My memories of middle school are far from positive. I remember clique’s and mean girls and fads and comparing myself to everyone else. These days, the challenges middle schoolers face are even greater. Threats of violence, substance use, eating disorders, and more often lurk just behind the school’s entrance.
This past week, I was a guest speaker for our middle school girls ministry, Girl Talk. About once a month, the leaders invite a guest speaker to come and teach the girls something, such as a skill or craft. They’ve had speakers come and talk about photography, art, exercise, cake decorating, card making, etc. When I originally offered to speak, I couldn’t think of any skill or craft I could share. I’m not particularly creative or have an interesting hobby. It’s been a long time since I even worked with girls this age, so I hesitated, wondering what I could share with young teen girls that would interest them.
I began by talking with the girls about gratitude. We read from 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I talked with them about what it means to give thanks in all things. We discussed different scenarios where it might be hard to give thanks. Having recently experienced challenges in their schools, including a death by suicide and a death by illness, this topic was timely.
I then shared with them my gratitude list I had started three years ago. I challenged the girls to begin their own list of ongoing thanks. I explained keeping a gratitude list is a lot like going on a treasure hunt, searching and seeking out the gifts God gives to His children each day. I showed them examples and talked about the different ways to create a gratitude list: writing it down in a journal, taking photos, and even collaging.
We spread magazines across the table and began working on decorating journals and cutting out pictures of words and items for which we are grateful. (Ann‘s printouts for decorating gratitude journals came in handy).
Today’s world is challening for young teens. They face temptations, false gods, darkness, and lies each and every day. By focusing on the God’s gifts of grace, a light shines in that darkness. It’s that light that shows them the way to the Father.
I don’t know how many will take my challenge to keep a gratitude list. I hope they all do. I am thankful for the opportunity to share the light given to me. As it turns out, passing on the joy of counting gifts to these sweet girls turned out to be a gift for me as well.
Continuing my own gratitude list (#1509-1532):
Sharing my experiences from counting His graces
A group of sweet and adorable middle school girls
Giggles, smiles, laughter, and lots of pink
Working on my own collage
Finishing my Tuesday morning bible study–the ladies who came all semester have been such a blessing to me
My church community
My back pain acting up again reminding me that He is my strength
The boys extending extra grace to me when I wasn’t myself
My chiropractor who saw me twice this week
Learning about another blogger going to SheSpeaks–hoping to meet up with her!
Watching my son cross over from Tiger Cub to Wolf at the Cub Scouts ceremony
A friend and I making impromptu plans to get together for dinner because both our spouses were out of town
Learning that our spouses ended up meeting up for dinner as well, in Atlanta:)
Sunshine after the rain
Attending our homeschool groups end of the year celebration
My little guy lending an extra pair of shoes we had in the car to a friend who forgot his at the homeschool event
Swimming with the boys before it rained
Marble run toy
A quiet, lazy Saturday
Husband setting up a date night for us all on his own:)
Laughing my way through Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator with my oldest
Summer plans underway