When I was 26, I had a dream, desire and vision for a ministry geared towards pre-college-aged girls. I knew it was from the Lord because it resonated so deeply with the burden of my heart. So I hit the ground running and started in my church at the time. Daughters of Destiny, girls between the ages of 13 and 18 who would be mentored on a weekly basis via Bible study, prayer and open dialogue about the issues that affect their age-group. Everything the Lord gave me, I gave them. They were my babies as much as they were my little sisters in Christ. Their destinies mattered to me. Their future was my greatest concern. I wanted them to win where I had failed. I wanted them to reach adulthood without being shattered versions of their true selves. I wanted them to know Christ for real and to walk in wholeness. We prayed. We fasted. We fought. We made up. We persevered and we learned from one another. I made plenty of mistakes with these young ladies as a young woman myself who had no previous experience or training in ministry. I got my feelings hurt. I wanted to quit. I wore my heart on my sleeve and more than once, I allowed their teenage angst and anger to creep into my dealings with them. In a lot of ways, I was not the matured adult in the room because the ministry was my baby as much as the girls themselves and any attack on either felt personal and I took it as such. Ultimately, what started as a group of 13, 14 and 15 year olds grew with the girls and I watched my babies graduate high school, head off to college and the pursuit of their dreams. I cherish the honor of being part of each of their success in one small way or another. I remember each young lady in that group that God gave me with deep fondness and I still feel a fierce responsibility and protectiveness over them even as they are now in their early and mid twenties and flourishing quite well without my guidance. I miss them but there is no going back. That chapter in our lives is over. I now have the joy of praying for them as adult women who are making their own choices. I pray that the faith of their parents has become theirs on such a personal level that they cannot severe themselves from the cause of Christ. And I pray that they exceed me in all of their accomplishments because all of them are filled with talents beyond my wildest aspirations.
Mentoring and teaching these girls put me in touch with destiny, my own. They showed me how deep my love for the younger generation goes. They were my first training ground. Without rising and falling with them in tow, I would never have learned the importance of seasoning biblical truth with a generous helping of love. Watching them blossom even today reinforces my passion for mentoring. Everyone needs a mentor, present company included.
That same glimpse of destiny keeps me restless when I see a young person in need. As we speak, I am itching to gather the young ones around me (age 11 to 16) like a mother hen to ask them the questions I wish someone would have asked me at that age. I want to be to them what I did not have in middle school and high school. But for everything there is a season, and I refuse to move prematurely. I have no plans of “starting a ministry” even one that addresses the demographic of young people who currently melt my heart. For now and for the rest of my days, I plan of blooming where I am planted. As the Lord directs my steps to meet young people who need compassion from an adult, who need guidance that is biblical yet friendly, I will respond.
I will tell them the truth but not before I assure them that they are loved. I will show them my scars to spare them my trauma. I will teach them to find God for themselves and I will walk with them even when they disappoint me. I will not judge them but I will not lie to them about the consequences of sin. I will not command them but I will guide them towards truth. I will not “lord” over them but I will live to demonstrate why even the foolish things of God are better than the wisdom of man.
This is my pledge as I continue to dream dreams of destiny.