Like many blogs, half the things that end up on my blog are from a lesson the Lord taught me, or experiences with family and friends, or insight He gave me to teach my 6th grade girls.
Today, it's the third one.
From the end of October to early December it was just me teaching my girls, a minimum of 15 preteen girls and one twenty year old. Truthfully, sometimes it terrified me. My brain would race- "Do they get what I'm saying?" "What am I coming across as?" "Is that me talking or am I letting Jesus talk through me?" And the occasional, "Lord give me grace 'cause I'm at my wits end with that one."
The majority of my girls are from whole families, with moms AND dads (our boys are different, which is why I clarified). Most of them have been in church since their cradle days. They live in nice neighborhoods, and they attend good schools. They don't deal with a whole lotta yuck yet. And the yuck they do deal with, they keep close to themselves.
I was just like them, once.
Oh how my heart aches for my precious girls at times. The world we live in is hard. I don't have to tell them that. Even in the years since I was in their shoes, it has changed. Yet it is all the same too. In these last few months, the cracks started appearing and they let their walls down for me. Some have hearts are still damaged by their parent's divorce, by the illnesses of family members that wreak havoc. One of my girl's had a parent lose his job, and it affected their entire way of life. A few are struggling with the knowledge that a sibling will soon leave for college. One has a brother on a Navy ship, hundreds of miles away. Two are dealing with leaving the houses they grew up in and moving across town. They stress over homework and recitals and ball games and pep rallies. They all have the inner battle of wanting to experiment with makeup, but still wanting to play with dolls. Several have boy drama. There's a constant worrying about peer acceptance & finding friends.
I ache to just wrap them up sometimes. Part of me longs to keep them little, but more of me loves on them and tells them to keep going, keep growing, keep fighting. Because this is only the beginning.
Some days I just look at them and wonder if they realize this IS only the beginning. I sure didn't.
This is when they start to make their faith their own. I know many other people would tell you that happens when you leave for college, but I believe it starts happening in middle school. It starts happening as they try to figure out who they are going to be and what they're going to stand for.
I don't want them to feel scared to come to me, to any adult leader in our ministry.
I don't want them to feel like church is just a place to be preached at.
I don't want them to turn to material things, boys, alcohol, or drugs for fulfillment.
I don't want them to only be Godly on Sunday and worldy from Monday to Saturday.
I want them to be consistent young women- in love with Christ and active for Him as they grow from middle school to high school to adulthood.
I want them to be unique, to stand apart from the world. I want them to comprehend their Savior's love for them and for them to bask in that.
I want them to come to church because they want to- because they want to worship our Savior surrounded by fellow believers.
I want them to find fulfillment in Him.
This is when they need the most guidance. This is when they need good examples of people showing them what it is like to follow hard after Christ. And not just showing an example of a life spent following hard after Christ; they need people to teach them how to do it- how to have quiet times, how to be a friend, how to say no, how to get involved in your community, how to handle stress, how to deal with unexpected, how to pray, how to get over broken hearts, how to recover from choices, how to ask for help, how to serve others, etc. They need people to teach them, and they need those same people to actually get in there (there being life) and walk it with them.
They need stability and unconditional love and quality time. They need to know there is more to life than everything the world offers. They need to know that they're going to be given grace, that people will catch them when they fall, that they can be open and honest with our ministry leaders from now til graduation.
Honestly, I can't tell you if I'll be here in a year, let alone to love them all the way to graduation. But I can love them now, and I can love them well. I can be someone they never doubted loved them. And if that is how they remember me, then I've showed them Christ.