In the fall of 2008, I was house sitting for some friends who were living abroad for over a year and essentially just loving life! It was just me, myself and I and I was traveling a lot for work and involved in a small group at church and spent plenty of time with my friends… but one evening as I was washing dishes I realized that with where I was in life, there might be other ways that God could use me. I didn’t know about this verse at the time, but 1 Corinthians 7:32 says, “…an unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him.” Because I didn’t have a family to care for, I was able to devote more time to other things and other people, so I started to pray through that. Not long after that evening, I remember asking some friends to pray for this very same thing. Now, while I’ve seen God work in many ways, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen Him work this fast… that night another friend of mine called to say that they were in need of more leaders in student ministry at church. What?!? Yes, less than 12 hours after I’d asked for prayer, God answered.
The funny/ironic/crazy thing is that I
absolutely never in a million years hadn’t really seen myself working with high school students. Shoot, even when I was a teenager, I was intimidated by teenagers. But, in reality, God had been working on changing my heart on that long before my friend called me. So, after a couple of meetings with some of the staff in Student Ministry and visiting Wafuasi (high school program) one night, I ventured out to a d-group (discipleship group) of 9th grade girls. Talk about intimidating! There were at least 9 girls that night and they were talking like I’d never seen a group of girls talk. And that’s saying something! :-) But, as the night went on, I just felt pulled towards them and I knew that this would be “my group of girls”.
I remember thinking one night during their freshman year that the following 3 years of them being in high school would probably go pretty fast. But I was excited (and still a bit intimidated) to see what God was going to do. He has stretched me in ways that I didn’t know I could be stretched. He’s faced me with situations that I couldn’t have predicted. He has grown these girls into beautiful godly women. And it blows my mind that tomorrow they will walk across that stage to get their diplomas and will officially be done with high school.
There have been so many times over the past several years that this day has come to mind… and I just couldn’t believe it would come. Because even when it seemed ages away, I knew it would come quickly! I’ve shed many tears this year just thinking about them graduating, where they’re headed off to, and how God is going to use them. These are my girls!! They’ve been such a big part of my life these past several years and we’ve walked through a lot together. It’s a little scary because I keep thinking that there’s still so much to say, so many things to teach them or warn them about, so many things that I still want to talk through with them! But, I guess it’s just a teeny tiny bit about what it’s like to be a parent. One day, you just have to let them go :-)
Sarah, Ellie, and Sinead… I know it’s been a crazy four years full of change and laughter and retreats and mission trips and disappointment at times, but I’m so thankful you stuck with us (Ashley, Nicky, Stephanie and me!). I’m thankful that you clung to your faith and clung to Christ through all of it. I’m thankful that you’ve shared your lives with me. I’m thankful that you’ve encouraged me with your own faith. I’m thankful that when I’ve failed, you’ve forgiven me. I’m thankful for all that God has taught me through EACH of you. My prayer for you girls – as well as the rest of the students! – is that you continue to cling to Him. As Dan Dather said in his sermon a couple of weeks ago, I pray that you are walking so closely to Christ that the dust from his sandals covers you completely.
I love you girls :-)