By Stephanie Ziebarth, Barnabas Mentor Coordinator
Read Stephanie’s Bio here
One snowy winter morning I found myself driving toward Hershey Medical Center, a cheesecake on the passenger seat, my hands gripping the wheel. I prayed, “Lord, show me what to do, what to say, how to bless this family during this tragic time.”
A young lady from one of our programs had experienced a mental and emotional decline over the past year. She went from being a quiet, hard worker, to being overcome by mental illness. Her condition drove her to self-harm that took a very unusual form.
I was heading to visit her and her grieving family, with the cheesecake a last-minute offering I decided to bring along.
I was not an expert on a mission that day. I have had some training in dealing with crisis, but no one feels prepared to stand in a hospital room with crying family members, a girl missing a limb, tubes connected to a bag of blood. But I did have God beside me, and I knew I could be present and I could point to hope.
The cheesecake was appreciated and quickly consumed. The prayers were a balm in a hard time. The visit represented love, care and courage from those who ministered to this young woman.
This memory inspires me to pray in many ways, but here a couple that quickly rise to the top:
- “Lord, teach us to number our days, that we present to Thee a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). Each moment we have to minister to young people may be our last. I have been serving students long enough to have experienced some real tragedies that end opportunities to minister, including premature deaths. Even when the routine seems mundane and life seems too busy, be aware that each opportunity matters.
- Lord, may we always point to you, always point to HOPE. We can’t know what to do in every situation, but Scripture does provide guidance and encouragement for us (1 Cor 1:3-7 is one of my favorite passages for this). We can be present, and we can both represent and point to hope.
My husband stayed with our children that day. I did ask others to accompany me on that hospital visit. No one felt comfortable. It wasn’t comfortable for me either. But God does sometimes bring emotionally disturbed children into our lives, and we can trust Him to empower us, point to hope, and direct to further resources that will address their special needs. He is with us, and He is working in those children’s lives.
Pray also that many children will choose to register for a Christian summer camp experience at Joy El Camps and Retreats this summer. God changes lives in Released Time and at summer camp. Learn about Summer Camp
To receive this blog regularly please CLICK HERE and fill out the web form information.