Backstreet Boys, Bad Hair and Bad Teeth or More Commonly Known as Middle School

I think the middle school years were three of the longest years of my life.  I look back at them and think bless your little heart Emily.  Most of my middle school years I have tried to block out.  I really have no desire to relive those years.   I am quite positive that no one really wants to relive those years.  I would love to find 5 people who would say that they loved middle school, okay maybe just 1.  I would be shocked if I found many people who loved their time in middle school or junior high as my parents so lovingly refer to it.  

I think the only thing I miss about middle school was the Backstreet Boys.  I definitely do not miss the awkward dances where the boys stood on one side of the room and the girls on the other.  Everyone loves the images of the slow dance in middle school.  I mean, so awkward.  You have your hands on the other persons should why you sway to the music with your feet firmly planted in the same position.  You sway to the soothing sounds of Crazy by K-Ci & JoJo.  Go on and try to pretend like you are not playing that song in your head right now.  It’s okay to admit that.  

I take these memories of middle school and try to imagine myself in the world that our Middle School Small Group is in.  I can’t.  Every week I sit in a classroom with about 15-20 of them and my heart breaks for them.  I watch them try and fit in.  I watch them try to figure things about themselves and it makes my heart ache for them.  The world in which they live is so different than the one I was in at their age.  They are immersed in a world of social media.  This world has so captured them.  It is scary and exciting at the same time.  Lucky for them it eliminates the awkward phone calls of when a boy calls you on your land line.  Oh wait, they don’t know what that is.  They post on Instagram, text, and take selfies more than anyone I know.  They are screaming for attention but struggle with what to do with that attention.  I wish I knew what to say to them at times.  

Most Sundays I look at them and want to tell them it gets better.  This stage of life does not last that long.  I want to tell their parents to endure, it gets better.  I want to tell myself they need you.  They need someone who will listen to them, someone who will encourage them and most importantly someone who will point them to the person who knows exactly how they feel. 

I want them to know Jesus.  I do not want them to simply have the faith of their Mom and Dad, 
but their own.  I want them to develop a love for Christ, His Word and His Church.  He is all they need.  In the midst of this crazy world that is around them, a world that changes on a daily basis, 
I want them to know that He is it.  He is enough.  Jesus is standing right there waiting 
for them and for all of us.  

I love my middle school students.  I do.  There are days that middle school ministry is hard, but I pray that we don’t give up on them.  I pray that we fight for them and fight for the futures that they have.  I pray that we teach them to walk boldly and passionately for the Gospel.