I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I feel most called to love on, encourage, and challenge other women. Through different seasons of my life, the group of girls I’ve gotten to love on has varied. As a young college student I spent almost every weekend teaching jr. high and high school girls at disciple nows. When I worked at summer camp, I spent summers guiding and taking care of a different set of 3rd – 6th grade girls every week. When I was an older college student at MC, I got to serve in several leadership roles (eventually president) for my sorority (MC calls them tribes, but for the sake of not having to explain that yet, we’re going to call it a sorority here), and genuinely felt called to those girls to love them and invest in them with all I had. When I was in seminary, I taught kids and helped with the youth group, but through baby sitting (and being friends with their parents) I built a relationship with some preteen girls from my church. They thought I was WAY cooler than I am (or every was). I hosted a sleepover for them at my apartment on campus in New Orleans. We baked and decorated cookies, we had debates on whether Hannah Montana or The Jonas Brothers were the best, and we had a blast.
As you heard in my TWU post, I went through a major rough patch of falsely believing God couldn’t use me in a ministry role in people’s lives anymore. I didn’t get to do life with or love on a group of girls for a while. I needed healing and to be loved on, so that’s okay. BUT, my life was a little less bright in that season. Not getting to do life with the group of people I felt most called to was a big part of the lack of light. I landed the job at MC where I got to LIVE in a dorm with 177 college girls and mentoring was written into my job description. DREAM JOB! To this day, I can think of no better way to rekindle a call to women’s ministry than getting to be the dorm mom of 177 college girls for 4 years. I absolutely loved every minute of it. (I didn’t love fire alarms in the middle of the night or on-call calls at 3 am, but you know, I loved MOST of it.) When I knew it was time for me to leave, I was terrified. I don’t like change, so some of it came from that. I didn’t know what I was going to do next, so fear there too, but my biggest fear was no longer having girls in my life to invest in and love on.
Right before I had to say goodbye to my last staff of RAs, I clearly felt the Holy Spirit give me some major comfort. I knew in that moment that when I had my own [rental] house, when students were back at MC (1/4th a mile from my house), and when I was working a new job where I wasn’t getting paid to invest in those girls, soon I’d get to shower them with love completely by choice! I’d get to invite them to a place that wasn’t the dorm, a home away from home. I’d get to cook a home cooked meal for them when they couldn’t handle one more day in the cafeteria. I’d get to be an older generation adult listening to them talk about their lives, caring what they had to say, loving them by choice, and gently imparting wisdom when the opportunities arose.
Right before the new school year started last fall, Lindsey and Anna arrived at our church as interns! One of those many previously mentioned mornings in Starbucks, I felt the Holy Spirit moving again! I was reminded of the promise that I’d get to love on college girls, and I clearly felt like I was supposed to invite Lindsey, Anna, and Sara in on this journey. They were all just as excited as I was! We met together all last year and started meeting together again this fall. We invite them to one of our houses every other week, cook homemade food for them, let them talk about anything and everything, occasionally throw in a boy to help lead a worship night, and really do offer a home away from home for them as they go through their college years. We aren’t another Bible study, we don’t require anything of them, they don’t have to go to our church, or any church. We just want to love them! The group is different this year than last year, but it’s perfect every time.
One of the girls’ parents thought we were a cult last year, which we got a kick out of. The same girl thought it would be funny to change our group message name to “The Coven.” Try not to look like a freak when you meet a new girl to invite to your group and try to explain why it’s called the coven? I’ve secretly in my mind been calling it The Guild lately, just so people don’t think we’re crazy. But guild is a fun word. It’s defined as, “an association of people for mutual aid or the pursuit of a common goal.” I’d like to think these girls know we are here to be at their aid at any given moment. And I know we have a common goal to pursue, to live lives that look increasingly more like the life of Jesus. Wintston Churchhill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Getting to give meals, space, campfires, a listening ear, gentle wisdom, encouragement, and love to younger generations of women – my guild – makes my life abundantly more lively and life-giving.
This is part of my 31 People(s) I Love series. I’ll be writing about 31 people/peoples that I adore! Click here if you would like a list of all the posts in this series.