When my husband first became the youth director (soon to be pastor) of our church’s youth group, I will be 100% honest and say I was a little weary. I never thought of ever working with teenagers. I always loved little kids and their precious minds, and always thought that teens were obnoxious and loud and dramatic and had gigantic heads and attitudes. Even more than that, I couldn’t stand teenage GIRLS. Maybe because I was that teenage girl named above and cringe every time I think about the things I said and did. But I was honestly scared to death.
I think my biggest worry going into it was that I didn’t know how to relate to ALL of them. I didn’t come from a broken home, with divorced or absent parents. I don’t have a musical or artsy bone in my body. I only messed with makeup a handful of times and did almost nothing with my hair. I thought I would only be able to connect with the “sporty” girls because I was (kind of) one.
What I realized quickly, though, was that just because my life didn’t always correlate with theirs, I can still show them love. I can point out their talents, in case they can’t see them. I can inspire them to try something new. I can make them feel wanted. I can tell them how beautiful they are on the outside, but more importantly, that their true beauty lies on the inside. That grace and kindness outweigh everything else.
I want my youth girls to feel comfortable enough to laugh with me. To come to me when they need advice or for me to just listen as they vent. To know that it is okay to show vulnerability and have a good cry every once and awhile. I want them to know that Jesus is the key to every brokenness that they have and that there is freedom when they pour out to Him.
I have come to love investing my life into my youth girls. Not because I can “relate” to them. But because I want to pour into them and make sure they know how worth it they are. That they will always have me cheering them on as they navigate through their teenage years.
To any teenage girl that has come into my life in the last couple years- past or present- just know that you have impacted my life greatly. And I can only hope that I have/will do the same for you.
Here is a verse that I have set for myself to know and what I want to ALWAYS set in stone for my girls:
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” – Proverbs 31:25