I just love telling people about how God is using my past to better my daughter’s future. How he restored my brokenness by giving it a new name: purpose.
Three years ago my daughter was a few months away from starting middle school and I was concerned about what the next several years would hold for her. My teen years were less than stellar. I was a painfully shy – your textbook introvert. I never really felt a part of any one group. The middle school I had been hearing about was a lot different than the one I remember going to. My middle school had some smoking, drinking and probably drugs. There was hand holding in the halls and couples danced to INXS’s “Never Tear Us Apart” at the after school dance. But I don’t remember hearing about sex at my middle school. There was talk of sex at my daughter’s new school. 12, 13 and 14 year old kids, many of whom probably still watch Saturday morning cartoons, drink chocolate milk and have the crust cut off their sandwiches were having sex – even on school property.
If I had my choice I would have locked my daughter in a Rapunzel type tower until her true love showed up to ride her off into the sunset, but that didn’t pan out. Fortunately, another option presented itself. Since she was a baby we have been intentional about loving her and teaching her right from wrong. I knew that the lessons she had learned over the years had stuck, but our job as her parents was far from over. A big, God-sized plan- a dream, actually, began to grow that spring and a few weeks before school started the Whatever Girls ministry launched.
The Whatever Girls, a life group for teen girls and their moms, was the alternative to hiding my daughter from society. A group of moms and teen girls gathered over ice cream sundaes in my living room on a hot August night and we talked about the impending teen years and my vision for the Whatever Girls ministry as we sampled different ice cream and topping combinations.
In between bites of ice cream the girls shared their fears. Getting lost in between classes, not knowing how to open their lockers, getting locked in their lockers by upperclassmen, not having classes with any of their friends, and having to shower in front of others after gym class were some of their top concerns. In contrast, the moms were worried about the temptations and pressure our girls were going to be exposed to and how we could help equip them for battle.
I shared Ecclesiastes 4:12, which had inspired the heart of the group. “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” What if we’re not alone in this, I asked them. What would it look like if we took a stand against all that would decay the values and truths we have instilled in our girls, together? What if instead of feeling alone because they choose not to drink, smoke, do drugs or have sex, our girls were bright lights in the fog? Like Jesus said, we will have troubles in this world. But we are to take heart because He overcame the world, and so shall we. That night we linked arms and have since invited others to expand our circle. Over the past two years we’ve gathered at least twice a month to laugh, cry, debate, discuss, pray and worship.
The mission of the Whatever Girls is to “empower girls to choose God’s best for their lives by exemplifying the pillars of Philippians 4:8 (whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable– if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things). To empower is to be intentional. As parents and mentors we are influencers who can and must provide opportunities for our girls to get to know and have a relationship with Jesus and learn about God’s plan for their life. I want girls to fall in love with the plan that God has for them so that the things of the world would shatter at their feet like fake crystal. My dream is that God would raise up a whole generation of teen girls who stand shoulder to shoulder arms linked for Him believing His Word and clinging to His promises.
I should let you know that there have been bumps along the way. Fear, doubt, insecurity, mama kitty claws, drama, and days where I doubt God really called me to start this ministry because I feel so incapable and unworthy to be used by Him. And then I remember. He doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
Will you link arms with us? Will you take a stand for a teen girl in your life and journey with her down the path that leads to the narrow gate where glory awaits?
Do you have a teen girl? What are some intentional things you do or would like to try for helping her through these sometimes challenging years? I’d love it if you’d share with us!