The second greatest decision I have ever made was to invest my time, energy, love, resources, prayers, and heart in the lives of a group of seemingly silly, ineffective 7th grade girls, all for the sake of discipling them in Christ.
Last night we had our Senior Celebration, our girls' last Watermark Student Ministries event. It was such a sweet time, and I am grateful to the staff for making it a special memory for our group.
My favorite moment of the night was when Lisa, Kristin, and I spent time edifying each of our precious girls, telling them (with their parents looking on) how proud we are of them, how we see Christ shining through their lives, and give them a little "send-off" for college. And I, this word-loving girl, still had difficulty articulating what my heart feels as words do not seem to be enough.
I want you to know about my precious ones and praise the Lord with me for what he is doing in and through them. Here is what I said to mine (one of my girls was not able to attend so I wrote her a note and don't have it saved! sad):
Ma bonita, Emily. You have a huge, loving heart and are fiercely loyal. You are never afraid to ask tough questions, yet do not allow uncertainty to waver your faith. You consistently serve without complaining, even on the hot, bug-filled Amazon! And you love without conditions; both are characteristics of a leader, which you are. Continue to be brave as you pursue the hard questions, serve Christ with everything in you, and love others without restraint. And keep singing "Jesus ama cada un!"
Precious Margaret. You have such a distinctively creative soul that continually inspires and challenges others to view our relationships with the Lord and this world through a unique lens. You have grown into a woman of authenticity, sharing the scariest parts of your life with your community in order to gain freedom and grow closer to Christ. Stay true to your unique, whimsical character and continue to fight for authentic community. I can’t wait to read the books you write, see the art you create, and hear about your future ministry in China.
Sweet Melissa. You are one of the most humble, servant-hearted people I know. You quietly consider others’ needs before your own, as evidenced by how you love your family, friends, Barnabas kids, and the Brazilian kids. You faithfully write God’s word on your heart, allowing it to mold and shape who you are. And you consistently turn conversations to Christ with everyone you encounter. Continue to hold firmly to the sword of God’s word, and always maintain your spirited, fun-filled outlook on life. And maybe your love of Harry Potter as well.
I remember six years ago when I met with Mel and David at Panera (random: funny that we went there as Mel and I both don't like it...we didn't know that then) to talk about serving and I told them I wanted to invest myself in younger women to disciple them in Christ. I know now I really didn't have a clue what that meant, but made the decision blindly. Little did I know the impact this seemingly small decision would have and the ways in which God would use discipleship to turn my life upside down and build a deeper, insatiable love for Him, His word, and His people. And how he would fold these sweet girls into the fabric of my life, creating a God-sized vision for their lives.
Discipleship is HARD, but it brings forth more joy than any material item or comfort ever could.
My closing verse to the sweet ones was from 2 Timothy 1:13-14 as pushing them to God's life-giving word is the greatest gift I can offer:
What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you - guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
And I can't wait to go to Haiti with these lovely ladies, plus Margaret, Morgan, Allie, and Molly!