>> on being a mentor

Sometimes God pulls on our hearts about something for a long time before we ever realize it's Him. For me, that tug I've been feeling and ignoring for years has been towards preteen girls. I vividly remember that time as being the hardest, most excruciatingly awkward years of my life. So much of who I am today was molded during those years.

I was a nerd, by all social application of the word: quiet, poor, awkwardly shy, insecure and quirky-looking. Those were all labels given to me by my peers, and those labels stuck in my heart with proverbial industrial strength adhesive. To this day, that 12-year-old girl reemerges in times of insecurity or failure, and I immediately see myself through the eyes of my 5th grade classmates and go back into my shell of adolescent awkwardness.

I sometimes wonder what would have been different for me had my heart truly been entrenched in God's truth -- if I had known how to see myself through His adoring eyes instead of the eyes of my peers.

My heart has empathized with the growing pains faced by preteen girls ever since I matured enough to realize my experience at that age did not have to be so painful. I believe God allowed me to experience what I did to give me a heart and understanding for girls at that stage of life now. And he recently spoke through my sister Emily to remind me there is something tangible in all this that I can do for Him. 

A few weeks ago, Emily and I assisted with VBS and got to know a few preteen girls in our church a little better. As we were leaving the last day, she told me she thought it would be fun to get together with a few of those girls and do something fun with them. She recalled how much it would've meant to us at that age to have a woman show interest in pouring into our lives. That's the moment when it all clicked for me and I told Emily how her idea was perfect because girls of that age had been on my heart for a long time.

So, yesterday I think I officially became a mentor! Emily and I had the best day with these girls, ages 10, 12, and 12. We met up at the promenade and did some shopping, ate some pretzels and frozen yogurt, and had some solid girl talk.

I went into this day thinking it would be us pouring into their lives, but it didn't take me long to realize it was actually a dual favor. I had no clue I would have so much fun just listening to them talk, laugh and get excited about things such as chevron backpacks and s'mores friendship necklaces.

Emily and I used every opportunity we could to speak words of life to these girls and let them know it's not about sitting at the popular table, it's not about boys and it's not about makeup. Whether or not those words will stick with them has yet to be seen. I just pray they always see themselves through the eyes of their Father in Heaven. I pray they will be shining lights to everyone around them.

Before we ended our time together, Emily and I gave the girls notebooks to use as prayer journals. We wrote encouraging notes and verses in the front of them, and prayed with the girls about their upcoming school year.

It only took one outing, and I'm crazy about these girls. I love their personalities and enthusiasm. I could see on their faces that they were having fun and that they felt special.

So, I guess this is mentorship. I'm in like flynn.

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