Courtney Villasenor who is a wife, mom of three, hairstylist, and a special volunteer who has been a part of YoungLives for the last four years, shares a bit of her own story and what being a volunteer means to her.
When I was 17, I was in a dark place in my life. I had a boyfriend with whom I had a toxic relationship with, and before I knew it I found myself “in love” and expecting a baby. I didn’t initially have the support of the father, so for a while I was scared and in this crazy situation alone! Growing up as a pastor’s kid, I couldn’t (initially) tell my parents in fear of disappointing them. So here I was 17 and pregnant, baby father wasn’t around, & my friends were off being normal 17 year olds. It was a really scary time!!!! I think back to those days and don’t know how I even managed to get through my days of going to school, cheer practice, and homework, all while trying to hide this huge secret.
That sweet baby went home to be with the Lord before I met him/her, and it took me a lot of years to instead of being angry with God for my loss, know that He had other plans for my life before I became a mom. I know now that YoungLives was something meant for me to be apart of, so I could turn my sorrow into something beautiful by blessing these moms and dads. I know all too well what a lot of them are feeling everyday and that breaks my heart for them, but also pushes me to make their monthly club nights as special as possible. So for the few hours they’re at club they can just forget about the stress of the world and school and feel blessed. Hopefully they will feel the love of God through what we’re doing and that will in turn get them asking more questions about God and starting their walk with Him.
So many of these teens are going through what I faced for a short while everyday – scared, maybe alone in their pregnancy, not knowing where their next meal will come from, not having support or help from family, or how they’ll even get through school to graduate. I thankfully had parents who accepted my situation with open and supportive arms, but that’s not always the case for teen parents, and I can’t imagine going through that time of my life if I hadn’t had my parents. I hope to show these girls through my story, that even though they might be facing some dark days; God is still there. He’s still watching, & working, & most importantly no matter what, L O V E S them!
That’s where YoungLives comes in, we have opportunity to be that support system for them and try to do life with them as much as we can! Sometimes all they need is an ear, or something to look forward too when life is hard. The volunteers at YoungLives want the best for these mamas and dads and being able to support them and lend a hand is something so little, but in the end could be so impactful for their future!
If you know me at all, you know I LOVE a good party, so when they put me in charge of decorating I was stoked! I am not always the best with expressing myself or talking in front of people, but I can decorate the heck out of tables; and I thought, how amazing it would be to be able to make this place like a fun party every month for these teen mamas and dads! The greatest part about it all is my big kids, Emma, seven & Crew, five, are involved and it’s something special we get to do together every month. They’re still very young, but they understand that we get to throw these fun parties for mommies & daddies who work really hard and deserve a fun night! My kids are very blessed and my husband and I have always tried to teach them about giving back & blessing others. Through YoungLives they are seeing me do this, but also wanting to help me and enjoy making it so special for the other parents! They also get to help in child care with the babies when the moms & dads hear the message. My little Emma LOVES all the babies!!!! Her heart is so big and she looks forward to helping every month. This love for helping is so strong in their hearts and I pray that by them seeing me volunteer every month, it will grow deeper in their own hearts to bless others so that when they’re older it won’t be “just a fun time to help mom decorate” but instead they will feel called to bless others all around them and continue to spread the word and God’s love in the simplest ways.
Trying to find a way to serve God while in the midst of motherhood, with three little kids, and working, and homework… it can be super hard at times! Because for me, most days, I feel like I’m called by just being a mom and by doing my best to serve and teach God’s word to my own kids. But being a part of YoungLives, and having my kids serving alongside me, it’s become a regular part of our lives. Sometimes the simplest acts of kindness is all God expects from us. For me, to be able to hold a baby so a mama can eat, or hear the message and reflect on the Word with the mentors is such a blessing. At the end of the day if there’s 30 moms, and only one leaves with a full belly AND a full heart with the gospel, then it was a job well done! That’s the biggest goal we can have every month is to try and reach at least one heart. One is where it all starts.