Minus the three hours of sleep, it was an awesome night. We played Quelf, Hide and Seek and Sardines. We laughed a lot. We are a lot.
And we also shared our journey.
The main purpose of the night was to unite these girls. Help them really get to know each other and be comfortable with each other. We had gone to a local youth event a few months ago, and our girls had commented that the other groups seemed way closer. They wanted to be that way. So I told them "you plan it, get the girls to come, and I'll lead it". And they did. :-)
I decided to make it all about sharing journeys/testimonies and nothing else (no other lessons or bible studies for them to remember). I wanted them to really hear and see each other.
It was wonderful to hear their stories. Sometimes you think you know what a person will say, but you are surprised to hear what has actually had an impact on them.
I shared my journey first, which I had not done with several of these girls. I am so glad I got the opportunity because so many of them just see me as the youth pastors wife, a church lady. That's pretty un-relatable to youth. But really I was a promiscuous and prideful girl saved by a merciful and forgiving Lord when I did not deserve it, and given grace upon grace since to help in the long, excruciating sanctification (becoming less like the world and more like Jesus) process. I think many were surprised to think I had struggled with sexual purity, and needing to feel wanted, and finding my identity. Suddenly I did understand them! ;-)
And as I sat and listened to their stories I was overcome with thankfulness. And humbled at the Lord's goodness and kindness to me. We have been at this church like six years now, so we have cycled through an entire set of youth (the youngest when we got there just started her freshmen year of college this fall!). So we have had the privilege to be a big part of these girls journeys. I just sat so humbled that The Lord would use me, such a sinner, to impact these girls. Me? I had messed up so bad. I was stained. And though I know he washed me clean, I can't help but still be amazed He would not only forgive me, but use me for His Glory.
- Mrs.Pate via my iPhone