Back in September I felt I needed to make a conscious effort to spend more focused time with the high school girls. I sent out a letter to each of them – at least 20 – and invited them to my house on Thursday. This would be a sort of “small group” but without any particulars. We weren’t going to have an “agenda” per se, but just follow the conversation wherever God would lead. (Conversation amongst high school girls is certainly not hard to come by, after all.)
That first Thursday, my girl Kirsten showed up. And for the next few weeks it was just the two of us. Kirsten, a 12th grader, is one of the quieter girls in the youth group so I was thankful to have this time to share hearts without distraction. I believe it is largely due to those evenings we spent together that we have grown into really close friends. I am going to be geniunely broken-hearted to send her off to college in the fall.
|Kevin snagged this impromptu picture of Kirsten and I at Dare2Share
At that point in our Thursday girls group, Olivia
started showing up. This added a really great dynamic to what Kirsten and I had going on, and the four of us decided to read through the book Head-to-Soul Makeover: Helping Teen Girls Become Real in a Fake World
This proved to provide an excellent environment to be honest, even raw, with our struggles
and to encourage one another to make real changes in our lives to become more Christ-like.
Shortly thereafter, I felt led to personally re-invite a couple girls to join our group. Pretty soon Martha and Laurel had joined us, and the six of us formed a fantastic small group.
We are the quieter, thoughtful types, the ones who want to fit in yet know that fitting in wasn’t worth sacrificing our truest selves. We’re the “good girls,” the ones the grown ups love and the peers don’t really get. We’re the never-miss-church types, who just need space to be real every now and then. We love talking about quirky television shows, eating far too many cookies, drinking cup after cup of tea, and settling in for some heart-stirring conversation. (These descriptions are the reasons reading Graceful was the perfect choice for us.)
A few weeks ago, I decided it was time for a fun photo op. I programmed the self-timer to a 10-continuous-shots setting and let the crazy ensue. We had a blast posing, expressing, laughing, spelling “Cumberbatch” out of blocks, and shoving entire cookies in our mouths. These are just a handful of the collection. I want to cherish these Thursday Girls.
Each week, I am continually honored that these girls want to come together in my living room
. I have never once dreaded their arrival (Yes, I’ll be honest and admit I am not the “perfect” youth leader and sometimes dread other youth events). My heart was happy when the last of the four showed up “on time” exactly at 5:30 tonight, as the other three had all arrived early. I love knowing they look forward to these times together, enough to ask if we could expand our time
given no school/no piano lessons
Thank you, Jesus, for connecting me with Kirsten, Martha, Laurel, Marella, and Olivia. I pray I am as much of a blessing to them as they are to me.