nothing of beauty lived inside of me. This child would turn-
this fetus. 
It wasn’t a child yet. It was just some cells. Thats what my splendid sex-ed teacher has told my class back when I was a freshman in high school. I should feel no guilt in doing away with the thing. I mean, what the heck, I’m already rotten anyway. This fetus could never be raised by me. It’s probably already to screwed just by me being the thing’s carrier. 
Then why even keep it any longer?  
I looked outside of my drivers window. Life presumed around me. People were clueless. My utter aloneness was surrounded by swarms of human beings. Human beings who were successful, talented, fulfilled, smart, and loved. I, on the other hand, stood in the middle of the rotating earth by myself, secluded from any form sanity. 
I made my decision quickly and irrationally. But who was there to stop me? I switched into the right lane. I knew the hectic intersection would be a perfect and quick end. I timed it just right, and slowed down to stop at a red light. Then, just as the opposite direction's light turned green. I urged my foot onto the accelerator. 
Only a second or two were passed before another vehicle collided with mine and I was thrown into a world of darkness. 

to be continued... 

The beginning of a redemption story.

This is the beginning of a story that I started writing. Let me know what you think! 

I cried. Actually, I sobbed in front of this total stranger who didn’t even know my full name. 
“Pregnant?” The cracked sound of my voice proved my emotion.
“Yes, six weeks.” The nurse didn’t even make eye contact with me. Her voice, flat and dull, said “You stupid girl. Stop being so irresponsible.” I’d heard it all before. Don’t do this, don’t do that. If only the people who told me actually cared. 
“What--what do I do now?” The whisper was barely audible and wasn’t met for anyone to answer, but of course Judgmental Nurse just loved to take this opportunity to rant on and on about teens sleeping together, getting pregnant, the family never lasting, the next generation failing, and how the world is going to die because of my generation...
I don’t think it’s been a good day for either of us. 
I pick up my light jacket and rush out of the free clinic. I don’t even know where I am going because the water in my eyes is blurring my vision. I know I don’t have much time to get to my car before I have an emotional breakdown. I break out of the confinement of the clinic and sprint to my lime green hippie van. There, I know I can calm myself and drive home to where my father will be passed out on the couch from his latest hang over. I reach my van and climb in the front seat just in time. I let the hot tears fall and remember the girl my dad brought home last night. Hopefully she doesn’t try to steal anything. I instinctively reach and finger my mother’s wedding ring that was about stolen last week. I caught my father’s lady friend eyeing it. I wanted to scream at her to stay away. The only token I have left of my mother hangs around my neck on a chain, and I’m not willing to let a single soul take it away from me.
I started my car, pushing my raw emotion behind me and trying not to think about it. After all, nothing is that different yet. I just have to last long enough until my father finds out and hopefully remembers so I don’t have to explain and be punished more than once. 

penpals - starting my own basket

One of the two main reasons I started a blog was because I really wanted to connect with people across the world. The world has become an international place now, as apposed to a state. I've seen people on their turf, watched them speak their language, and indulged in their culture. I can't wait to do this again, but for now I would L-O-V-E to write people across the good, ol' USA and world wide. If you, or anyone you know would like to penpal with mwah then let me know! There's this thing that I'm kind of jealous about in my bff, Katie's room. She has a basket (that I wish I conveniently had a picture of right now) that she has all of her letters she's received from people all around the world. I am so. jealous. I'm waiting to start my own basket, and when I do I'll give you a better picture than the lovely google images one I found :)