As I was walking by the Vedder River this morning I was kinda in a weird head space. I’m feeling tired, like emotionally drained. The disappointment and the hurt and the lack of understanding the fairness of this all is fading. But in the wake of all these emotions and the emotions of connecting with others to thank them full heartedly for how they have loved us and supported us in this time, well in that wake is an emotional fatigue. While exploring this fatigue as I was walking I started reflecting on the love I have been given from so many wonderful people and I had to ask God, ‘what do you want from me now?’

I realize the answer as I’m writing this. Nothing. God doesn’t want an obliged act of any sort. That’s the beauty of following Christ, right, God gives generously and regardless of what I do, because I don’t deserve it, I never have and never will. So God doesn’t want anything from me now as an obliged response to the out-pouring of love I have received. (Of course God would love and appreciate and honor my love, devotion, and service, but it is not required of me).

But that’s just a side note. As I was thinking ahead to what I can give others, I felt God speak in my heart: love those youth girls well. Wow. It’s been a journey with my leadership in the youth ministry at our church. In spring I was considering not returning to it in fall. But somewhere over the course of the summer the girls grabbed my heart. I love those girls now. Indeed, I call them “my” youth girls; I have a sense of responsibility over them. They are precious and beautiful and special. So while, now, my heart definitely knows I’m in the right place as a youth leader, well, my head was still curious today and wondering, ‘why do I like being a youth leader?’ I don’t know what the answer is. Maybe it’s because it’s such a shaping time in a young woman’s life? Maybe because when I think inside my head and when I write and when I share the essence of who I am, I am still the same Cheryl I was when I was 16 years old and trying to figure out life. I have grown and matured and all that; but there’s this certain space inside my heart and head that is still the same. It is in experiencing this within myself that I dream and I pray for “my” youth girls. I want them to dream and attack life. I want them to know God and follow their hearts with the passions and gifts He has given them. I want them to succeed in relationship, in career, in personal development.

These girls are absolutely, crazy, awesome girls. They are real. They bless my heart: when they post pictures of us on facebook and tell me I have helped them thru stuff. When they come to visit me at work with a home-made congratulations card, after I told them I was pregnant. When they hug me when I tell them that my miscarriage procedure sucked and they wish me good luck in my next pregnancy with the most genuine heart ever. When they post on facebook they can’t wait to come to youth. When they post on facebook that they couldn’t imagine their life without God.

Girls, I love you! I’m always here for you. I’m confident in you. And I share in your excitement of getting your “L” and putting Physics behind you forever and loving your horses and all the other great stuff in your lives. Thanks for the opportunity to love you!