An Open Letter to My High School Youth Group

An Open Letter to My High School Youth Group

"I thank my God every time I remember you."
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Dear high school youth group,

13-year-old me never would’ve imagined the impact you all would have on me throughout my high school years. Yeah, I liked the idea of youth group. I liked the free pizza and the cool lights, but I did not expect to grow so much with you over the past few years. God used each of you so profoundly to help me develop spiritually. You helped me realize that it’s okay to be awkward and weird. It’s okay to be the person God was shaping me into, rather than trying to uphold the façade of being the “good Christian” or striving to fit in with the cool kids. Through our endless hip youth group names, hundreds of malfunctioning band practices, endless binders of unorganized papers, the awkward teenage years, and years of youth camps, you all became my family.

I’m sorry I had to leave you all for college. It’s difficult to see us going our separate ways, but I know when I come home from school that you will all be there with open arms and tackle hugs. Even though we don’t keep in touch as much as we said we would, it brings me so much joy to see you remaining steadfast in your faith and working to grow the Kingdom. I want you to know that I miss you more than you could ever know. I’ve seen so much growth in all of you, and I could not be more excited to see what God is going to do in and through each of you.

So I want to take this opportunity to say thank you. Thank you for keeping me accountable and calling me out when I wasn’t displaying the Kingdom. Thank you for being my shoulders to cry on and for constantly making me laugh. Thank you for keeping me entertained on car trips to camp. Thank you for loving me through some of the hardest years of my life. Thank you for being my constant love and support. Thank you for the endless inside jokes. Thank you for volunteering me to play ridiculous youth group games (that one was kind of sarcastic - no one actually wants to eat crickets or mayonnaise Twinkies). Thank you for playing "Taylor Swift or Lamentations" with me. Most importantly, thank you for constantly supporting me and showing me Jesus, even when I didn’t want to see Him.

Though it’s sad to see you all growing up, I know God is using you in major ways for His glory. We’ve been through a lot together, friends. Through all of the challenges and struggles we’ve faced, you all have been reminders that God is constant and good, regardless of circumstances. From food fights to cry-hugs, you have been some of my closest and most loyal friends, and I am so thankful for your presence in my life.

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12 Bible Verses For Faith In Hard Times

Remind yourself that God is always with you.
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Lately, I have felt lost at what God wants for my life. Ever since I've come back to UWG everything has been horrible. It seems that I can't catch a break. I'm trying my best to focus on school, work, and extracurricular activities. But it's hard when I'm having issues with my apartment/roommates and knowing my family back home is struggling and needs many prayers. All, I keep thinking is maybe Carrollton isn't where I belong anymore. I've asked God if He can guide me in the right direction. Below, I have found Bible verses that have helped get me through these rough, past couple of weeks.

1. Isaiah 43:2

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you."

2. Psalm 37:5

"Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will act."

3. Romans 8:18

"The pain that you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming."

4. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed in strength, and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."

5. Joshua 1:9

"Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous."

6. Ecclesiastes 3:1

"There is a time for everything and a reason for every activity under the heavens."

7. Isaiah 41:10

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

8. Isaiah 66:9

"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord."

9. Psalm 91:4

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

10. Psalm 62:1-2

"My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him, He alone is my rock and my salvation."

11. Philippians 4:13

"I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."

12. Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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Since When Did Having Your Life Figured Out Become An Expectation?

There's no timeline for life, and there shouldn't be.

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Let's just cut to the chase. There shouldn't be an expected timeline of life that us, as humans, should be expected to follow. There isn't a certain age that we should be married by, or a time slot that we have to graduate in. It's just unrealistic because, well, life happens. And the majority of the time, we can't control it.

So then why does society pressure us into this schedule that seems to be looming over our heads? There's no consequence to not having children by 27, there's nothing wrong with having a steady significant other and not being engaged by 24. And really, nothing horrible is going to happen if your timeline doesn't match up with your best friend's.

A whole lot of things in life are out of our control. We don't know when we're going to meet "the one", or even if we already have. We don't know what job we will have after graduation, or if it will be a job we stay in for years to come. And guess what: it's okay. Because we have time.

One of the best lessons I have learned in my life is that we cannot control everything in our lives. We can't predict the future. Yes, you can feel as though you have your whole life planned out, but in the blink of an eye, everything can change. So moral of the story, don't stress about things that you can't control. Because all the time you spend stressing about them, is time that you could have spent enjoying the moment that you are in.

There's not a fairy that is going to come down and curse you for not having a job by 23, or forbid you from finding love because you haven't found it by 25. It's an unrealistic expectation. And guess what: life happens on its own, and we can't control all of it. Sometimes it may suck, and it can be entirely unexpected, but it's life. So put an anchor in the present, and have faith that you will figure it out.

Because you will.

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