Teenage girls are amazing to me. I didn't think so while I was one, of course. Between the acne, frizzy hair, puberty and braces phase, it felt like 7 years of constant and quick changes that I couldn't keep up with.
And the hormones, holy cow the hormones! Crying was a regular thing and my poor dad suffered way too many silent treatments. But he was a champ of a father. I'm lucky for that.
I know you and I could sit in my living room for hours, sipping adult lattes and telling story after story of those monumentally
Between the ages of 11 and 18, the whole world was at our finger tips. We could be anything and everything we wanted to. We could pick a job right out of the sky, a college off a list, a dream from a bucket of glitter and we had enough time and energy to make it come true.
I look back at photos, the printed ones in a big bulky album on my coffee table, of a Mexico high school trip my youth group took, and I see my pod of friends. We're all smiling, as if life hadn't touched us yet; though for some it had, and in not so graceful of ways.
One picture in particular, we're all in a van, huddled in at the sound of our youth pastor's wife squealing,"Ok girls, picture time!" Cheese!
The girl seated at the front of the photo, a friend I still see and love dearly, her eyes broke me today. Looking back on the decade of love, loss and battles she's fought makes me want to hold her precious Sophomore face and whisper, You don't have to fight. God sees you. He loves you, for YOU.
I wish I could have prevented the years of heartache that would befall upon her; some by bad choices and others by victimization. None of which are okay.
My heart is broken for the girls of my youth. Myself included. But that only spurs me to move faster and more powerfully for the girls of my present and my future. I don't want to look back and cry over their photos as well, apologizing to them for not trying harder. For not telling them how much they are loved. How much they are valued and wanted. How beautiful they are and how they will someday change their world; for better or worse.
Because I've seen too many beautiful birds stand on the edge of fear or be shot down by killers around them. And I've had enough.
I will show generation after generation of teen girls how to fly as high as they were designed to go.
For the rest of my life, I will show them how to be brave.