Summer has kindly offered for me to share a story with you on her blog. This lady, though I’ve never met her, is an inspiration to me and I’m so very flattered and honored that she’s let me share my words with you.
When I’m not sharing my words and stories with other people I write over at Blogging Bissy, my simple little spot to share my love for Jesus, my life and my awkwardness. Not always in that order.
Here are my words for you today.
Eight years ago I was asked to help a family friend restart up a Young Life group at my alma mater. At first I was shocked to hear that Young Life had dwindled away at my former high school, but I was beyond flattered to be asked and jumped in, not knowing exactly what it took to become a leader of a high school group.
Before our first club was going to happen there were weeks of work and planning to do. High school sporting events to attend to talk to kids about coming to Young Life. Speaking with interested families in the area to find a house to hold club at. Who would sing? Who would speak? Who would lead games? Where would everyone park? There was so much to think about, and I was deep in planning mode when suddenly our first club arrived.
I was, admittedly, a bit nervous.
What did I have to teach a bunch of high school girls? Who was I to speak on how to love Jesus and who He was for these girls?
I’m gonna be real honest with you: I almost threw up before that first club. (Thankfully I didn’t!)
7:25 on a Monday night I walked into a house that I had spent the past several weeks at and there were fifteen kids looking at me. I looked at my leader and shrugged at him while giving him my best “let’s-get-this-started-before-I-chicken-out” look.
It was amazing!
Fast forward a couple of weeks and our club of fifteen had grown to a club of almost forty kids. God was so great!
The original idea was for each leader to lead a small group after club had been going for a couple of weeks. I went into that first small group with the mindset that I would just lead a Bible study. We would read a passage from the Bible and then talk about it. Simple enough… but kind of boring for these energetic girls.
I had a lot to learn.
We ended up talking about boys (duh), Jesus, school, homework and sports. We shared make-up tips and laughed a lot. I decided to make my approach more of a noncommittal plan and just went for it. I asked general questions and when I was met with blank stares I shared my stories. I shared my heart. I made myself vulnerable to these girls and in time they shared back.
And then that magical moment came on a weekend trip away.
It was prayer time for the entire camp. Six different school clubs were there and the pastor asked us all to close our eyes and those of us that wanted to give our hearts to Jesus please stand.
I snuck a peek. I had to! I’m nosy and I wanted to be prepared because I’m a crier.
One. Two. Three. Five. Nine of my girls stood up.
I still have goose bumps thinking about that moment – watching God work in His magical way.
These girls who originally met me with skepticism in their eyes and a hardness around their fragile little hearts and let their guard down enough to let True Love in. The love of Jesus!
I still think about those girls and that weekend away. I think of the stories we shared and the loud laughing. I think about their smiles and the bear hugs. I remember the tears of fear and the tears of joy. I may have been the Young Life leader of those girls, but they taught me more than I could have ever hoped to have taught them.
I learned patience. I learned that a smile can get you farther than your words. I learned that sometimes a simple whisper of “I’m praying for you” can mean the world to someone. I learned that my plan isn’t what is important – God’s plan is. I learned that the power of Jesus’ compassion and grace can lead you to where you never thought you’d go. I learned pure, unconditional love.
I think of these girls daily. I remember their laughter and their spirit and I pray for their hearts and souls. These girls touched me in a way nobody else will ever be able to, and I thank Jesus for them and our time together.