I am taking a small break from my submission talks because I just have to share this experience.
I had the privilege of attending the Reach Them to Teach Them event on Tuesday night. Hundreds of teachers gathered to together for a night of encouragement and hope. You can read about it here.
We heard from the one and only Scott Cagle, Hallerin Hilton Hill, and Manuel Scott.
The words of all three of these men were wonderful and touched me deeply.
I was extremely moved by Manuel Scott. If you've ever seen the movie, Freedom Writers, you know part of his story. He was one of the original freedom writers in Ms. Erin Gruwell's class. His story starts off as one of pain and despair, but through people in his life, his faith, and the encouraging words of a teacher, he now has a masters degree and is working on his doctorate!
There's so much I could say about this man. I was so moved by his story. But there's something big that I took from his presentation that I will share with you.
Just a few highlights of Mr. Scott's childhood included a father who was in jail, a stepfather who was addicted to drugs and was abusive, sexual abuse, never knowing where he would sleep, never knowing what he would eat, and gang violence all around him. This is what he carried with him as a young child.
The turning point in Mr. Scott's life came sitting on a park bench when he was 15 years old. A man who, himself had been lifted from the streets and given hope sat down next to him one day. He did not know him, but he stopped and shared his faith with him. He told him that "the streets weren't for him" He told him he was better than that. One man spoke truth into his life and it changed him forever. From that point on, things improved. he went back to school and a teacher gave him more hope. He graduated and went to college and now is a successful family man.
I can't tell you how much this moved me. All it took to get him on the right track was one person speaking the truth to him. One person!
I think of these babies that grow up with parents who don't love, provide for, or protect them. I think of these children who only know poverty and the streets. I think of sweet babies that don't get loved and see things that most of us will never see. They are not thousands of miles away. They are not hiding or difficult to find. They are right under our nose.
My heart longs for them. What will it take for them? Who will say to them that the streets aren't for you? You are better than this! There is a God who loves you and knew you before you were born! He made you for more than jail or abuse or poverty! He made you for so much more than that! Who is going to tell them?! I pray everyday that I could speak into even one child's life that way. That I could give one person hope for the future. Just one would be enough.
So how does this apply to you? 2 ways.
1) Who around you needs to hear the truth? how can you change one person's life today? Pray that God will show you someone in your life that needs to hear this today. "The streets aren't for you...you're better than that."
2) You don't have to be an impoverished, abused child to need hope. Maybe you need some encouragement today. What muck and mire are you engulfed in? What is it that is dragging you down and stealing your hope?
Do you tell yourself that you're not good enough because you're not like her/him? Do you tell yourself that you'll never be a good enough wife/husband or mother/father or friend or Christian? Do you think you will never be released from the pain you feel? What is it that's keeping you in the streets?
Because I can tell you right now, you are better than that. Whatever lies the world and the enemy bombard you with, they are just that, lies. You were made for more than that! The Creator of the universe knew you before you were born! He lovingly made you with a purpose! You are better than the muck and the mire and the lies! Hear me when I tell you, "The streets are not for you." Get yourself out of the streets and walk in the life God has for you.