I’m in mourning.
Because my daughter, my little bitty, sweet Princess girl is in 5th grade. She’s in her last year of elementary school. Next year I’ll have a middle schooler which is just a hop, skip and a jump away from graduating, packing up her things and moving out of my house.
I am really and truly feeling the end of this season. When you have preschoolers and young elementary kids you can still feel like you’re a new mom. But middle schoolers?! You should have your junk together by then!
But more than if I have my stuff together as a mom, does my daughter have what she needs inside of her to be in middle school?
It’s one reason I was glad to stretch myself as a counselor for middle school girls this summer. Hanging out with them every day and seeing the different ways they expressed themselves, how they interacted with each other and with adults, the questions they asked, the topics they talked about was eye opening. It was a reminder of where I’d be very soon with my own daughter.
The main truth I wanted those campers to know is that God is really and truly in love with them and waiting for them to turn to Him in any and every situation. I remember that waking-up feeling in middle and high school. That self-discovery, while wondering if everyone else was discovering and seeing all this new stuff about me, too. Everything feels bigger and harder and more urgent.
I don’t want my campers to feel like they are floundering somewhere by themselves, wondering and questioning who and what they are. This includes gender and purpose and even does-this-make-me-look-fat.
I really do believe God knows us intimately and has a legit plan for us–not a railroad track that must be followed, but a good, unique Thing that God began in us at creation.
And oh! I want my campers to know this! I want my 12 year old niece to know this! I want my sweet 5th grader to know this!
It’s why I’ve recently moved from the preschool department at my church (after being there almost 10 years!) and volunteering in our middle school service. I want to see and know and remember what those years were like. I want to be the smiling face that reminds them of God’s thoughts about them. I want to set myself and my daughter up for constantly leaning back into God and His Word when we begin to navigate these new seasons. I want her default to be confidence in who God is and her relationship with Him.
The byline/mission of the middle school ministry at our church is “a faith of their own”. I so love it because it is the time when kids start wondering why, start “waking up” and looking around at their life and seeing it almost from the outside for the first time. But it doesn’t have to be a pitfall. It can be a time of growth and strength.
It reminds me, too of what season of parenting I’m in–not the cut-up-the-meat-for-her, but the you-can-do-it-on-your-own. These years and her reactions will not be because of what I’ve taught, per se, but because of who God promises and shows Himself to be to her.
It’s a new season.
And as much as I mourn this year, I also rejoice in my sweet girl and the original, beautiful, valuable person God made her to be.
Like all this adorableness? It’s from the Sadie Robertson’s Live Original line at Dayspring. I gave some of the cards and journals to my middle school campers. They are gorgeous!! I’m giving a special (not pictured above!) Sadie piece on Instagram today. Come on over and check it out!