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I Survived!

Read about Barbara Doores' faith journey as a youth leader and what led her to host the Trietsch Youth Life Group in her home:

There are so many lessons that I have learned throughout my life. There are opportunities we should grasp. There are challenges we should face. There is undeniably a God we can trust. There is growth for ourselves when we realize it is not about us.

There is growth for ourselves when we get out of our expected comfort. There is a growth in relationships with our children when they see us grasping opportunities, facing challenges, trusting in God, giving up "me," and getting uncomfortable.

In 1992, friends asked me to serve on the Lewisville Young Life Board. It did not take much thought or prayer to say yes.  My daughter attended Marcus, and was an active member of the YL Club. Her obvious love of the local Club made it easy to support Young Life. 

That summer, I visited YL's camp near Asheville, NC as a board observer on the dates our local Club attended camp, and anticipated watching fun camp activities, and sleeping in a B&B style cabin for five days. I was in awe of our Lord's hand in creating the beauty of Windy Gap's setting.

YL leaders are generally young adults. One of them cancelled at the last minute, so the YL director asked if I could assist on a couple of activities the next day. Sure, I could stand by and hand out sports equipment and cheer our Marcus and Lewisville High School kids as they competed with kids from other states. That was not quite what he had in mind. 

Our first activity was the Ropes Course, and the very first girl froze as she began her ascent to a cable bridge via a tilted telephone pole.  "Barbara, you go first and stand at the top as The Encourager."  I needed encouraging, so how on earth could I possibly be The Encourager????

When your seventeen-year-old daughter and her friends are standing all around watching for your response, you do not back down with feathers sprouting into flapping wings to the accompaniment of chicken squawks. So, I took a deep breath, and told God that this was Crazy. Absurd. Insane.

When I reached the top, I was a bit anxiety-winded. But. I had made it. I whipped around unruffled to see the director grinning at me, and then shouted to the girls, "Who’s next??"  After two girls joined me and then crossed the cable, "frozen girl" followed them up, and hugged me with a whispered, "thank you." My eyes watered. But, I had to re-group, because The Encourager needed to go on across the cable before "frozen girl" and wait on the platform at the other side until she came on over. This was the process for each challenge on the course. Two braver girls went, then I went, then "frozen girl," then everyone else. Each stop necessitated a private conversation with God about what I was doing there. Every muscle ached and twitched.

We all successfully met each challenge, and all earned the right to buy a t-shirt that proclaimed, "I Survived the Ropes Course at Windy Gap." Buying that shirt for myself was a victory. A victory over my own fears. A victory full of trust. 

I ended up sharing small group duties each evening, and developed a love for the girls that I had not expected when I headed East to "observe" camp. I also ended up with a changed and blessed new relationship with my daughter. We became friends in addition to being mother and daughter.

The last night, the girls asked if I would please lead a "Campaigners Bible Study" when we returned home. I did. Then they asked if I would join the leadership team. I did. 

My daughter's daughter is now a student at Marcus. She is a blessedly solid Christian young lady, and loves her place in youth activities at TMUMC. A few months ago, she told me that she had suggested to James Lawrence that Scott's and my home would be a perfect place for a small group meeting place. After gathering a bit more information, I asked Scott for his thoughts. We were both eager to say yes.

Although I know it is always best to ask God first, I knew from Windy Gap that I should just say YES! I learned there that our youth need supporters. They need love. They need acceptance. They need a safe place. They need healthy fun. Our large and empty back yard was sitting waiting to welcome our youth, to provide a place to hang out or play games, a place to sit under a tree, a warm place to learn about Jesus up close and personal.

That "small group" has grown to forty some-odd young people. And we added a puppy who cautiously watched from afar until she realized just how wonderful Wednesday nights are.

It's not about me. It never is. It's about our gracious Lord and Savior, and his blessed children.

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