This week, my Small Group ended.
This week, I have no words and all the emotions.
Monday night was filled with poolside prayers, laughter, tears, selfies, Del Taco Fiesta Packs, and homemade fried ice cream. And I cried myself all the way home because God’s love and joy and mercy are so evident in this group.
Two years ago, this group came from the Children’s Ministry on the opposite side of the church, into our ministry, and straight into my heart. This group of girls became my group of girls, and the fact that God allowed me to walk with them for two whole years? I CAN’T EVEN RIGHT NOW. I do not question that God completely orchestrated these relationships, because it has been just about too much for me to handle (in every good way imaginable). Two summers, two springs, two falls, two winters. I have seen them through pains and heartaches and joys and laughter; we’ve been the group who has literally mourned and danced together. I am thankful, my heart is joyful, and my cup is overflowing by the gallons.
Teaching these sweet girls has been the best, but being taught by them has been as equally life giving. These girls have taught me so much about what it means to love unconditionally and to know a mothers heart, because let me tell you what, I did not birth these girls, but my love for them is just as fierce as if I did. If any of these girls become orphans, I am adopting them in a HOT HEARTBEAT. No questions asked, you may as well file the paperwork right now just in case, you know, for safe keeping. They have taught me to stay young and to laugh and to wear green tutus and to live fearlessly. They have taught me to exhibit grace and to go with the flow and that Oreos should be incorporated into 85% of your weekly meals. They have taught me what it means to be “on fleek” and all the other cultural shifts and references that are happening amongst the youths of today. They teach me as I teach them and I love how discipleship is cyclical and benefiting to everyone involved (maybe not the Oreo part…).
Monday night we ended our year, celebrating soccer championships and dance performances, new seasons and transitions and new jobs for their parents, sleepovers and snowball fights and awkward conversations about sex; we celebrated TWO WHOLE GIRLS giving their lives to Jesus. And people, if that isn’t the icing on top of an already sweet two years, I don’t know what is!
I am so dang excited for these girls as they start their new adventure in high school! And like I tell these sweet girls, through many tears, we go to the same church and we will always be each other’s people. This is how they learn that community is built across ministries and across rooms; this is how they learn the meaning of the church itself.
But as they grow up, I have so many hopes and prayers and wants for these girls.
I pray that Monday nights remind them of Oreos and Jesus and Tijuana and dance parties and Alex From Target; that they look back at the memories and laugh until they cry.
I pray that their friendships with each other are knit together in the Lord and that they continue to love and serve and encourage and pray for each other with each passing year. I want them to know that we are forever each other’s people.
I pray that they remember that even adults don’t have it all together and that following Jesus will be hard no matter what age you are. To decide to live as a God-fearing girl is no easy choice, but I pray that they wake up every day with the resolve to live in such a way. It is hard, but it is so worth it.
I pray that they continue to pray for my future husband and that when I introduce them to him, they love him and tell him all the silly stories of our Small Group and our jokes and their prayers. And when children come? I pray that these girls love them and cherish them and buy them all the headbands and bows and maybe one day lead them in a Small Group of their own.
I pray that they go into high school (and all of life’s seasons) with all the confidence because God is right there alongside them. He knows what is ahead and He goes before them and hems them in from behind.
I pray that they seek first the kingdom, that in all they do, they will look for the Jesus in it. I pray that they know God’s Word and they pray and they worship with all they have. I pray that one day they do become youth leaders and have a group of girls just like this that they teach and mentor, that they will know the feeling that I have RIGHT NOW.
I pray that they will always laugh with each other and protect each other and worship with each other. I pray that they come alongside each other in both the joys and the trials.
I pray that they learn their gifting’s and serve God with all of their hearts, with all of their capacity, in any season that they find themselves in.
I pray that we never stop celebrating life together; I pray that my fridge is full of graduation invitations, “Save The Dates”, wedding invitations, prayer cards, and Kodak moments from the previous years of us. I pray we still have sleepovers and snowball fights and dance parties to Taylor Swift. I pray that they know how loved they truly are.
Sitting here, writing these words, I am just so thankful, thankful and overjoyed. I am like a broken record in the best possible way. JUST LOOK AT THEM. They have the sweetest smiles and the biggest hearts and the cutest laughs. Two whole years... Praises!
And this is why I do ministry, this is why I love these girls, because God moves so mightily in the laughter and the crying and the learning. God moves.