It isn’t an official title for me. Our church doesn’t have a “Girls Minister” position on staff. I’m not hired or paid or otherwise recognized as the girls minister by any church member, but if the shoe fits…..I’ll wear it. In fact I have been wearing it since I said yes to this call on my life for this particular season of my life about 1 year ago. It isn’t always an easy shoe to wear, though, and I don’t always wear it gracefully. But the shoe does fit. And I do wear it. And I’m sure that any other woman who finds herself walking this road like me and (wearing these shoes too!) will tell you that to do this thing will prove over and over how truly incapable we are to do it alone. We need Jesus daily. And we don’t always wear the shoes well. We fail. We mess it up. We sometimes want to quit it.
But you. I think about you. And I think about what God is doing for you even as you read this.
You see, I didn’t always want to do this. In the early days, girls seemed, to me, like too much work- too much drama to keep up with for this non-drama queen. And to be honest, girls, you are a lot to keep up with. (I mean, let’s just be honest.) Your friendships that bloom for a season and then unexpectedly wilt away break my heart too. Your relationships (you know, those boyfriends) that take you away from our tribe and then seem to somehow deliver you back to us when it just didn’t work out isn’t always easy for me to understand. (And I’ll tell you that he wasn’t God’s best for you at the time whether you believe me or not.) Because when your heart breaks, mine does too. Your homework and all the teacher drama….I know it. High school is hard! Your indecisiveness about life and boys and plans makes me a little crazy sometimes. But I stick it out. And because of it I’m growing too. Your complaints about all there is to do and then the look in your eyes when I ask if you’re waking up an hour early to be at Sunday school on Sunday morning makes me want to just quit asking sometimes because I know the answer your heart wants to give isn’t the answer that comes out of your mouth….usually. But if I mention it, you might go.You’ll think about it at least.
And come to think of it- you never did ask me to take this journey with you, but here we are.
I love what I do. And I do it because that’s my assignment from God and because you matter. To love you. To look after you. To feed you. To help you. To guide you. To pray for you. To go on occasional adventures with you.To celebrate with you. But most importantly, to point you to Jesus. I didn’t birth you, but you are as much a part of my life and I feel like a mom sometimes. In fact, I can’t imagine what my life would look like without you in it. I can’t imagine a night without a text conversation about life and dreams and Jesus- or nothing in particular. I love that you do that. I can’t think about what I might do if I didn’t have you to celebrate life’s big moments with- even if those big moments are nothing more than a passing grade on the exam you’ve stressed all week about. It’s a big deal, girls. And I want to celebrate it. And sometimes just surviving the stress together is enough to celebrate! I can’t imagine not constantly thinking about how to serve you better or how to make more time to do this thing that you’ve talked about doing (going places, making recipes, Pinterest projects- you name it)….just because it looks or sounds like fun. I don’t know what life would look like without Bible study and dinner and the ridiculous amount of laughter you bring to my days. And the truth is, I don’t want to imagine it.
But more than all that, I want you to know this one thing. I care a whole lot about you. And it isn’t just because you’re funny and we have fun together or you’re a part of the youth group. In fact, it isn’t that at all. I care because I can see that thing God has put inside of you that will equip you to be a world changer some day. You probably don’t see it. In fact, you’re probably reading this and thinking about how crazy it sounds. But I see it. I see how you care about your friends. And how you work so hard to do everything you have to do and still somehow manage to earn passing grades…most of the time. I commend your efforts to balance life, love, learning, and the to-do lists from mom. You work so hard at keeping it all together. I see how God is working in your life on the outside, although I trust that he’s working on the inside- in your heart- too. I see your eyes light up on Monday nights when you’re talking with the girls or when the discussion around the circle tugs at a heart string. I see how gifted and talented you are in so many areas and how beautiful you are from the inside out. I pray often that you see it too. I pray that you’ll grow up to find the man that sees just how beautiful you are from the inside out- and when you find him, you’ll know. I see the struggle to be all you can be and fit in pulling at you. And I lose sleep at night thinking about how to help you really see that putting Jesus first in ALL things is the answer every time. Every single time. And those tears? Yeah. I cry for you too. I think about all the ways the world will try to change you and how much this time matters. It matters so much, girls. Yet, we have so little time.
I’ll confess that I worry about you when you don’t show up for Bible study or church or special events. I notice when you haven’t texted, called, or stopped by for a visit in a while. I try to give you your space, but I always hold a spot for you in my heart and mind, or on the couch in case you just need to talk it out. I may not have all the answers, but I do listen. And I pray. And I pour over ways that I could do this better because I want you to know that more than anything you’re cared about and you’re loved. And it thrills my heart to see you love Jesus so much.
I get excited when you talk about how good your Bible study is. (And I thank God that you’re actually doing it!) I love hearing about ways you see the Lord working in your life or prayers that you know he’s answered. I hold on to hope that you’ll be different than the world and that you’ll grow deep roots in Jesus now that will sustain you in the future. I want you to grow up to be a woman of character and integrity and I want you to know that you don’t have to have a boyfriend, have sex, use ugly language, or copy the world’s ways in order to live your life to the fullest. You don’t have to be anything other than you….and in fact, I really just like the original you anyway. Your innocence is something to hold on to and not be ashamed of. Your purity is a precious gift. Your purpose is divine and God has an amazing journey ahead for you if you’ll keep your eyes focused, your hands free, and your book open. Just let God write your story.
Every piece of my story thus far has brought me to this place. I’ve lived a beautiful life, but living life with you is my favorite (and so fun in all the ways). You inspire me. You challenge me. At times, you break me. You show me how much I need to give and receive grace. You make me proud. You keep me humble and you always, always, help me walk in these shoes like I was meant to walk in them. One foot in front of the other. Holding hands with Jesus the whole way….and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love you.