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.