I’ve Had Lice Thrice and It Wasn’t Very Nice

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Call me paranoid or maybe slightly insane, but I can’t stop this itchy, crawly feeling……
Nobody likes Nits. I hate nits. And I remember the embarrassment I felt when I realized I had nits. I had just come from being a leader at a camp with over 20 teenage girls. It was one of the best weekends of my life just loving on these girls and sharing with them.
Yet, here I was sitting with a bunch of my friends at a fancy restraint and I couldn’t shake this itchy feeling in my scalp. I tried my best to restrain myself from having a good scratch in front of my friends. Finally I couldn’t handle it and I just gave my head a little scratch and I felt something caught in my fingertips. I tried to be as quiet and slow as I could as I pulled my hand down under the table for examination. To my horror, I found a huge creepy, crawly louse. I felt mortified, horrified and extremely embarrassed.
For the rest of the evening I couldn’t relax and I could t leave that restraint and group of friends fast enough. And, yes, I dealt with those creepy crawlies straight away. Since that moment I have been subject to two further incidents of having lice.

I’m no longer as embarassed and now for me, it comes with part of the life I’ve chosen to live. If I get lice now it means I am actually being at the ground level of working with those who are down and out. The dirty. The smelly and the lice-infested. I now feel proud ( not in an up myself way, but a humbling way) that I can connect with, love and embrace without the thinking that I’ll be contaminated or dirtied.

I have been saved not for myself but to “love mercy and act justly” (Micah 6:8). Most of the time it requires me to step beyond or beneath the comfortable, the clean and the pure. I feel privileged to be invited into homes, families and lives and take the love of Jesus. To bring light into dark places. If it means I get dirty or in my case lice, it’s worth it.

In this life I choose to give my life to seeking what God seeks after. And Jesus said he “came to seek and save that which was lost”(Luke 19:10). Lost in this verse doesn’t just mean something that’s been hidden or led astray. It actually means that which has been destroyed, broken and messed up. We know the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy. But Jesus comes to bring Life and Life to the full (John 10:10). Every day lives and families are being destroyed. I want to be a part of seeking and bringing life to those who are lost.

For me, I know God has chosen me to work with young women. The down and out. The disadvantaged. The voiceless. The broken. And give them the opportunity to encounter Hope. life. The love of their Father. It’s not always nice and it’s not always comfortable. And it’s definitely not easy. But Jesus never said it would be.

Jesus said ” take up your cross and follow me” (Matt 16:24) and in that taking up if our cross it means dying to ourselves and taking on Christ. So I lay down that which is of me that would hinder me and choose to take up Christ to seek and save that which is lost.

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HOPE

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TheGAP is about being hope, providing hope, showing hope, offering hope and teaching hope to young women. The most stressed thing that is said when dealing with young people self-harming, suicidal or dealing with mental health issues is “to help the young person identify and grab hold of hope”.
Most young people want to know that their life is worth living and that there would be someone, anyone, who would just love, care, and support them. Life for young women these days is a life full of trying to measure up, comparing, competing with what their culture tells them is the ideal of beautiful and the worth of their life is only in the sum of their Looks, possessions, bank accounts and boys wanting them. On top of this there is a huge fear of rejection and isolation. Every girl wants to know she is loved, accepted, her life is worthwhile and she belongs. They are asking the question, “Is there hope for my life or is this all there is to life….”? And usually all they know is that life and don’t know that there is a life filled with hope where they are worthwhile, where they can belong and are accepted.
As Christians we know and carry The Hope – Jesus Christ. The One who gave us Life and a life worth living.
Today I am blessed to be part of an organization called City Women where we are able to give young women hope. We run a program in schools called SHINE, 4 camps a year, youth group for girls aged 11-17, a fortnightly discipleship group for over 60 girls and now a home for young women where we have the opportunity to give and show hope. That young women’s lives have value, beauty and worth. We teach them about respect for themselves and others. That their life is valuable, and inspire them with real life stories to encourage them that they can reach their dreams and goals in life. We get to share the Hope of Christ and see young women’s lives and thoughts changed. We get to love and support these young women through life and provide an avenue for them to realize their full potential, worth and purpose in life.
Being able to introduce these young women to Love and Hope is one of the biggest privileges and blessings. To see a young woman’s eyes opened to the reality of how culture is shaping and lying to them and that they can choose a different more hopeful life.
Jesus said, ” I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Gather but through me.”
My favorite thing of all is introducing them to the Love and true Nature of their Heavenly Father who created them and gave them life. Being able to display and carry His love wherever we go and when these girls accept us they are actually accepting the love of the Gather without knowing it.

We have decided that we don’t want to see culture, media to continue to raise, teach and lie to our girls. We refuse to remain silent and instead we are being a voice of hope in out schools, community and this generation of young women.
The devil is relentless in his pursuit. The devil came to “steal, kill and destroy” and he will stop at nothing to do that. But we know Jesus has overcome and won the victory and “has come to give life and life to the full”.
Therefore, we need to be relentless, courageous and bold in fighting for the daughters of our community and nation.