Complicated, hyper, changing-their-mood-faster-than-they-can-text, nutty little things. Something to be examined from afar—don’t get too close, or they’ll suck you into their talk of Miley Cyrus and Facebook. Spend too much time with them, and you might end up having them actually confiding their latest crushes to you.
I never thought I could work with middle schoolers. Leave that to the people who never grew out of middle school, right?
A year and a half into my job as the middle school ministry coordinator here at Faith, and I’m not sure I could ever work without middle schoolers. I absolutely adore this age–the complexities and challenges, the joys and pull-my-hair-out frustrations of this tween generation. Without even a hint of sugarcoating, I can honestly say that the biggest joy of my life right now is seeing God working in, through, and amongst the kids here. What an incredible gift He has given us in these youth—not only in blessing us with these kids, but in allowing us to have a hand in molding them into young men and women of God.
Sometimes I feel like the little kid who was just promoted from the kiddie table at Thanksgiving, and allowed to feast with a proper knife and fork at the Big Table. I often picture myself squinting at God and saying, “Are you sure? Me? Lead your children? But…what if I mess up? What if I don’t know exactly what to do?”
However, that’s the beauty of what God has entrusted us to do. He has blessed us with these kids, and told us to raise our children up and to make them “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14-15).When we’re confused, unsure, or feel like we’ve made a mess of the whole process, we can turn to God and plead anew for help—and not only does He always give us another chance, but He turns our mess into good (“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose”, Romans 8:28).
Jesus says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Notice that Jesus didn’t say, “Oh yeah, the fruit? It might be ok. Well, I’m not sure really sure if it’ll last or not…it might, or it might not.” He simply says, “I chose you and appointed you. The fruit will last.”
Last week, I was invited to my first eighth grade party. The last time anyone bestowed the honor of inviting me to an eighth grade party was…well, was when I myself was in eighth grade. That made me realize something: if God can work through me—a ball of stress who worries about paying the bills, is cranky in the morning, and yells a bit too loudly at her puppy for having an accident on the carpet—then God can work through anyone. And He does.
Somehow, through our imperfections and shortcomings, His work is still being accomplished. If that doesn’t show the glorious grace of God, I don’t know what does.