This year was supposed to be easy—19 students, 11 adults, two babies, and great rates on hotel and airfare. My fifth trip to the March for Life was on track to be a smooth, stress-free, fun weekend for all. But, as the date on the calendar got closer and closer, the weather report got scarier and scarier. It quickly became clear that this Texas-raised youth leader was about to experience her first blizzard.
Surprisingly, the march was very successful. The Lutheran group led the march with our giant Lutherans For Life banner front and center. The snow was lightly falling throughout the march, and the crowd was smaller than usual, but we were still full of passion and commitment. I told my students it was worth it just to be there marching with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
After the march, plans started to change quickly. Flights were cancelled, hotels were rebooked, and the Students for Life Conference was a no-go for the first time in over a decade. Suddenly, we were faced with at least two extra days of being snowed in at a hotel with 19 teenagers. It would have been easy to think that the devil was trying very hard to keep these students from learning the way we had hoped. I admit that the thought crossed my mind once or twice.
In the middle of the blizzard, however, God started presenting opportunities—opportunities for fellowship, for learning, and for connecting with others. We discovered that the group from Lutheran High School in Parker, Colorado, was staying at a hotel just a couple of blocks from us. We decided to join our two groups together for the first “unofficial” Lutheran Students for Life conference. We spent most of the day Saturday learning from each other about what it means to lead a high school life ministry and how we can better serve those around us. It went better than I could have hoped, and a small part of me is thankful for that blizzard. It gave our students a chance to connect with each other in a way that wouldn’t have been possible at the larger Students for Life conference.
On Sunday the snow had finally stopped, and we went out to enjoy the sunshine with our new friends from Colorado. We had a very “life-affirming” snowball fight, made an “Igloo for Life,” and created memories, friendships, and connections for the future. Seeing these students playing and laughing together after the deep and insightful discussions of the day before filled me with hope for the future of Y4Life.
The Washington, D.C. “Snowmaggedon” of 2016 could have made this Y4Life in Washington, D.C. trip a disaster, but, instead, God taught me a valuable lesson. Even in the midst of devastating storms, God is always with those who are serving Him, and we can trust Him to provide beyond what we can hope or imagine. So, despite my general aversion to frozen precipitation, I am thankful for the snow and even more thankful for my great God!
See photos from the 2016 March for Life on page 21 of LifeDate Spring 2016.