When Rob and I told Tim, our youth pastor, that we would teach the High School Sunday School Class, I was a little upset with Rob. I knew his heart for students, but teaching is not my gift. I also knew it was a huge responsibility to shepherd the hearts of teenagers, because the world is pulling them in so many directions. I was scared and didn’t know if I was up for the challenge. But I also knew that God’s strength is most visible in our weakness.
One thing that neither of us considered was the relationships that we would have with these students. And days like today make this all too real. All of our students hold a special place in our hearts, and we have been very fortunate that all of the graduating seniors are still home. We still get to see them and hang out, which does my heart so good. I love seeing how God is working in their lives, and I love catching up with them over lunch or Bible Study. But today, our very first student is leaving for college. Auburn, Alabama to be exact. We won’t have the same opportunity to see her all of the time, except through Face Time and Skype (which I know not how to work either.)
Holly has been a constant in our group these last two years. Because she was one of only two senior girls, she always called “shotgun” in my car for every road trip we made. This meant she had to navigate because Mrs. SaraBeth can’t find her way out of a paper bag. We have been to Night of Joy and Rock the Universe, where she loves to ride rides and get front row views of concerts, regardless how many people we have to push through to get there.
She has helped with VBS music, helped teach Emmy to swim, and kept Cade in line on many occasions. One of my fondest memories will always be our trip to NY. Our group of girls, and one boy, had the time of our lives and haven’t quit talking about it since.
When you are in the position of teacher, especially when you’re not comfortable with it, you become the student because teenagers have a lot to teach you. One of the things Holly has taught me has been to love yourself and be confident in who you are. As she competed for Miss U Co High, her motto was “Dare to be Different.” While other contestants chose Disney princesses for their characters, Holly chose Cruella DeVil. We still sing that crazy song over and over again. While some told her she shouldn’t be in a pageant, she held true to herself and took home the crown. She has really taught me to be comfortable with who I am, regardless of what others may say. That is a lesson I will always carry with me and admire her for.
As you leave on your next journey today, I want you to know that you carry a whole lot of love from Lake Butler with you. I will miss our talks, our movie dates, our singing of obnoxious songs, and our kick-butt Cranium teams. But I am so proud of you! You are strong in the Lord, and I have full confidence that you will take that strength with you to Auburn, and change the world for Jesus. Don’t ever lose sight of who you are, because you inspire people to be the best they can be. I love you so much, and I will be counting down the days until I see you again. Thank you for loving my family, and for loving me. I will always hold you dear to my heart, and never forget the amazing memories we have made. I will try to keep your Momma in line, but you know that is gonna be tough I love you and can’t wait to hear all that is going on in Auburn!