Passionate About Motivating Teens

Oftentimes in life, we ask the questions, “Why am in in these circumstances? Why did you put me in this situation?” Whether it’s a loss of a job, teen pregnancy, cancer diagnosis, it can be hard to see God’s faithfulness. For Tia Ross, she found herself pregnant at age 16 and asking those very questions. Ross shared with us five years ago, how her experience now helps her to help teens through Motivating the Teens Spirit (MTS) and how her faith shaped her career.

 “When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”’ Matthew 25:39-40

Ross shares how her first-hand experience of being a single teen mom enables her to reach teens.

“Being a single teen mom was really challenging. It made me grow up fast, but it also helped me because now I’m able to stand in front of a teen and be imperfect. So often adults are constantly trying to make teens do what’s right and protect them, but they talk at them. I love working with at-risk youth. When I was enrolled at San Diego State University, I had the opportunity to do student work at juvenile hall. I was given four cases to follow and my very first case was a 14-year-old prostitute. Working with her, it became apparent to me why I was there. Who else would be appropriate to relate to this young girl? Even though God protected me from prostitution, I felt able to relate to her struggles.”

“ I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.” Philippians 3:14-16

Ross shares how her spiritual journey has shaped her career and passion for helping others.

 “Growing up, I’ve had friends [and family] die from gangs. I had access to any drug I could think of, and I think [to myself], there’s no way I should be living now. I should be a statistic. But even though I had a daughter at 16, was on welfare, and in the middle of crises, I still finished high school and went straight to college to graduate with a criminal justice degree. I couldn’t see God’s hand at the time, but when I met Lisa Nichols (founder of MTS), and she offered me a position to work with her, something inside of me said to just do it. As a facilitator, God holds me in a space of accountability. I’ve reached a point in my spirituality that I have to stay in lesson so that my stories can touch people. In order to lead other people and teach, my life has to constantly be a life of learning lessons. It’s one thing to speak and read about honoring God, but it’s another to live it. I want to be what God has called me to be and know my authority in it. God has put me in this world as a cultivator. People plant seeds and then God sends me- to a place of hardened soil- to get in the dirt and do the stuff most people don’t want to do. I soften the soil and help teens grow.” 

 Risen ReflectionsTurn to God. Whatever your trial or circumstance, God wants you to turn to Him. Take time and pray. It is okay to be angry, frustrated and confused. Pray those things to God. Ask Him the questions that you are thinking. He wants to speak to you through his Holy Spirit. God speaks to us through the Bible and prayer. Reflect on passage in the Bible where characters are going through a difficult time. Look at the prayers that they pray, how they turn to God and what God does in his faithfulness.

Turn to others. God designed us to help one another. If you are in a position where you need help, turn to others. It could be a trusted friend, small group member, pastor or ministry leader. Don’t feel like you have to share with everyone. Some issues are more sensitive than others. Ask God to show you who is trustworthy and can help you. If you are able to help others, ask God to show you a friend, someone at church or a ministry you can serve in to share what God has taught you. You don’t have to be perfect or have it all together to help others. God wants to use you right where you are at to share your wisdom and what He has taught you along the way.

Live the life. Whether you have been called to full-time vocational ministry or are working in the secular world, God has called each of us to be a light for Him. We are to be a reflection of Christ and his love to the world. It doesn’t matter if we work for a church or a corporation. Our character and actions need to be rooted in our relationship with Christ. Ask a close friend or someone in your small group for their honest input if you are living your life for Christ seven days a week or if you are only a Christian on Sunday.

To read our entire interview with Tia Ross, click here.

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