Teenagers can be difficult to figure out and relate to. In general, they like to put on a suit of armor when it comes to interacting with their teachers or other authorities. But years of experience have taught me that it is just a suit that can be put on or taken off. Every now and then you can get a glimpse through that exterior shell into the gentle, vulnerable, human being made in the image of Christ.
One particular teenager, in addition to trying to survive high school, is also trying to survive her home life. Things at home aren’t good. And that’s about all that I know. I don’t know the details and I don’t need to. I can accurately assume that it involves drugs, alcohol, and abuse. Thus she is often absent and especially armored when she returns to school. And yet, I was privileged to see a chink in that armor in the form of a grateful, appreciative smile.
So far, I haven’t see much in the form of a relationship between this girl and I. Today, she returned to school after being absent for several days in a row. I ran into her in the restroom and as I walked past I offhandedly commented that I was glad she was back. I glanced over my shoulder and saw in the mirror, a definite smile break through her armor. She didn’t respond nor did she know I saw the smile. I can only thank the Lord for that glimpse into her heart.
She needs Jesus so much and there’s so much she doesn’t know. But hopefully, today she knew that she was missed and appreciated here at school. Prayerfully, she will know that the love she feels here comes from the Lord our Savior. I pray that someday she will come to know Him personally and know the worth that He provides. I don’t know what her future holds, but I know He loves her and He is Immanuel, God With Us. I trust her to His loving hands and I thank Him for her smile.