John leads worship at at least one convention a year. I see a lot of teenage girls at these things. They're sometimes giddy and following my husband around. Sometimes they're in heated conversations. Sometimes they're crying and having a hard time emotionally. Usually they're laughing and giggling in large packs, or at least groups of 2.
Being around them makes me smile and brings so many happy memories. Memories of my own time at conventions like these and memories of being a counselor to teenage girls. I always recall an especially difficult weekend with a group of unruly middle school girls who gave me a hard time by purchasing lace panties at Victoria's Secret and swinging them over their heads in the mall. :]
Those girls, grew up to be beautiful young women. They are still that crazy. They are still that funny. They are still that free spirited. And they still probably wouldn't listen to a word I had to say.
Being around all these teenage girls reminds me of that wild and precious spirit that is so unique to being a female adolescent.
I just want every woman to think back to being a teenage girl.
Think about what you felt.
what you thought.
how confused you might have been.
how sure and confident you might have been.
how electric your life felt.
how devastating your life felt.
how connected you felt to God.
how far away He seemed.
how your friends were like sisters and your worst enemy all at the same time.
I have quite a few teenage girls that I'm friends with on Facebook.
I'm not a youth counselor anymore.
I don't have face to face interaction with teens much but I do see a lot of their lives online.
And sometimes it feels easy to want to judge them, correct their behavior, preach to them, try and reach them or even delete them so I don't have to see their booty poppin' selfies, over sharing statuses, and hashtags I don't understand.
I'm sure you've been in that place of wanting to delete a teenage girl on Facebook. I ready a pretty frustrating blog by a mom to boys a few months ago. It was all about not posting cleavage pics and how if you are inappropriate online you get unfriended by her and her family. I'm not condoning racy pictures or lewd behavior but I think about love that extends beyond tolerating so you can be a bigger influence.
I think about a love that is more than grace for mistakes and crazy pictures and big time drama. I think about a love that honors and celebrates all the good in them.
If you are friends with a teenage girl online (or even in person) - celebrate her. Comment on a picture and tell her she's lovely. Let her know you see her and you think she's awesome. Congratulate her accomplishments. She is figuring out life and sometimes she doesn't need correction just celebration for all the good she is.
Celebrate her. Celebrate their journeys. Celebrate their hearts. Pray for their struggles and not just the sins we think we're observing. That fight she had with her BFF is so real to her and she could use some comfort.
And remain friends with her online. Your presence and the fact that you want to be around her even when her life isn't perfect teaches her a lot about the heart of God.