Every Monday night I open my home and disciple 4 wonderful middle school girls. They are my discipleship girls (DG girls) and it has been my privilege to be their discipleship leader for the last two years. This past April I found out their middle school was not having a graduation ceremony for their class. I don’t know about you but I was bothered when I found out the news and so I decided to have a graduation ceremony for them and their families at my home. My purpose for having the graduation ceremony was to celebrate each girl individually and have the opportunity to speak words of encouragement and blessing over them….praying that God would use this evening to bless them and encourage them in the years to come.
To prepare for the ceremony, I had each girl write a personal “resolution” they would share the evening of the event. I told them to picture the type of young woman they would like to be in 8 years and then write their resolution with her in mind. I had them pick their favorite bible verses and use the verses as a guide to help them write their resolutions.
Here is one example:
I want to be a young woman of love, faith, strength, purity and happiness.
- I will love everyone around me and accept everyone for how God has made them.
- I will be quick to share my faith with others.
- I will know that He is in control, and let Him lead my life.
- I will stay pure and remember to let God’s light shine through me.
- I will be full of joy, and will remember to stay positive.
- I will remember to stay grateful, and to share with those less fortunate.
“In the same way, let your light shine before men. That they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
After having dinner together as families I opened the ceremony with the following speech. During the speech I presented each girl with a butterfly in the colors of her high school and with a blessing jar. Inside each girl’s jar was the blessing that I spoke over her in front of her family and friends. I encouraged the parents to continue to write blessings for their daughters and place them inside the jars through-out the year.
Here is what I shared:
I’m giving each of our girls a simple butterfly tonight. This butterfly symbolizes what God is doing right now in their lives.
At this point in your lives you are in your cocoons, God is growing you, changing you, developing you. Your beautiful wings are forming inside your cocoons, which are your homes. Each one of you is beautiful in your own special way and it has been an honor for me to see you grow in our Lord these last two years.
As I’ve been preparing for this graduation ceremony, I started to think about the type of advice I would tell my girls at this stage in life…….since I view you all as my girls as well, my advice to you is the same as what I plan on sharing with them.
1. Keep your eyes on Jesus.
Life is like a balance beam…..you do better when you stay focused looking straight ahead, not to the right, the left and especially not behind you… don’t worry about what others are doing around you……stay focused on Him.
2. Choices matter.
These next 8 years, you will make some of the most important life changing decisions of your life, next to accepting Christ as your savior, make them wisely, be future minded…..stay in God’s Word and learn to listen to His voice and then be obedient to His calling.
3. Be marriage material not dating material.
Never date a guy unless you’d like to have a son just like him. Seriously.
Never date a guy whose heart does not belong to God.
Realize now, there is no guy out there who can complete you. Renee Zellweger in the movie, Jerry Maguire, had it all wrong. The only one who can complete you has already sacrificed it all and died for you…..you are worth everything to Him and He is the only one who can make you whole. Don’t search from someone to complete you, search for someone who will lead you closer to God.
4. The purpose of your life is to glorify God with it.
I love this quote by Francis Chan, “Do you know that nothing you do in this life will ever matter, unless it is about loving God and loving the people He has made.” Live a life of love!
”Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies. ~Author Unknown
You are in a season of change, leaving middle school and entering high school. God is growing you and developing you. He is forming you exactly the way He needs you to be to fulfill the plan He has for your life. Embrace this season of growing and changing……soon you will emerge from your cocoons and God will use you to change lives…..maybe even around the world.
“It is said that the fluttering of a butterfly’s wings can effect climate changes on the other side of the planet.” – Paul Erlich
Be patient and grow your beautiful wings…….you never know how God is going to change the world through YOU when you begin to fly!
I saw God that night.
I saw Him in their smiles. I saw Him in their eyes as they shared their resolutions. I heard Him in the laughter that was contagious and felt Him in the embraces of love and thanksgiving that were given.
We were a family that night.
Parents, DG girls, DG leader……we all wanted the same thing…..we all had the same focus……pointing and encouraging each other to follow God.
I learned a valuable lesson that night…. it really is important to take time to celebrate.
Love God Greatly!