In the chapter Puppies, Shauna Niequist writes about how for a group of HS teenage girls that she led she got to become, "the safest landing spot for this swirling little gypsy wagon of girls." I love that. For so many of the teenage girls I get to work with, our time together, YL on Mondays and the Devoe's barn are their safe landing spots.
Everything else gets put on pause and life is just somehow better, a little lighter, a little more bright out here together. In the summer we talk about how campers and counselors get to live in the Tecumseh bubble and escape the real world for how life was really meant to be. To some degree, I think that's what we're doing together here too. When I gather with Katie, Ashley, Hannah or Liz I'm just so thankful for our time together.
Because we're down to our last two Campaigners of the school year, we've invited 8th graders to come so that they can get a taste of what YL looks like in HS. My heart was just so full tonight as I got to be with these Seniors, Sophomores and 8th graders that I so dearly love.
With only two weeks of YL left you can bet plenty of Seniors showed up. Mall and Ashley came for the very first time. Lauren and Hannah were back after being so missed. And I was so happy to see Hannah Self, Devin, Mad Cav, Emma, Cass, Ash, Han and Katie.
I got to make everyone play Where The Wind Blows to start things off and it felt like we all just got transported to summer camp. Then Ryan played Angel Armies, Keep Our Eyes Open and At The Table-- we were singing something fierce tonight.
In small groups tonight we talked about a story from the Old Testament in 2 Samuel. After King David took over from King Saul it would have been expected for him to find all of Saul's relatives and kill them to eliminate threats. But David was a man after God's own heart and he did things differently. You see, Saul's son Jonathon was David's very best friend, like a brother to him. So David sought out any of Saul's relatives that were left.
Ziba, a servant, brought Mephibosheth, a crippled grandson of Saul who had been in hiding to David. The story tells us that David told him, "Do not be afraid," and then David gave him all of Saul's things and gave him a seat at his table. From then on, David and Mephie dined together at David's table.
Tonight these were the girls at my table. Kylie, Katy and I got to lead this beautiful group of Senior, Sophomore and 8th grade girls. I love the stories that they're living, how there are so many connections in this room, the way we can learn from people who are different ages than we are.
One of the most special parts of the night was when we partnered up and "sat at each other's table." I got to be with Ashley--we've been friends for awhile but tonight was her first time at YL. There is something so special about this girl. I think she's resilient, honest, loyal, considerate, hopeful and courageous. I wish we could have had more time being friends while we were both in Fishers, but I think this is just the start of our friendship.
There is always something special about spending time with people one on one. All year I've made a habit of going up to the 8th grade hallway before 6th period. I see a bunch of kids all at once and then I walk Fudge to math on the way back to my classroom. Those walks with her have been one of my favorite parts of the year. I love our talks and will miss being in the same building as her next year.
I've loved getting even closer to Han this year and see her grow in so many ways. I've loved going to church together, watching her become friends with Julia, talking about real life stuff, going on adventures, praying together, showing up at her games and meets, and drinking our fair share of strawberry lemonade at McAlisters. She's one of the main characters of my life, one of my best friends and I'm so thankful for her.
I texted the 8th grade girls after Campaigners tonight and told them that my dream is that we'll all still be doing life and Young Life together in 4 years when they're Seniors in HS. These kids are some of the best and they've each got so much potential. I can't wait for all that is to come with them.
We're all stepping into big transitions--graduating from HS or leaving Junior High, going away to camp for the summer, starting summer jobs, saying good-bye to friends, figuring out what comes next. God cares more about our character than our comfort. So I've got to believe that in the midst of changes and transitions that he will do a good work in us.
Thankful for Campaigners nights.
Thankful for porch swings.
Thankful for making room at the table for more friends.
Thankful for learning new things about God's love for us.
Thankful for one on one time.
Thankful for singing together like a gospel choir.
Thankful for Young Life.
Thankful for these beautiful friends.
Thankful that Chloe catches frogs and kisses them just in case they're a prince.