“I am not a stranger to the dark
Hide away, they say
‘Cause we don’t want your broken parts
I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say
No one’ll love you as you are

But I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us
For we are glorious

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me”

“This is Me” from The Greatest Showman, Songwriters: Justin Paul / Benj Pasek

Youth live crazy busy and stressful lives. They are pulled in every direction and feel the pressure to fit in every place they go, and the need to keep up with what is happening in front of them, online, at school, with their friends, sports/clubs/band/church, etc.

In an effort for the youth to feel as if they are not alone, I began a series in the fall called ‘This is Me’ on Sunday evenings. About once a month I have invited several adults to come share a little bit about themselves and about a time when they saw God in a new way. We’ve heard about childhood experiences and about times in college and young adulthood. We’ve heard adults who’ve questioned their faith, and instances that affirmed their faith.

These have been deeply meaningful for me, and I hope for the youth as well. It is my strong belief when we learn someone’s story we begin to see them in a different way, and we don’t feel so alone. I hope that through these stories youth are reminded that they are not alone, and that as they mark their path forward, they will be reminded of the stories of folks within our congregation who maybe felt just like they do.

When we question and when we wonder it is the people who surround us that will help us see the path forward. It is the people in our lives that will reaffirm who we are and that we are ok the way we are and help us to claim who we are, and help shape who we are becoming. We are not alone. God walks with us, and God loves who we are.

How can you help? I might ask you to participate in one of these Sunday nights sometime. Jump in. It’s a kind, eager crowd.

Written by Marnie Fisher-Ingram