The power of love
‘Dear God, please help me to get a boyfriend. Amen.’
Perhaps we wouldn’t be too surprised to hear this coming from the senior group at Girls’ Brigade (GB) who are aged 10 – 14. But imagine my shock when I was told this was a prayer from one of our six-year-olds.
Aren’t girls supposed to think of boys as yucky, smelly creatures until at least high school?
I wonder where this sense of needing to be one half of a pair comes from in one so young. Equally how wonderful that a little one can bring her heart’s desires to our Father in heaven who hears her and understands her little thoughts and needs.
Meanwhile our Junior group, aged seven to 11, has been joined by a precious little girl who is mature beyond her years. She’s experienced more in her 10 years on the planet than you would ever wish. On the surface she seems so ‘normal’, but I know her foster family may face many challenges as they settle her into family life and guide her into her teenage years.
My prayer for her is that our GB group and church can help in some small way to plug the gaps in love and family that she has missed out on. I met my best friends through GB and church – friends who have grown up with me and have seen me through the thick and thin of life’s experiences; friends who have shared faith with me. I really hope that all of our GB girls can know friendship like that too.
And what of my teenagers? Wow, what a challenge they are. It’s so funny to think this lovely, crazy, chatty bunch would probably lose the ability to talk coherently when in the company of a boy, which is why I think that a group like GB is such a great idea.
Girls’ Brigade provides the awkward teenager who might be struggling with her appearance, with self esteem issues and raging hormones, a safe place just to be themselves. I love that my girls turn up looking totally different to how they appear at the mixed youth club. Hair can be scruffy, make-up left on the dressing table, GB hoody and jeans on and they’re ready for GB.
We’ve just tackled a series on emotions with the teenagers and, time and time again, they’ve opened up about their feelings, about family break-ups, bereavement and bullying. I don’t know how comfortable they’d have been doing this in a mixed group.
At the end of the day, whatever a girl’s background or upbringing, all we can ever hope for them is they know love. Know how to share love through knowing that they’re loved by God – loved with an unconditional, all-encompassing love, a love that we can never escape from, never stop deserving.
Whatever activities my girls will be involved with this week, I hope they go home knowing that God loves them.