Last night I began my evening with seven girls in masks, trying not to lean into, hold onto or hug one another.
It stinks. No, okay, really truthfully it sucks! BIG TIME
I am under the rules allowed to meet with my girls if we wear our masks, be mindful of the 6' distance requirement, and don't share food. Yeah, sounds like a hoot right! Not so much
I tried my best! I put one girl on either side of a table for a game, where you each tap the top of a cup, and eventually the momentum gets going as such that one risks pulling it away and the other lands their hand in whipping cream. Typically it's a riot! We have a blast. Last night, eh not so much. We were all spread out, the energy was off and this, was interesting, it was rare that anyone "got" the other. I suspected it was because they couldn't read one another's face - due to the mask. We tried and decided to move on
We grabbed beanbags, distanced apart and I tossed each of the girls a nice individually wrapped bag of cookies made by a Keebler Elf, to keep within the guidelines. They ripped them open and lowered their masks and the energy in the room went from blah to lots of ha ha ha.... uncontrollable laugher, stories, and sharing and joking and fun! The girls were having so much fun
Typically I ask for the week's HIGH event and LOW event. The rule is we don't talk over one another ~ we tossed that rule. And when I say we, I mean me as I'm the one enforcing it. I couldn't.
I saw how much these girls needed no boundaries, no rules, to be able to be loud, to talk about anything and everything (and they did!). I didn't want to stifle them or limit their conversations, I wanted normal for them.
A kind of normal while we sit spread all over a room, where typically we're piled together leaning on one another. Normal while we have a bag of Keebler cookies in place of piling in my home and gathering with snacks around the island.
It was somewhat normal and they needed it. I needed it, we all needed it. We needed to see one another's face, we needed to hear laughter. We needed to be able to just be... without boundaries and another rule. And so I just let them, let them be teenagers.
In doing so I learned this; These sweet girls are crying for no reason. They are depressed and cannot explain why. They hate online school. They worry about their parents and what might be coming. They worry about election results both locally and nationally. They hate COVID. They miss their friends, they want to get their driver's license. They would love to have lots of snow but know they won't get a "snow day" and won't be able to play with their friends in it.
These girls have big hearts, heavy burdens and they desire to be together with their friends. To be able to travel to see their families. They are torn about Thanksgiving as it looks different and they aren't sure what their families are going.
Our message was on praying, on answered prayers, on prayers which are answered, however, in ways we didn't expect.
In the last twenty minutes of our time together, we learned this.
God hears us, he's never lagging or glitching. He's open all the time. We don't need fancy words or eloquent ways. We can shout out or we can whisper and God hears us. And we were reminded, we can ask one another to pray for us, on our behalf, over us, and with us.
I asked the girls for their prayer requests and I closed our time together praying, while some of them were silent, others were still laughing. I just couldn't tell them to zip it. They were together, they were taking it all in and they were being normal teenage girls, who laugh, who drive me bonkers, who fill my heart, who desire to have some kind of normal in their world.
Before we left one another, I shared with the girls, if they had something they wanted me to pray over and didn't want to share, they could text me any time.
I suspected the time in prayer and the laughter was due to some prayer needs which might be heard to share in an open conversation, and in return, laughing was easier.
Before going to bed, I checked my phone. I had two messages, asking for prayer.
"I have a prayer need," said one. I replied "You got prayer girl" I didn't ask any questions, as I've learned with teenage girls, sometimes the quiet times are when they speak the loudest.
In this season of nothing seems normal, I'm so beyond words grateful for these teenage girls who bring me love, joy, chaos, craziness, and numerous reasons to count my blessings.