A Message for Those of Us Who Are Seasoned

A Message for Those of Us Who Are Seasoned

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Titus 2:3-5

A few weeks ago, I was in the shower and a random thought came from out of no-where, or so it seems. Stay with me, I’m going somewhere, I promise. I was reminded of an encounter several years ago that I had at a youth camp where I was a camp counselor. At the end of the camp, we were encouraged by the Pastor and camp leader to impart words of encouragement to the kids we had been mentoring as we parted ways. I remember thinking, “Oh Lord, what in the world am I going to say to these young ladies”. During that time in my life, I was still extremely self-conscience and shy when it came to sharing anything about my faith.

Camp Elevate_1I was responsible for overseeing 4 young ladies, but there was one in particular who really stole my heart. She was a teenage parent. I learned during our time together that she was 16, had a newborn baby – just a few months old, and during camp she accepted Christ as her savior. When it was time to impart words into her life, I blurted out something like, “I’m the product of a teenage parent. My mother was 15 when she had me. I just want you to know that you can be anything that you want to be in life.” I said some other things that I don’t quite remember, but before I could finish, she was balling and crying like a baby, I was balling and crying like a baby and I remember it being such a powerful moment in time. For me personally, because I had NEVER shared that part of my life with anyone, that I was the product of teenage parents. People who knew my family, knew that my mother was young when she had me; but this aspect of my life, I never shared with or discussed with anyone because honestly, I was ashamed of it.

I now realize that my sharing with her that I was the product of a teenage mother released me from the shameful bondage that I was carrying around because of something I had absolutely no control over. I realized God strategically appointed me as her camp counselor. Oftentimes, teenage mothers are judged harshly for their situation; frowned upon and looked down on by many. When this young lady came to camp I knew nothing about her, but as I learned her story, I was moved with compassion towards her. I did not judge her situation. I was there to be not just a camp counselor, not just the authoritarian making sure that we were where we needed to be and when, but a mentor and a friend. I remember an incident where the young lady wore a pair of extremely revealing tight shorts to an activity. I thought about asking her to change, but decided not to. At the activity another counselor felt the need to tell me that I should ask the young lady to change her shorts because other counselors were complaining and her shorts were way too short, etc. I told the counselor that I was not going to ask her to change because of what other people were saying. I explained that she had recently accepted Christ into her life and that we should be more focused on loving her into the body of Christ instead of judging the clothes that she was wearing.Camp Elevate_2

In summation, this and many incidents that I have witnessed in the body of Christ makes me wonder, how many people have we chased away from Christ and the Church with our rules and rituals? How about those of us who are seasoned, mentor and teach those women and girls in the Body of Christ who are younger instead of judging them?

Terry Cato About Terry Cato

Terry Cato is a Talk Show Host, Author and relationship blogger. She is the Founder of Relationships 411, a blog community dedicated to healthy relationships and marriages. She is the Host of Real Talk w/Terry a Bay Area talk show focusing on relationship and lifestyle topics. Her memoir, “No Longer a Bridesmaid!” chronicles the 7 years she was single, celibate and believing God for a husband. Feel Free to Follow Terry on Twitter and visit her website for more information about the Author.


  1. Terry, this touched my soul! I love that God put you right where you needed to heal and then in doing so you were able to help a new believer. God is so good, and I feel it more strongly all the time because of stories like this. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    • Awe Cherie, thank you for your words of encouragement! Sorry for delay responding, but these past few days have been a trying time for my family.

  2. Something we all need to hear. The willingness to be vulnerable, to admit our messy lives, is one of the most powerful ways to connect with others. Why are we so often afraid to admit our hidden messes?
    Thanks for the encouragement.

  3. Thank you, Terry. Such a needed reminder. A dear friend of mine says, “Sinners sin–that’s their job description.” It’s not our job to harp on their sin. That young woman will never forget your caring and transparency. May God continue to bless your openness and willingness to love.

  4. Kristin Bunting says:

    Amen, sister! I have been very burdened by this over the last few years. Our love is supposed to speak volumes about Jesus to people, but we are known for our judgement instead. I think you were absolutely right in not asking her to change her shorts that night. God was at work doing a much bigger “changing” in her. Thank you for showing love to those who need it most!

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