It was the first thing I asked the eighteen 16- to 18-year-old boys today at the Pinal County Juvenile Detention in Florence, AZ. And not surprisingly, every single boy raised his hand.
I went on to sing “Barely Breathing,” “Where Are You Now,” “In You,” and “Free” for them, while some amazing women from Living Word Bible Church here in Mesa, AZ talked to them about forgiveness and freedom, about leaving the past in the past and letting today be the beginning of reality. We talked to them about being angry with God about circumstances; about feeling lost and stifled; about loving and being loved.
We talked about how they are the church within these walls, and have the power to give people Jesus.
And, just like when I left the Dorcas House in Little Rock a few weeks ago, I walked out of the room with those boys feeling overwhelmed with joy and purpose and direction.
My soul was deeply satisfied at the evidence of Christ’s work among the lost and the least. They were teenage boys whom many would say are already lost causes. Boys who’ve done everything from stealing to murder. Boys who know about God but maybe haven’t really grasped their great worth and value God has planted in them.
I got to tell them and show them a little bit. I got to tell them they are significant and intended for greatness. That no matter where they’ve been or what they’ve done, it’s not the end of the story but one small paragraph. I got to be the pretty girl who made them feel like a worthy boy.
While I can’t read minds, and am not particularly good at reading faces, I know I was living for the right thing today. I honestly did leave going, “Yes, yes. This is what I’m meant for. These people are who I’m meant to serve.” The lost and the least within my reach. They get the darkness of my songs, and they take hold of the hope creeping in through the notes. Maybe better than anyone else.
And with them, I begin to understand that my songs weren’t given to me just for my hope or benefit, but for these as well.
I am pleased. Overjoyed! Exuberant!
I am alive today, with these Beloved of God.