A song came on the radio this morning that made me both turn the volume up and smile with nostalgia. I’ll date myself quickly, it was The Goo Goo Dolls with their 90’s hit “I’ll Be.” I grinned sheepishly to myself, as I drove an extra block listening to the sappy lyrics, remembering vividly when this song played during a middle school dance. I had left the house that night in my chicest dress: shiny, floral print (probably polyester), you can picture the trend from memory. Strutting into the gym on my cork bottomed wedges I was mortified when I walked in to discover the older, cooler eighth graders were wearing sneakers and jeans. I had pulled a rookie mistake, I’d overdressed, cared too much. I spent the rest of the night standing awkwardly along the edge of the dance floor, my knees the widest point of my legs, the glow-in-the dark bands on my braces shining under the disco lights.
I sat in my car and sighed, wishing so badly I could go back and give that desperately insecure girl a hug; just tell her she would be OK, cheer her on. If such an adventure was possible I think I would sit down with her and just be kind to her, every little girl at that age could use a little more kindness. And what a powerful thought to be able to prepare her for what is coming by reassuring her of her own strength, her God given strength fortified through her faith.
Of course I can’t do any of those things.
But I, we, can do something even more powerful than coaching our adolescent selves. We can surround, love, inspire and cheer on our daughters, nieces, granddaughters, little sisters and friends. Today we can shape and strengthen the little girls who will someday be the women leading our community and world. The thought brings me tears of joy and excitement. I can’t begin to tell you how excited we are to meet you, to see you again, to build your little girls up through Christ, and to embrace you. Most importantly I’m so excited to rediscover our joy with what we’re planning for this August. Join us, bring your girlfriends, because finding joy is always more fun with friends. And until August I’ll be praying for the plans we’re making, girls and gals searching for us, and for our weekend of joy.