As a youth leader, I have the privilege of leading small groups, which we call "cell groups" at our church. During the school year, we meet every Wednesday night after the main message and discuss a variety of topics, depending on what Pastor Mike has talked about or what is going in the lives of the girls.
In April, I was asked to help lead a group reading through the book, Lies Young Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Dannah Gresh. It's a text that examines the lies young ladies hear about self-image, self-achievement, faith, media, relational issues, etc. It takes apart each lie, discusses why it exists and the consequences of believing that lie, and how to fight it with God's truth.
While I don't recommend this book for girls under the age of 13 (due to some mature themes), it is an important one. I think parents should read it, too, as it helps better understand the pressures your junior high and highschoolers are under, and gives you Scriptures to help level the lies.
My friend (and fellow youth leader), Janelle, and I are leading this group together and have already seen growth in the ladies we're meeting with. There are thirteen of them and they are wonderful. Last Wednesday night, I had them over to my house to continue our discussion and have fun pigging out on brownie sundaes and other sugary treats.
I get nervous some times, wondering if I'm steering the girls the right way. I didn't have issue-specific groups like this when I was their age, or youth leaders who pursued the students like we do, so I know this is an incredible opportunity for them, even if it is a new thing for me. Plus, I'm not a biological parent, and I realize the power our voices have in these young lives.
It can be intimidating.
I'm pretty sure I've reminded the girls a half dozen times that this is the best time for them to form a healthy view of themselves and healthy habits for coping with stress and insecurity. I believe that the choices they make now, and who they become during this season of body changes and uncertainty, will help make or break their future selves.
My heart is full for these kids. I hope they always know that they are beautiful and they are loved.. no matter what.