Monday, April 23, 2012

9th grade retreat.

This past Saturday I got to spend with our 9th graders, they are fabulously strange, awkward, and wonderful. They are all on track to be confirmed this October and I have to admit that there is a piece of me that is sad that they are being confirmed because I have loved meeting with them on Wednesday nights, don't get me wrong I am excited for them that they get to move on to high school youth group, but I'll miss them. Yes, this is selfish, I know and I am admitting it.

While there are some who want absolutely nothing to do with junior high and high school kids I have grown to love those middle school aged kids as well as my high schoolers. In the town I serve the 9th graders are in a campus of their own, not quite high schoolers and no longer middle schoolers. Generally by the time they hit high school they are fairly rational and less awkward, strange, and wonderful and have matured a bit. But there really is something to that middle school/early high school age when the youth are trying to truly discover the world around them. It is that stage in which they are not certain which way is up or down most days and are experiencing all sorts of changes physically and emotionally. While yes, sometimes their emotions are over the top and irrational, it is reality for them. It is what they know and how they understand the world. 

I find it a honor to get to journey alongside these kids for a time, it is a honor to hear their story, remind them that they are loved just as they and that God loves them and created them exactly how they are. It is a honor to hear that things that drive them nuts and make them excited. It is a honor to walk alongside their families as they learn what to do with middle schoolers, who are striving for independence and yet at the same time clinging to responsible adults to lead and guide their paths.

Thanks be to God for middle schoolers/early high schoolers and their willingness to let me journey alongside them.
Thanks be to God for giving me the patience and the sense of humor to enjoy middle schoolers & their sometimes stinkiness.
Thanks be to God for the adults who loved me when I was in the strange middle school/high school stage.
Thanks be to God to a congregation who rallies to remind these youth that they are in fact amazing and loved.
Thanks be to God who loves all of us despite our awkward, strange, and wonderfulness.

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