A Teen’s Story: They Never Threw Me Away
By Kyree of Chattanooga, TN, USA
Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to God, “You are my God; I have no good apart from you.” I bless God who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I keep God always before me; because God is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure. You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy. —Psalm 16:1–2, 7–9, 11 NRSV, adapted
When I first started coming to the Chattanooga Community of Christ, I was in preschool and both my parents had been arrested on drug charges. Being a small child does not protect you from the scars caused by having a mom and a dad both doing time in prison for drugs. I was a mess. But my uncle started taking us to this church.
This Community of Christ has been here since then. When I say “been here,” I am not just talking about at church. They have been at my house, my school, my counselors, my court dates, my school events, and through all my emotional outbursts. They never gave up on me or threw me away, even when I felt I deserved it.
I am now in high school. I’ve beat the streets because of Community of Christ. I beat anger, hatred, and depression because of Community of Christ. I want to be a teacher. Nobody in my family has ever been to college, but I am going because of the support and foundation of Community of Christ.
My pastors teach us many things, but one of my favorites is: “When someone is heading in the wrong direction, they don’t need the motivation to hurry them along. They need tough love and a real education.” I am going to be a teacher because of this. Thanks.
Prayer for Peace
Tender Shepherd, help us always remember we have the power to change lives. Help us be aware of opportunities to intervene where there is anger, hatred, or depression—where there is a person that needs direction and peace.
Spiritual Practice: Experience Congregations in Mission
Read and reflect on Doctrine and Covenants 164:9a–d. Reread the sentence, “If you truly would be Community of Christ, then embody and live the concerns and passion of Christ.” Make a list of the issues you feel mattered most to Christ. Make another list of issues that matter to your congregation. Reflect on the likenesses and differences. How can you help align the lists? Throughout the day, as issues arise, ask yourself, “Would this matter to Christ?”
Today, God, I will “be there” for someone.