Before you think I lived a perfect life, I'll be the first to tell you it wasn't. I had my share of mess ups despite my 'sheltered' upbringing. I made decisions and acted in ways I wish I had done differently, but praise God for His mercy and forgiveness during those times!
As I look back at the way I was brought up, my heart is burdened. It's burdened for the youth in our church that aren't getting the same upbringing I did. You see, with the exception of a few occasional appearances, none of their parents come to church. They're being taught the Bible for a couple of hours a week at church and bombarded with worldly influences for the rest of it. They don't have someone in their home to say, 'let's pray about this matter you're struggling with' or 'what does the Bible have to say about this?' They're the only ones getting up for church in the morning while everyone else sleeps in. Instead of being encouraged to attend all youth activities, I imagine it's more like 'Well, if that's the way you want to spend your weekend, go ahead.'
In the past year, the Lord has really been showing me how important it is to invest in our youth - particularly our girls, since I can't really invest in the guys as a single woman. :) They need someone they can look up to for an example of how to live a godly life as a young woman, and that it's a good thing to be a feminine woman in this increasingly gender-confused world. They need someone who can pray with them and share Scriptures with them about things they are struggling with. They need someone to encourage them and cheer them on to do what's right when everyone else around them says, 'Give in to the temptations. God isn't worth your time.' They need someone to show them just how special they are and how much God loves them and how He wants to be a part of their lives.
I pray I can be that someone in their lives.