Over the last two years I have fallen in love with Jr. High Students. I didn’t expect it. It was one of those answers to my prayers; one of those answers that I thought would look a lot differently.
Two years ago I began praying for new friendships, for something different to be a part of, something new. I thought that if God chose to work this out in my life then it would come in the form of some new people I would meet that would introduce me to new people and so on, all people my age or older. Clearly, my thinking was inside the lines.
Two years ago a friend of mine moved to the area to take on the role of the Youth Pastor at a nearby church. He needed some female leaders and so I said I would come out, unsure of the time commitment I would be able to make due to working shift work. I started going to the weekly youth night regularly and began trying to build some friendships with the kids. The youth pastor had gotten together a team of young adults to lead the program, only a few of us actually knowing each other. After youth every week we would head to Tim Hortons to hang out and talk about the night. Those first few meetings were a bit awkward, as we didn’t really know each other too well.
It’s funny as I reflect on those first few weeks now…..it’s funny because I didn’t know then that…
…That team of young adult leaders would become my close friends, an unexpected community. We laugh with and at each other, we miss one another when one of us is absent, we see the gifts we each have to offer and we pray for each other’s needs.
…I never thought that I would love the kids as much as I do. My small group of girls have absolutely stolen my heart and I can’t get enough of these ladies….they’re spunk, energy, and passion for life is contagious! They bring out the best in me, they remind me what really matters and they never neglect to speak it like it is, which can be challenging sometimes but it brings this realness that we don’t always get with adults.
…Tuesday nights (jr. high youth night) would become my favourite night of the week!
…I never expected that I would get the blessing of being able to speak into some of these kids’ lives. I didn’t think they would share their stories with all their hurts and their joys and their young emotions with me. I didn’t think they would bring their toughest questions to me. I didn’t think that I would get to witness them learning to pray and learning that God cares about ‘their stuff’.
I didn’t expect that a bunch of jr. high students and a few leaders would be the answer to my prayer.
Even more, I didn’t expect that they’d far exceed my prayer.
And I am reminded in these moments of reflection that God does know best, that His plans for me are better than my plans for me and that He has better ways for me to use the gifts He’s given me than I could think of myself.
And sometimes I forget these things.
But I see this…
And I get yet another glimpse of the GOOD things God can bring into your life when you ask Him and when you’re open to the possibilities He might have for you.
And it’s really true,
Jr. High’s really do bring some serious SPICE into your life! 😉