Twenty years ago, I walked into the Daystar office for the first time, which was then housed in an office building in Nashville next to the old Burger King, which is now the Well Coffee shop. I had an interview that day with Melissa, who had roller bladed to work that particular day.
I was a student at Vanderbilt interviewing for a graduate internship placement. I had heard that Larry Crabb, an author who was much of the reason I was pursuing a career in counseling, said that Melissa was the best adolescent counselor in the country. I couldn’t imagine what a privilege it would be to learn from such a wise woman.
During our interview, Melissa talked to me about Daystar’s model of counseling. She explained ideas such as “one life touching another,” “soften, shape, strengthen,” and told me about groups and camps (even before there was such a thing as Camp Hopetown). The more she talked, the more teary I became. I remember thinking, “I can’t believe a place like this exists”…that encompassed all I had longed—actually—felt called to do and get to be in the lives of kids.
Twenty years later, I’m still here. Rumor has it that Melissa only took me on because I could play the guitar. Whatever the reason, I’m beyond grateful. It has been a privilege. Every. Single. Day. To sit with children, teenagers and families…to learn from the tremendous counselors who have come before me and continue to work alongside me…and, of course, to get to be a part of this incredible vision that God gave such a wise woman named Melissa.
One of my favorite stories I tell at every parenting seminar is of a little girl who said “I don’t go to Daystar for counseling. I just go to talk about my problems.” I have my own version of her thought. I don’t go to Daystar to counsel…or to work. I go to get to be a part of something so much bigger than me…a place where I thought maybe I could make a difference those twenty years ago. But, a place, I have learned has made a much bigger difference in me. I know Jesus and hope and God’s constant redemption because of a counseling ministry called Daystar.
Speaking and writing, for me, just feel like a privileged and humbling addition to my work there. The Back Door to Your Teen’s Heart just kind of unfolded, as a result of Melissa and my dear friends, Cindy Morgan Brouwer and her husband Sigmund. The rest has evolved over time and with much prodding by the Holy Spirit and profound amounts of grace. We now have the privilege of taking the message of Daystar to people who can’t quite get to our little yellow house. I am honored to get to be a part of all of it.