It’s Mils here. For those of you who don’t know my actual name is Amelia, but I tend to go with Mils – blame Chloe for starting to call me Mildred which in turn got shortened to Mils. It’s real classy, right? I think so too. Anyway I wanted to switch things up a bit today and speak to you about something very different, but none the less A-MAZE-ING. It’s something that is very close to my heart and I want to share it with you so maybe you can understand it’s importance, not just to me but to the people involved and the wider community.
This is it, the big reveal …. Drum roll please … ‘LIVEWIRE’.
It doesn’t have much of a ring to it on paper to be honest. (*Inserts crying face emoji*).
Let me introduce a bit of background context for you. Livewire is my youth group that takes place every Friday night from six until nine. It is divided up into three parts: games, worship and the Word. You can probably already guess now that this is a Christian based group, and if you didn’t guess that then you probably need to sharpen up your inference skills. Especially if you’re an English student like me. Inference is key for literature so there’s a heads up for you guys out there who want to study it (or are studying it).
I started in Livewire on 11th December 2015. So this year I will have been there for two years. I can honestly say that the person talking to you today is totally different to the person from two years ago.
Before I had started to attend Livewire, I had got into some sticky situations where I had no idea how to escape from. I had isolated myself, built barriers between myself and the rest of the world. Apart from the one person who was keeping me there, who was feeding my isolation. (For the purposes of the blog, I have changed the name of the perpetrator to Alex).
He was my boyfriend of two and a half years (ish – without counting the numerous breakups and getting back together). Either way, he ended up doing the dirty on me with my best friend at the time and let me tell you, that’s not the best thing in the world. The two people I had completely trusted had betrayed me. It stung. For a long time. I cut myself off from everyone, thinking I couldn’t trust anyone else.
Frightened that the same thing would happen again if I let people get close enough. The break up happened around March 2015 (right on top of my GCSEs) which left a neat nine month gap between when I started Livewire and the break up.
It was between that period that I distanced myself, I found talking to people a struggle. Have you ever been in a situation where the conversation just becomes awkward? I felt like I was the perpetrator of the ‘awkward’ comments. The comments that shut down all conversation. Or I’d just focus on myself and bore everyone to death. Sometimes I even thought I saw tears of boredom threatening to roll down some people’s cheeks. I was miserable.
It was then in September when I started a new college that I met my now best friend, Chloe. I’d known her all through secondary School, but we were never really that close. Well, I didn’t class us as being that close at the time. She took me under her wing and the trust began to grow between us, something I had given up on a long time ago. December came, and she invited me to her youth night – Livewire. At that point, I had no idea what it was, I just knew they did some games, hung out and drank hot chocolate.
Entering into the church, I automatically felt different. There was a certain atmosphere, and i couldn’t put my finger on it. It was different, enlightening almost. I knew I would be accepted here, there was a sense of friendship and connectivity in the air. Okay, most of the night I stayed with my sister, but it was the start of an exhilarating journey that two years on, I still haven’t finished. It will never be finished.
A few months on, I had put my name down for the 2016 leadership boot camp which is a weekend away where you are intensely trained in leadership. Let me just tell you, I do not fancy the two hour practical session in the cold, mid-November rain again. I wasn’t expecting for my Youth Pastor to accept me onto it, I mean I had only been there at that point for about four or five months – but he did. It was such a shock and I was extremely grateful for him giving me that opportunity.
However, before Young Lions, there was Resolution ‘16: Courageous. The annual youth camp and I was able to be a part of it and attend. Livewire and a youth group called Revive Hounslow from London join together and spend a week together in Cefn Lea, Mid Wales. The journey is the scariest part of the trip – especially the roads labelled as ‘death roads’. Not fun.
Camp was some week. I’d never experienced a holiday like it! The days were packed full of activities. From around 7am to 11:30 in the evening for five whole solid days. It was relentless, but so worth it. The average day consisted of breakfast, games session, morning meeting (worship and the Word), the main activity, lunch, another activity, dinner, free time, evening game session, more worship and another Word and then a late night seminar which was optional, but why miss out?
After the week at camp, Livewire remained as usual – every Friday night six until nine pm as usual. Then Young Lions came along. (The leadership programme). At this point I had started another school, doing the tedious job of A Levels which I’m currently nearly half way through. It was a tiresome weekend. Spiritually and physically. Being made to run with a sack of potatoes forwards and backwards is a hard job. I’m not just talking about a big sack of potatoes either. These potatoes were large, heavy and I could swear they were alive, the way they were wriggling around in the sack had started to worry me. Our spiritual gifts were also tested. The power of prophecy was a challenge. But did I let worry of failure defeat me? Ha, nope. It was a struggle, but with persistence and faith I pulled through and delivered words of wisdom and power to my friends in my coaching group. There was four of us, yet after that weekend I felt as though we had known each other for years! I honestly cannot wait to see them again this year, ready for year two!
This brings me to where I am now. A few months on, the youth pastor accepted me onto the team. January 2017 was my official welcome. I was an official ‘Potential Leader’ of Livewire! I had worked so hard during Livewire to obtain this place and I had achieved it. My high energy levels and my growth in confidence had paid off. We were assigned Livewire t-shirts, hoodies, and then badges that had our names on. Words can’t describe the joy this position brings me. To be able to help guide the youth into greater things. To help them with the everyday struggles they face and to just lead them to a place where they know they are safe.
I am now in the meetings for planning this year’s youth camp, and I can already sense it’s going to be another thrilling week. Also, my first Word (speech to the youth on a topic relevant to their lives with the power of God) is in a week’s time which I am so grateful for Dave (youth pastor) to have granted me this opportunity.
It’s crazy how things have turned around from about a year and a half ago. Crazy how much can change within a couple of years. It’s possible. You can go from an emotional wreck to a changed, powerful, individual leader. Leader of your own life and others.
I can proudly say that this change all started when I chose to give my life to God on 11th December 2015.
God is good all the time. And all the time God is good. (Little reference to God’s Not Dead for ya. Cracking film, I definitely recommend you watch it!).