Friday, May 16, 2014

To the Class of 2014

Back in Cape Girardeau where I had been living, this was the last week of school. As sad as it always was to see the seniors I worked with graduate and move on, it was also really exciting to see where they were going.

This year it's particularly bitter sweet. The class which is graduating this year was my very first confirmation class when I had arrived at St. Andrew on my internship after my four years of studying in college. Up until my last year, many of these students (along with others) were some of the most involved and those I had a special close relationship. Now they're graduating, and it's oddly fitting both I left and they are moving on in the same school year.

Here is some final advice to you (and really, to all of the teenagers I worked with for those 5 1/2 years) from your former youth minister. Complete with embarrassing photos of you and your youth group friends from 7th grade until now!

National Youth Gathering, San Antonio, 2013
- as Mr. Jim would say, "Do it well, do it now, and do it with a smile."
- whatever happens at the lock-in (or on road trips...) stays there.
- keep in touch with your old friends as best you can, but if you loose touch... It's okay.
- be open to new people and new opportunities

Jr. High Retreat- 2009
- get out of where you grew up. Even if it's just for a trip or a semester. 
-  faith is hard as you get older and you change and grow. I'm not sure why, but it is. Don't be scared of it though. God can handle your doubts, anger, worries, and questions. 
- if the gospel you share with others isn't in love it's not the gospel.

Alabama Mission Trip 2013
- you're not going to be best friends forever with everyone you meet. That's okay. You don't have to be. But be kind to them anyways. 
- you might (aka probably) change your major and your life plan. That's okay.

Peer Ministry Training 2013
- be realistic and plan for your future, but still do something you love and be willing to change.
- yes, student loans might own your soul. It's just one of those parts of life. You'll survive.

I honestly can't remember when this was taken...
- when you go out with your friends, please be careful. Have fun, but be smart about it. If I hear a story about you getting hurt or killed I'll find you and kill you again. I say this out of love.
- our God is love.

National Youth Gathering San Antonio, 2013
- if you're going to college, I want you to do well and get good grades. But for the love of all that is good and holy have fun too. You'll regret not having those memories.
- don't mix your drinks and volunteer to be the DD on occasion.

BigStuf 2011... I think
- connect with your professors/bosses/coaches. Their guidance and friendship are invaluable.
- why yes, in college you can go to the bathroom without permission from your teacher. It took me FOREVER to get used to. 
- you don't have to find your soulmate right now. If you do, awesome. But if not, that's awesome too.
- check your drama at the door.

Superbowl Party 2009
- read a book... Especially if it's not for class.
- call your mom sometimes. She worries about you. It's her job.
- do something that scares you.
- knonekt
- wherever you are, find a church or on campus faith group. You can't do this faith thing alone. 
- still make friends with people who are different from you though. You'll learn so much!
- question everything. Even the Bible says to do that. If something doesn't sound right or something doesn't fit what you've been taught, find out for yourself. Read about it in the Bible. Talk to someone from church or someone else you really trust.

BigStuf Panama City, 2011
- you will get hurt. People you love will make mistakes. Forgive them.
- forgive, but remember there's a difference between forgiving and being a doormat.
- you're going to make mistakes and hurt people too. Say you're sorry.
- remember what I would tell you on trips: if you think I or another adult won't like it, you're probably right. So don't do it.

Chicago Mission Trip 2012
- be gloriously crazy!
- this is your new start- what are you going to do with it?
- wear flip flops in the dorm bathroom. Barefeet in there is just gross.
- if you aren't going to college, still do your best in whatever you do.
- don't take yourself so seriously!
- "you make beautiful things out of the dust."

Confirmation Retreat 2009
Confirmation Retreat 2009

BigStuf Panama City, 2011
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39 ESV)

National Youth Gathering San Antonio, 2013
Congrats class of 2014 (and beyond)! You're going to do awesome things!

If you could give this year's high school seniors advice, what would it be?


  1. what a great post! i love looking back at old school pictures.

    i would tell everyone to take risks, live life and grab all opportunities!

    Vodka and Soda

  2. - God can handle your doubts, anger, worries, and questions.
    - if the gospel you share with others isn't in love it's not the gospel.

    Girl, these kids were so blessed to have you! All great advice, but especially the ones I listed, whew- TRUTH!

  3. so much great advice! and it's definitely bittersweet, but a huge milestone :)


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