We had our last hurrah on Tuesday night, and the girls brought their own dishes to share. We had a feast, and their offerings reminded me that they’re growing up, becoming adults. I love it and I don’t love it. But mostly I love it.
I’ve had the privilege of being the discipleship leader to these eight girls (one isn’t pictured) for several years. We’ve shared joy, heartache, theology, prayers, stories, laughter. We’ve cried, listened, chattered, and supported. I’ve had the extreme privilege of watching all of them grow a lot.
Each one has owned her faith in a surprising, beautiful way. Each has supported the others in significant, Jesusy ways. We’ve battled conflict. We’ve worked things out. We’ve hung out.
So as they head to college, I’m offering this prayer.
Jesus, please be with Maci, Shannon, Kate, Sophie, Nicki, Paige, Ashley, and Andi as they venture off to college. Protect them from the evil one. Help them understand that following You isn’t always simple or easy, but that You will be there with them in any and every trial.
Strengthen their relationships. Bring new people into their lives that challenge, hone, and inspire them.
Give them sharp, inquisitive minds, but more than that, grow their hearts. Enlarge their passion for those who don’t yet know You. Break their hearts with what breaks Yours.
Shore them up when they’re lonely or bored or confused.
Infuse deep, abiding joy in their lives. May joy overflow from them to every single person they touch.
Grow them. Help them understand that nothing significant happens in the kingdom of God unless death occurs, and that if God wants to do an impossible task, He takes impossible people and breaks them first. Work through them. Help them see You at work in their midst.
Help them do the right thing when the wrong woos. May they live lives of integrity, nurture, hope and beauty. May they sing when life is stressful, dance when life is complicated, rejoice when life is burdensome. Lift their eyes when they feel overwhelmed, and help them to be lifters of others in like circumstance.
May they grow to know that they are truly beautiful because You created them. Help them feel complete with You alone and not looks or guys or stuff or smarts or any other created thing.
Bring them so close to You that they feel your presence, even in the doldrum moments. Protect them. May they reflect You and know You well. Amen, amen, amen.