Monday, January 28, 2013

ministering through glitter nail polish

I'm doing something this weekend that I swore I'd never do again.

I'm leading the Bible study for our annual winter youth retreat.

Last year I naively volunteered to lead a group and it was a disaster. I was just married, totally new to this youth pastor stuff, and didn't have any idea what I was doing. With a roomful of eyes staring at me, I squeaked out a lesson, inwardly cringing the entire time. Everyone was dead silent,  blinking and curious to see what the new youth pastor's wife had to say. It was a lot of pressure. And I hated it.

But, much to my surprise, I agreed to do it again this year, this time with the middle school girls. Maybe I'm a little more comfortable around the kids, or maybe I don't feel as much pressure since I know Trevor and I won't be youth pastors much longer please, Lord.

This "leader" stuff has never come naturally to me, and I don't particularly enjoy it. I don't know the right things to say. I don't know how to lead young, impressionable girls out of Justin Bieber-centered conversations and into Jesus.

But at least now I know it's not my strength. I know it's not something I'm particularly good at, so I won't be as shocked and embarrassed if it doesn't go the way I imagined it would.

And I may not have many words of wisdom, but at least I can say, "Hey, I've been twelve before. I know what it's like." Maybe they don't need more answers; maybe they just need someone a little bit older than them to say, "I, too, have made the mistake of cutting my own bangs. I, too, have had crushes on boys named Chris who had buck teeth and wore too much hair gel."

I, too, have worn a sparkly top to the school dance, only to realize later that I had worn it backwards the entire night. (At least now I know why no one asked me to slow dance.)

I hate cowl neck shirts to this day.

I probably won't say anything particularly moving or life changing. But I can pull on my Hollister sweatpants and glittery nail polish and meet them where they're at. I can bake them cinnamon rolls and let them beat me at "Just Dance". (Let's be honest, even my husband beats me at Just Dance.)

Trevor asked me once, if I could do one thing to help people, what would it be? And I thought about it a while and finally said, "I would want to help people feel understood."

I know what it's like to feel awkward and out of place. In middle school, at parties, at church. And I want to let those middle school girls know, in probably the most awkward stage in their lives, that they're not alone. If nothing else, I want to create an environment that says, "Hey, you can be real here. You can be you."

Because I need that, too. I need to get comfy and be myself. Heather the Youth Pastor's wife won't be there this weekend, but Heather who slides on hardwood in her socks and says "like" too much will. I like her better, anyway.

image via


  1. Love this post! I think it's wonderful that you get to be a youth leader, and I'm sure you are making such a difference in these kids lives. I'll be praying for a wonderful, Spirit-filled weekend :) Can't wait to hear all about it!

  2. You are inspiring, girl. Thanks for telling us whats really on your heart. I'm sure those girls appreciate you just being a constant in their life, even if you can't muster up advice, just BEING there is enough :)

    Caleb and I are super drawn to kids and would love to be where you and your husband are... maybe one day :-) who knows though, it may not be something I'm capable of!

  3. That is exactly what I would have wanted as a middle/high schooler. Someone older than me who wants to get to know me and just talk. You're gonna do great! :)

  4. that's exactly what they need to hear. i think you'll do great. middle school girls are more easy going. they laugh at jokes more (personal experience!) and they tend to like an older cool woman to be their friend. have fun with it and let the Lord lead ya. you'll be awesome!

  5. You are exactly what every young women needs! You'll be in my prayers!

  6. I used to be a middle school teacher, and I love that age! They're so fun - cocky while they try to be little adults, but still very tender and fresh underneath it all. I think you hit the nail right on the head - helping them feel understood is HUGE! I hope you have a wonderful time!

  7. so excited for you!!! you will do great! and that is JUST what middle school girls (and even high school girls) NEED.

    so proud of you for doing what the Lord has asked of you.

    i mean it.

  8. You are brave, girl!! I would love to minister to teen girls in this way but it is for sure scary, however not as scary as jr. high boys lol


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