He Saw Me In The Stands: God’s Gift In My Time of Burnout

January 2, 2013

An Anonymous Guest Post

By the time Christmas Club arrived I was done. Burned out. Ready for a break. Not sure I even wanted to give it another go in the spring.

Being a Young Life leader is hard on my family, takes so much time, and I honestly haven’t even seen much ‘fruit’ in guys’ lives lately. What I’ve seen instead are Instagram pics of my high school friend (who met Christ at camp this summer) doing keg stands wearing his YL camp shirt. I’ve been so discouraged, and last month I just wanted to quit. 

I guess the Lord knew I needed some encouragement, because I got a note in the mail the week after our last club. It was from the parents of one of my Young Life guys. With the note, they enclosed a paper their son had written for one of his college applications. After reading it I just sat at my kitchen table and wept. God’s kindness caught me off guard. 

I debated submitting the letter to The Young Life Leader Blog, but chose to do it anonymously and just change the names. I wanted you all to be encouraged because I know this letter could have been written about you too. 

A College Application Essay

It’s been a long, chaotic
day at East High School. My head aches, stomach growls, and the cramps in my
legs span all over with great discomfort. I make my way through the massive
pack of students while ascending towards the cafeteria. Worn out with despair,
I take a seat and make the most out of my laconic break. Out of nowhere, I feel
a friendly hand grasp my shoulder. A tide of reassurance crashes over me as I
look up and get the soothing, “Hey buddy, how’s your day going?”

In my eighteen years of
life, I have been fortunate enough to come across many positive role models.
These individuals have been influential in my upbringing and personal
development and have been by my side offering me guidance and valuable advice.
One role model in particular stands out in my mind and has recently been a big
part of my life. This person is making an impact on me as I go through some of
my most critical years in my development. I would like to thank my Young Life
leader and friend, Jack Perkins, for being such a positive influence on my
quest to be a high-achieving individual with a strong moral character.

Jack is a thirty-year-old
dedicated father of three precious girls and husband to Jenny. He lives in a very
modest home and lives each day with a strong faith in Jesus who is his guide in
living the life he does. He stresses to us money is not everything and that it
does not insure happiness. While he teaches us to be frugal with our money, Jack
is very generous with his own, often buying food for those in need or just for
times we are all out on an outing. Not only is this man generous with his
money, but also with his time. Jack is often available to drive high school
students to various events, regardless of the distance. His commitment in
working with young people and generosity with his time is very inspiring and
encourages others to acquire his traits.

Jack makes spending time
with our group of guys a priority and always puts in so much effort to make us
better people. He makes many sacrifices throughout the week in finding time to
come to our events that we participate in and to show his support. He jumps
right in the student section and he cheers like he is cheering for one of his
own children! After a blood shedding loss and feelings of forlornness take
over, Jack is at the door of the athletic field house waiting 30 minutes for
me to come out of the locker room. He always gives me words of encouragement to keep my head held
high and to move on. Every week, I can expect to see Jack roaming the cafeteria
of our high school just to come check in with the students and see what is new
and how our week is going. It amazes me how he takes the time to stay for all
four lunch periods just to make sure we are doing fine. Friday mornings, Jack
gathers guys for breakfast and provides us inspiring messages and scripture. He
often shares with us his life lessons and bible verses that are very meaningful
for the stages of life we are experiencing. These messages stay with me through
the week to help guide me in making wise decisions.

Jack Perkins has greatly
impacted my life and the lives of many other young people by being there for us
and guiding us throughout the many obstacles we have to navigate through during
high school years. While he is doing this, he is strengthening my faith in our
Lord and savior, Jesus Christ. He seems to understand the trials I encounter in
my high school years, never passing judgment on me. He gives me great advice
and he puts things into perspective so that I can fully understand.

I want to be like Jack
Perkins in having the ability to give positive messages and offer guidance for
today’s youth. My senior year of high school, I am a Young Life senior leader.
I am committed to helping freshman transition into high school and being a
positive role model with the choices they are faced with during their high
school years. My days left in high school are limited, and I plan to take Jack’s
positive influence on to college with me. I hope to provide the same
friendship, leadership, and guidance to future young people as I go through my
life journey. Jack will always be there as a leader, mentor, and friend. I feel
very fortunate to have him as part of my life.||

Before reading his essay, I doubted if kids even noticed I was in the cafeteria. I wondered if it was worth staying the thirty minutes after the football games. I didn’t think it was making any difference.

I’m thankful we serve a Heavenly Father who knows just the right time to whisper in our ears. May you hear His gentle voice today saying ‘well done.’||

Do you have some encouragement or ideas to share? If so, here‘s how you submita guest post on The Young Life Leader Blog.

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