Student Stories

One Step at a Time

Riley Skeen November 15, 2017
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This was me. A 9-year-old going to my first TeenPact One Day Class. Wrinkled shirt, clip-on tie, and a nervous smile.



Adorable… I know….


Like many, I was so, so nervous as I approached the lectern to start reading my funny bill (pretty sure it was about ice cream). My hands were shaking as I stuttered, “A entitled to be a bill…”


This was my first step in TeenPact.


I thank God for that first step because it started a journey in my life of God molding, stretching, and challenging me in countless ways. I would love to have a book of stories– stories about how I changed and how I impacted others. While I have complete and utter confidence that God did use me, let’s just say I don’t have that book. I don’t remember all the details, but I often think about the life-changing experiences and people that I served alongside in this ministry. My TeenPact experience is a part of my life. It’s more than just a week-long mountaintop experience. Perhaps through my vulnerability I might encourage you with my story.


This is what I remember.


I remember feeling overwhelmed as I walked into a large room at TeenPact Staff Training. I knew only a handful of people in a room of over 200. I remember not getting any sleep the night before my first class while rehearsing my line, “Hi, I’m Lactose”. I remember crying in a bathroom the night before giving my first devotional, because I finally realized how much someone had loved me when I was unlovable at a previous TeenPact event.


I remember sitting in a Rendezvous, praying for God to give me the words to guide discussion while also feeling spiritually and physically drained. I remember receiving a “no” letter in the mail saying that I wasn’t invited to intern during the 2016 season. I remember showing up to Staff Training and questioning if God wanted me to still be in TeenPact. I remember crying in the stairwell of a hotel room in Arizona on a Tuesday night while talking to my sister who had just had a miscarriage, not knowing if I could make it to the capitol the next day.


That one hit me hard.


All I wanted to do in that moment was to go home and be with my sister. I remember forgetting (oh the irony) countless students’ names and feeling terrible. I remember leaving a class and feeling like I didn’t impact a single student. I remember calling my dad late at night feeling too inadequate and exhausted to make it another day.


I called my dad a lot.


Two things stick out to me when I think of all these memories. God always guided me through the next class, day, and moment. Not only that, but he used countless students, staff, interns, and parents to comfort me and point me to Christ. I often want to see the whole path of my life, but I believe that God is gracious to not overwhelm us with everything at once. Sometimes it takes us stopping to simply thank God for the opportunity to pray.


Think about that for a second. We have the opportunity to pray.


Sometimes the next step is nervously walking up to the well in TeenPact Legislature, and other times it’s crying to God in a stairwell, way too far from home. Since my TeenPact internship ended this summer, I have already moved twice in pursuit of taking the next step that God has for me. While there are so many unknowns in my future, I can look back at all the previous steps that I have taken and conclude that as God has always been my guide, so he will continue to be in my future. Each of those steps have prepared me for THIS step. Even today as I write this, I am mourning the loss of a friend who died last night. While my heart is broken, I am comforted because I know that God is working. Sometimes that is easier said than believed, and today is just one “small” step, one more opportunity to believe God.


It’s okay to be perplexed, but don’t be crushed.


Take your next step.


Trust God.



About the Author

Riley Skeen

While now living in Dallas, Texas, Riley Skeen grew up right in the middle of adventure – literally and figuratively. Hailing from Farmington,… Read More