Stepping Out


When I started home schooling 4 years ago, I stepped back from most of my other responsibilities.  I wanted time to figure out the ropes of homeschooling in addition to taking care of my family.   But last spring, I started to feel a tug.  I was ready to serve again.  I wasn’t sure where or how, but I knew I wanted to serve in some capacity.  (Keep in mind this is not because after 3 years of homeschooling I suddenly had the homeschool thing mastered… truthfully this year more than ever I feel more nervous about our school year…. it’s because I think I realized that I didn’t want to wait till I had mastered it b/c truthfully I never will…)

So anyway, last spring I started to talking to Scott about my desire to get involved and serve the Lord.  He supported it.  Still I wondered where, how?

And then I got a letter from our youth pastor seeking helpers for the youth group.

This is not the first time such a letter has arrived in our mailbox.  In the past, I’ve gotten the letter, thought, “wow, I am flattered they’d ask me to help with youth group… I know nothing about teenagers.  Teenagers scare me.  There’s no way I could ever do that”  and so every year I’d send him a nice e-mail saying, thanks, but no thanks- my plate is full right now.

Until this time.

This time, I thought, “Wow, teenagers totally scare me, there’s no way I could ever do that…” I think I want to sign up.

I can’t explain why the change of heart, only than to say, I think it comes from God working in my heart.  I think I finally realized I am ready to step out of my comfort zone.  I think I finally realize how very little it has to do with me, and how much it has to do with Him. 

What do I, homeschooling mom of 4 young children have to offer a group of teens?


But, God has LOTS to offer them and I am exited and hopeful that He will use me to draw them closer to Him.  And conversely, I am hopeful he will use them to draw me closer to Him as well. 

On one hand there is a part of me that is absolutely terrified of  youth events.  I hate small talk.  I hate starting up conversations with people I don’t know well. I find spending time with large groups of people completely exhausting.  I find walking into a room full of teenagers completely intimidating… it’s like all those 9th grade insecurities come creeping back.  I’m not hip.  I know nothing of style (I text and e-mail my SIL when I need help putting together an outfit), what am I thinking?  My comfort zone is a world of play dough and goldfish.   I prefer squishing into chairs that are low to the ground and making time for “potty breaks.” 

But, you know… I am only 3 years away from having a middle schooler. (this thought instantly makes my breathing turn rapid).  What better time to learn about the world of teenagers than before I have one of my own? 

This weekend I’m heading off for my first “official” youth event.  It’s a staff retreat to get to know the staff I’ll be serving with and to further grasp the vision for the year.  Or as I told my 5 year old the other night when I explained why Mommy is going away for the weekend, “so I can learn how to teach teenagers more about Jesus.”  The week after that will be my first Sunday School and youth group event.  I am excited and nervous about this year.  But, I hope I am able to make some connections with some of the students and that together we’ll grow closer to Jesus this year. 


  1. I feel your anxiety; I worry for the day when my own kids turn into teenagers, hoping that I grow into the role slightly before they do. But it is wonderful that you've found something you feel called to participate in. Good luck!

  2. 1. you know how and are willing to laugh at yourself
    2. i don't think teens like small talk either. Think back to the teachers who did more than small talk... Mrs. Wenerick, Mrs. Nebbia... those are the teachers who made a real difference and we still connect with years dive right in! : )
    3. I think you are somewhat unaware of the Godly wisdom you have been blessed with...I see it and value it greatly... so I think you can trust your instincts when answering crazy teen questions etc : )
    4. teenagers LOVE to feel like they know more than adults... so ask them your fashion questions
    5. I am quite certain that there is not a soul on earth... of any age ... who after meeting you, does not love you.
    6. Review number 5 : )

  3. You will be great because the One who guides you is the greatest! Good for you, Crystal, for letting Him tug you into service!!

    And the thought of how close our kiddos are to middle school also gives me pause...don't do that again! LOL

  4. I'm so excited for you for stepping out and being willing and available for God to use you in this way! I can't wait to hear about your weekend and all the new adventures you're going to have working with the youth!

  5. Good Luck!!! You will do a fab job and probably have lots of fun too. I like Jami's 4th piece of advice. :D You'll have to keep that in your back pocket.

  6. You're gonna do great!
    Feeling listened to is the most important thing - at any age.

  7. Teenagers like realness and so I think they will love you, Crystal! Good for you for stepping out of your comfort zone and trusting God will lead the way!

    You are going to be great. Can't wait to hear more about it. :)

  8. praying for you as you embark on this journey. i can't wait to hear how God uses you in those kids' lives and how God uses those kids in your life. and when you doubt, just go back and read everything jami wrote. i loved them all!

  9. Jami's list couldn't be more spot on! You are going to be great because of exactly the reasons you don't think you will: "I hate small talk. I hate starting up conversations with people I don’t know well. I find spending time with large groups of people completely exhausting. I find walking into a room full of teenagers completely intimidating… " Do you know how many teenagers feel exactly the same way?? Woohoo, Crystal!!! I can't wait to see and hear about the way God uses you, and changes you this year! (Btw, I'm curious about Scott's reaction when you told him??)

  10. How exciting!!! I felt the *exact* same way about teenagers 3 years ago when my husband and I were gently pushed into participating in our church's youth group activities by some dear friends who were youth volunteers and were moving away. Suddenly we found ourselves immersed in the youth group experience and loving it, but FOR SURE those first six months I walked into the NEON green room nervous and insecure and uncertain! The biggest blessing and the biggest surprise of the whole experience has been finding how easy it is to get to know the youth and how friendly they are. The teens have ministered to me and blessed me WAY more than I think I have ministered to them. They are selfless and enthusiastic and optimistic, all attributes that I have found myself lacking in recent years. Plus, working in a youth group is a great way to get a healthy list of potential babysitters :). I love your blog Crystal, it is so refreshing and a joy to read!


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