My niece Emily is a senior in high school and will be off to college this next Fall. When she was a baby I babysat her for the first few months of her little life. She has been a loving, funny, intelligent beautiful child and I am very proud to be her Aunt Jill. She has always had a special place in my heart. A few weeks ago she invited me to come and listen to her give a special talk to a group of young people who are part of T.E.C (Teens Encountering Christ). This afternoon I was privileged enough to listen to her speak to this group of high school age kids. She spoke on how her parents divorce had affected her relationship with her Mom (my sister) and how for a few years she could not get over everything that had happened. She talked about how she had loved her family the way it was and how she didn't understand why her world was falling apart and why God was letting it happen. How could she? She was in 6th grade and most of us couldn't understand, and we were adults. She spoke from the heart with her Mom and her Dad sitting there, how it had completely devastated her and how angry she was at her Mom. She was brought up going to church and Sunday school and knowing who God was. But the divorce stirred something inside of her that she didn't understand. She was not only mad at her Mom but she was mad at God. She said she would put on this happy face when in reality she was angry. But God is good and never gives up on us. In January of this year something happened to her while participating in a T.E.C weekend. God stirred something inside of her and her eyes were opened and the anger went away. She felt God working within in her and she walked away from that weekend a changed person. She spoke so eloquently, with courage, strength and faith that most adults don't have. My eyes were filled with tears as I watched this beautiful young woman tell her faith story with poise and grace. As she was surrounded by her family, friends and peers she was also surrounded by God. She spoke of God's never ending love for us. How God gave his only Son for us, so that we could be free.
This young woman touched the hearts of those young people this afternoon and when it was over 3 of them spoke to her about their own struggles when their parents divorced and how her talk had spoken to them. They were changed too. There has been a fire ignited inside of her that glows from the inside out and she is not afraid to tell those around her how it happened and what God can do. I am so very proud of her! I pray that God will continue to work within her. That he will continue to give her the strength, grace and courage to face the challenges that will be put before her as she grows from a young woman into an adult. I pray that she will always know she is loved. I pray that she will feel God's warm embrace and the comfort of his healing touch. I pray that she will be able to tell her story so that it may help others who are struggling with the choices that they have made or the choices that others have made. May God continue to bless Emily today and always.