Tonight I had some trouble sleeping. Here are some of the things that kept coming to mind:
*A young man was beaten and likely gang-raped. He had barbed wire wrapped around his neck and was left for dead behind a local store. This wasn't even reported in the news.
*A visitor to our youth group has 7 children with 7 different women. He has encouraged all of his girlfriends to kill the babies, but at least 7 have not. The young man is 21 years old.
*A 19 year old has been in gangs since he was 9 years old. He has "hurt the families" of rival gang members, shot at people, beat people up, robbed strangers, and even been shot. He wants out now, but he is well-known in the projects and his tattoos give him away. He is currently locked up.
*4 of the students we work with have reported to us incidents of sexual abuse.
*A mother recently released from jail for the umpteenth time leaves her kids home hungry so she can attend an all-day sporting event and booze it up with her buddies.
*A sweet young lady sucks her thumb, talks to herself, laughs in the middle of church because she's having a conversation with herself, hops, kicks, and skips down the aisles and across the parking lot. On the phone, she carries on a perfect conversation, never missing a beat. In person, eye contact makes her extremely uncomfortable and she will usually walk away while you are still talking.
These are all people we know, with the exception of one who is known by a close relative. We minister in a small rural area. We live in a small rural town. My fear was always sheltering my children too much- giving them an unrealistic expectation of the world. God in His infinite wisdom has worked that out for us already. They cannot develop a rose-colored view of the world when they labor together with us. Sure, they don't know all the gory details, but they will one day.