"...no adolescent, however rebellious, is doomed by fate. With warmth, self-sacrifice, and honesty-- with the love that ultimately comes from God-- every child can be guided and saved."
excerpt from the book She Said Yes.
I have been sick for the last two days, so I haven't really done a whole lot. With all of the resting and doing nothing, I have had the opportunity to read the book She Said Yes. This is the story of Cassie Bernall, the girl who was killed at Columbine High School because she said that she was a Christian. What surprised me about Cassie's story was that her testimony was NOTHING like I had expected. I assumed that this girl, who had been martyred for her faith, had a sparkling past and a clean record. Right from the beginning of the book, I came to find out that Cassie had a very troubled history. When Cassie was 15 years old, her mom came across some letters in her room that a friend had written. They were horrific letters that talked about killing Cassie's parents, drugs, alcohol, and the occult. The parents quickly realized that there was a whole other side of their daughter that they had never seen. Of course, Cassie's parents were scared, heartbroken, and not sure what to do. In order to try to save Cassie from the path that she was following, her parents moved, cut off all relations with friends from her "old life", and forced Cassie to go to a private Christian school. Cassie hated her new school and hated her parents for making her go there. She was hard, hateful, and not the least bit interested in the things of God. In fact, she had even tried to give her soul to the Devil at one point. She cut herself regularly. Suicide was a common threat. She was the teen girl that you would be afraid of if you saw her around town.
Cassie convinced her parents to allow her to go on a teen retreat with her church. She didn't want to go for the preaching, but because her friend was going. The parents finally gave in, and let Cassie go on the two-day trip. It was on that trip that Cassie Bernall got saved. The Holy Spirit finally was able to soften her heart, and she surrendered to Him. Later, she begged her parents to allow her to go to public school in order to be a witness. They reluctantly allowed her to go. It was at this public school, Columbine High School, that she stood for Christ and was murdered.
Tomorrow is our big day in the teen department at church. We have been working and praying for weeks in preparation. Meals have been skipped in fasting, tears have been shed in prayers, money has been spent in materials. I can't help but wonder if another "Cassie" will be in our midst tomorrow. Perhaps a hardened, depressed, angry girl will show up with her friends tomorrow. She might intimidate some people... not me. Maybe a Gothic guy will come with black eyeliner, black nail polish, and a spiky dog-collar necklace. I won't write him off. Usually the kids that cause the most problems are the ones who are hurting the most.
The book I read about Cassie today reminded me that if the Holy Spirit is present, great things -- amazing things-- can happen. I am praying and expecting great, AMAZING things tomorrow. Who knows what teenager's life will be forever changed! This book reminded me teens today face obstacles that seem insurmountable. They need our prayers, our love, our understanding. I am determined to pray like I never have before, because this is the only way we can help teens today. No promotion given away at church is going to win over one of these desperate kids... only love and the Holy Spirit.
I am sure that the people who volunteered to work at the youth retreat saw little hope in Cassie before she was saved. Her own youth director said, "We'll give it our best, but this girl's going to be a hard one. She's gone, unreachable. There is no way that she'll ever recover from what she's doing." Cassie's tarnished past inspired me to never give up on a difficult teen. In my eyes, there is no person that is "unreachable."
I am so excited to see what God has in store for us tomorrow! I can't wait to see the lives that are changed and the souls that are saved!