Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A glimpse into the lives I work with...

Every Tuesday afternoon I meet with four 7th grade girls just for a little time of discipleship and fellowship. These four girls came to me at the start of the year and said they wanted more. They wanted to grow deeper and they wanted to grow together. I think that is absolutely awesome! Yesterday they came after school and it was just beautiful outside, so we went and had our time outside!

Let me introduce you to these remarkable young girls. I have been so blessed to work with some absolutely AMAZING girls. Seriously. Every single girl in our youth group brings out a different element of God's grace and love in ways that just blow me away. And I think these four represent MANY of the types of girls we have.

This is Caroline. Caroline is the epitome of sweet. If you say something even remotely nice or sweet about her or about ANYONE she will get that huge smile, compassionate eyes, flaring nose look going on and will, without a doubt, have a big "Awww" followed by a big huge smile & shoulder shrug. Most of the time tears and sniffles are included. Caroline loves. Period. She loves everyone and everything she knows or sees. She absolutely HATES the thought of making someone mad or upset and will be the first to apologize. She is so stinkin humble and will not hesitate to admit her weaknesses or ask for help. She is one of the most ADD people I have ever met, but I absolutely love her for it. She will say ANYTHING she's thinking and leave you laughing so hard you cry. She values the things in life that most people do not see as important.

And this is Reagan. Reagan is one ball of ENERGY. No matter what's going on, she will be hyper. She always wants to talk more. Hear more. Know more. Listen more. Learn more. She could probably recite every single lesson I've ever taught, just because she's wanting to soak it all in. In just the last 3 months, I promise you I have received at LEAST 20 notes/letters from her just saying that she loves me and wants me to have a great day. She is one of the most encouraging people I have ever met in my LIFE. She wants to make sure you know that she admires you and she looks for the good in EVERYONE. There is something in every single person Reagan admires and I LOVE that. She never meets a stranger. She'll act shy for about 2 minutes, then she'll be your best friend. You never have to correct her or get onto her, because she does it herself. She knows when she messes up and is the first to point it out. But instead of dwelling on it, she just grows from it. 

And this is Tymber. Oh, how we love Tymber. If you look up the word "pure" in the dictionary, you'll probably see this picture next to it. I don't think Tymber knows how to be mean, or ugly, or rude. Everything she says is so innocent, but not in a naive way. Just in a real, pure way. She's even pure in her blonde moments. And trust me, she has those. She's not the kind to act dumb for attention. When she does something stupid, it's 100% real, which makes it absolutely hilarious. Sometimes she doesn't even know why people are laughing, but she just laughs with them and asks why later. She's not going to be the one to approach you and start the conversation, but once you get the conversation going you will not leave without a smile on your face. She has a thick southern accent that just makes you want to listen to her talk all day long!

And this is Rachael. When I first met Rachael I was scared of her! She didn't talk. I couldn't tell if she just didn't want to be there or what was going on. I spent some time trying to pry her open and when I did, I fell in LOVE with what I found. Rachael is one of the most preceptive people I've ever met. She loves to just watch and listen. She'll answer a question if you ask her directly, but she's not the center of attention. But when she does speak, it is so uplifting. Rachael values people and relationships more than anything else in life. Any time we share things we are thankful for, she is always filled with a list of names. Her prayer requests are always to better relationships in her life. She loves watching other people relate to one another and learning how to do that herself. If she thinks highly of you, she WILL let you know. I can't tell you how many times she has randomly walked up to me and said, "Hey I just wanted to say I love you." Or "I just want you to know that I want to be like you when I grow up." She'll catch you off guard completely with her humble encouragement, but it'll stay with you forever. 

Together, these girls have formed such a tight friendship with each other and it has been so cool to watch them grow so fast at such a young age. They pray together, cry together, laugh together. They encourage each other, and together they encourage everyone else. I know God has huge plans for them and I'm so blessed to just be here to watch it and thank him for it. 

Like I said, they represent a little bit of our entire group. I am so blessed to be surrounded by so many girls who just love the Lord, love each other, love life, and love me... most of the time. Ha. They keep me young! But the thing I love the most right now is that my little girl is going to have so many wonderful lives to watch and model. I know without a doubt that not just these four, but ALL of them are going to be such huge influences on my daughter. I love doing life with them and I am more than blessed to get to share my daughter with them. Many girls are already texting me all the time saying, "I love you and Morgan!" or "I just prayed for you and Morgan!" or "I can't wait to babysit Morgan!" And honestly, it makes my heart so happy.

There are a lot of places and many times when a mom would be scared to death to hear those words from a group of teenagers. But not me, and not these teenagers. Okay... some, maybe. Ha. But seriously... my job is so much more than a job. If I didn't get a dime for it, I would still love it with all my heart. It's not a job, it's my life. And I love this huge element of my life. 

Anytime ministry begins to get bogged down with "to-do's", that's when I know my focus is off. It's so much more than preparing lessons, teaching classes, sending out letters, organizing events, creating games. It's also about embracing life together. The tough times, and the good times. When there's a time to cry, you cry together. When there's a time to jump, smile, and laugh... you jump, smile, and laugh together. But whether you're crying or laughing, you're doing it together.


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