If you know me at all then you know I have a natural inclination to trust people. This worries some because they think I will get into cars with strangers or accidentally give all my money to a criminal, but that is not what it means to trust people the way I do.
I understand the faults of humanity and the nature of the world, but I also have a glimpse of what people could be. I have faith that good will triumph over evil, even in the human heart.
I think this trait has had a significant impact on my “success” working with teenagers on the Apache reservation. Coming in I automatically believe in these kids. In the midst of their pain, their mistakes, and their bad habits, I see what they can be and I believe that they will eventually choose the right path. Enclosed in their layers of self-doubt and defensive actions I can see the seed of change struggling to break through. Sure, I get discouraged by their mistakes, but I do not ever doubt that they will one day realize that they are embraced by God’s love and decide to be better. I never consider any of these kids to be a lost cause. Though I may get my heart broken in this process of believing in them, I don’t foresee an end to loving these girls and encouraging them to dig deep and give in to the One who loves them more than anyone.
In a way it seems like God is allowing me to be a portrait of His love for them. I don’t care what they did in the past, and I will forgive them when they mess up. I will give them grace for their mistakes and I will always welcome them back with open arms. Sure, it is possible that this optimism and trust will diminish as I spend more time on the reservation, but I pray that it does not. I pray that God will continue to use me to show these girls what kind of Love they are looking for, and what kind of awesome women they can be. I hope he will use me to show them that they have fabulous potential as girls made in the image of God himself.
Empowerment. Hope. Community. These girls could change the world, someone just has to choose to believe.