An Open Letter to My Jr. High Girls
by Michelle Hodges
I’m supposed to be writing a blog post, but instead, my mind is swirling with thoughts of you. I’m currently wondering how are y’all holding up? You’ve made it through eight days of school now… Are you tired? Has it been difficult or easier than you expected? Do you miss me? (Because I’m REALLY missing y’all!) Do you remember all the things we talked about? Did you know that you’ve taught me just as much as I’ve taught you? Do you know how proud I am of you?
When I’m with you, whether it’s just a few or the whole big group, I’m filled with joy and a pride that’s new to me. Junior High is hard. It might be the hardest years of your childhood, but you, my precious girls, have shown a strength and grace that is completely unexpected in adolescents. Since our first trip together last December, which you all know I began with fear and hesitation, you have left me stunned and speechless more than a few times. Your honesty and eagerness to learn has been refreshing and exciting. The way that you support and love each other is inspiring. Watching you grow as a group has just been fun!
You, my girls, you are the future. You are the future of the church! You are the next generation of image bearers. You are earthly reflections of our Heavenly Father’s unwavering love and Jesus’ immeasurable grace. Always remember, on the good days and bad, WHOSE you are! Rest in the confidence of knowing that you are daughters of THE KING!
“and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty." 2 Corinthians 6:18
Continue to remind yourselves and each other that you are RADIANT!
“Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.” Psalm 34:5
You are REDEEMED!
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses,
according to the riches of his grace,” Ephesians 1:7
And, you are WONDERFULLY and PERFECTLY made!
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14
As you go through this school year, don’t forget the gift you have in each other. A group this size can sometimes be overwhelming. It can be tempting to let yourself fade into the crowd. Let me challenge you: Don’t fade! Don’t let each other fade! Make the relationships within this group a priority. From what I’ve already seen, you already have an incredible foundation to build on. Continue to be honest and vulnerable with each other. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions. Be quick to forgive and show grace. Always, always respond with love.
Girls, I’m so excited to watch you grow. It truly is a privilege. I already adore you! Thank you for letting me be a small part of your lives this year. I really hope y’all will let me hang around for a while longer! Each of you is a gift and getting to walk with you has been a most incredible, unexpected blessing. My time with you has definitely NOT been “a rip off”!
***To everyone else***
I encourage all of you to take some time and get to know this group of girls. They are loud, they are silly, and they are MANY, but they are wonderful! They are smart and eager to learn, they are loving and protective, they are intuitive and honest. We still have some time left with them here, but as the cliché goes, “The days are long, but the years are short.” I promise you will love them just as much as I do!