I am still recovering from the weekend. Yesterday, I took a 3 hour nap during Will’s nap. And I still was tired at bedtime.
My church hosted Walking Wisely Weekend for the middle school ministry this past weekend, and it was amazing.
W3 is a weekend retreat where families in the church host small groups for the weekend in their home. They take care of the food, drinks, and place to stay. And the group is able to attend group sessions (worship service and a talk), small group sessions, and fun activities together.
Janet and I had 24 girls come on this retreat. We’re missing one in the picture below, taken before doing pottery painting at the church.
Can you find me?
Some of the eleven and twelve year old girls are taller than me. They’re taller than Janet too (she’s my height), but she was wearing her platforms that day.
This weekend focused on having and being wise friends versus foolish friends. This is such a great time in their lives to be discussing that and telling them what that looks like.
Justin Grunewald gave some awesome talks at the big group sessions, and the music was great.
During one of the songs, they raised up a huge cross that was a collage of pictures of the kids from the weekend. My girls loved that.
They also gave out streamers for the kids to throw around.
And, of course, we all ended up covered in it. It was fun.
Our high school co-leader, Skylar, had a lacrosse tournament most of the weekend, but she made it for the Saturday night session and spent the night that night. She’s awesome.
The best part of the weekend was after that group session on Saturday night, when the girls all went back to our host homes for our last small group meeting of the weekend.
The group session was about the men who carried their paralyzed friend to Jesus and about how because of their faith, Jesus forgave the man’s sins and healed him. At small group, we gave them cards and had them write anonymously what it was that was paralyzing them in life and what the small group could do to carry them.
Some of the things these girls are facing…it’s so hard.
I had tears in my eyes as we read out the cards to the group. Some of them are dealing with truly heartbreaking things in their home life, and you would never know it from how they act. Some are already feeling guilt and confusion about their faith. Some are dealing with the typical, but no less painful, feelings of rejection and longing to fit in with their peers. Some are so shy that they have trouble even making friends to start with.
The most amazing thing to me was this- although it was anonymous, these girls have friends in that group who probably know them well enough to figure out who wrote what. And they were honest about their struggles anyway. I don’t know many adults who can do that, and these sixth grade girls were bearing their deepest struggles to each other.
I think God is going to do some really big things in the hearts of these girls. And I am so, so blessed to be a part of their journey.