faith spiritual

Dear Sixth Grade Girl: It's All True. All this Jesus Stuff is True

10:45 AMHeather

Dear Sixth Grade Girl,

I want you all to know something. Everyone of you who is reading this blog post. Every person engaged here, who honors me with their precious time to pause and read the words that I feel led to share.

It's all true.

Every bit of it.

It's all true. All of this Jesus stuff that you hear. Every bit of truth from the Bible that you are taught in church. Or at home. Or that you read on your social media feed.

In fact, not only is it all true, but it is more true than anything else in life. More true than popularity. More true than passing recognition and awards. More true than cheerleading medals or soccer trophies. More true than being elected class president. More true than a stellar report card. More true than any winning season in even the most elite club or select sport.

More true than your mother's love.

More true than your friends' devotion.

More true than the attention from a boy.

More true than your cutest outfit, best hair day, and fanciest new electronic gadget.

More true than Kendra Scott. Or Vera Bradley.

Every word that God spoke through the Bible is the truest thing that you could ever find. It stands the test of time. And not just time, but all of eternity. It will outlast all of the things listed above. It will provide more strength than the most rigorous fitness program. It will provide more hope than your very best efforts could earn you. It will be the only light on the very darkest day.

That is why my heart beats for you. That is why I feel a growing passion to reach you, to teach you, to encourage you.

Everyone of you sixth grade girls. Including my own.

And everyone who is not a sixth grade girl. 

Because I want to save you some heartache and tell you what I've come to know.

I want to say it with the strongest and boldest conviction that I can muster and speak through the loudest megaphone.

It is all true.

If you ask me how I know this, then I will tell you my story.

I grew up learning facts about God, the Bible and Jesus. I grew up in the home of two parents who believed in it all and sought to follow Jesus. They lived out such faith in their own lives. I grew up storing away knowledge about a kind looking Jesus who had a cartoon face in my children's Bible. I grew up listening to stories taught on flannel boards about such heroes as David and Daniel and Noah.

And I accepted it all. I just took it all in as the gospel truth.

The gospel.

The good news.

That I was covered by the blood of Jesus shed on the cross and offered the power of the Holy Spirit because death couldn't hold Jesus in a grave.

And just like I relished a good fairy tale and mythology, I soaked in the stories from the Bible with that type of mentality. Like a beautiful piece of jewelry handed down from generation to the next, I just received the faith of my parents. 

Because I had no reason to ever doubt it.

Until I did.

When all that I knew was stripped away just three weeks after my 19th birthday. I know that sounds melodramatic. But, suffice it to say-- it's what happened. The bubble of my little happy home and intact family and security under my parent's authority and protection and provision was stripped away.

And then what?

Well, I will tell you what. 

I wrestled hard against all the facts. I questioned the God of the Bible. I doubted that Jesus loved me. I wondered how a good God could allow my heartache. I blamed him for the cruelty of my happy little life that now only mocked me for being naive enough to trust an unseen God.

Because life was bad. Life was hard. My heart was broken. And I felt all alone.

The story of the cross and the Son and the empty tomb? I just didn't know about it all anymore. I wasn't sure of anything because the most real thing to me was my pain.

Lean in now. And listen to me.

I fought through the muck of my doubts, my bitterness, my deep wounds, my depression. And maybe out of habit or curiosity or just desperation, I kept going to church and to Bible study. I sat and listened to Godly teaching. I sat with my Bible and read with a skeptical faith. I wrote long letters to God, pouring out my harshest criticisms of him. Like Jacob wrestled all night with God, I wrestled hard.

Until one day, I sat alone on the floor of my bedroom. Crying uncontrollably. Wanting to go to sleep and never ever wake up. And I told God off. I let it all rip. No holds barred. Nothing held back.

And no lightening bolt came for me.

No audible voice spoke.

No bright rainbow filled the sky.

But a quiet and overwhelming peace came over me. And I knew that God heard me. I knew that God saw me. And I began in that moment to claim my faith as my very own.

Not the facts of what my parents and my church had taught me. 

But the truest thing I've come to know. So I want you to know. Because maybe it will save you some of my struggles.

God will never leave you nor forsake you.

God's grace is sufficient in our weakness.

When you hit rock bottom, it is indeed the solid Rock of the Ages when you simply choose to keep running toward God instead of away from him.

So hear me well, sixth grade girl. 

Your troubles might seem big right now. And I don't diminish them. Middle school is hard. Trust me--it feels just as hard watching you walk through it as it did when it was me. And you are struggling in a technology and information age such as I could never have fathomed at age 12.

But, someday, your life might hit a very hard brick wall. Someday, trials and tribulations might come. In fact, God promised us that in this world, we will have tribulation. In this broken sinful world, we will face disease and grief and loss and hardships.

And when those moments come over you like a tsunami wave, take my word for it. Because I am shooting straight with you.

Tie every bit of yourself to this hope that we have as an anchor. This God of the Bible, this Jesus that is his only Son, and this mysterious and powerful Holy Spirit.

It is the truest thing that exists. When your world crumbles, dive into the Word. Test it. Read it. Memorize it. Explore it. Remember it.

Because it is all God breathed. It is all your Heavenly Father's love letter to you. It is all his promise that he will never break. 

He is more faithful than you can fathom. He is more satisfying than any other pursuit. He is stronger than anything else. He is more loving than you can imagine. His mercies are indeed new, every single day. Moment by moment. As you wrestle or grieve forward through your own muck and mire.

I'm telling you the truth.

All that you think about God right now... all that you've come to believe... it doesn't even begin to compare to the depths of his grace. He is more real than even your most "goosebump inspiring" moment at church camp.

I'm here to tell you. Because I have walked through it myself. I have learned facts and I have tested my faith. I have doubted and I have questioned and then I chose to believe even when I didn't feel it.

But now, I know.

Now, with hindsight that only God can offer, I know with the deepest conviction of my soul.

And I want you to know. I want you to tuck this away for safe keeping.

It is all true. Every word of the Bible is true. They aren't just words on a page. But they are indeed anchors to hold you steady. They are the light in the darkness. They are the thing that will sustain you when all else falls away.

So invest yourself and your time in the Word. Dare to ask questions and pray honestly. Have the most authentic and genuine conversations with the One who made you. The One who knows you better than anyone else on this planet. The One who created all that exists with one word from his mouth. The One who orchestrates the complexities of the universe and knit our complicated bodies together. The One who knows each star by name. 

The One who knows the very number of hairs on your head.

And the One who says that all those who trust in Him will never be put to shame.

Oh, dear sixth grade girl, listen now. Turn down the noise in your life and listen carefully. Ask for ears to hear. 

And you will hear indeed.

His love sings over you. For he delights in you. He quiets you with his love and he rejoices over you with song (Zephaniah 3:17).

For every bird's chirps and every gentle breeze rustling through the leaves are his love songs over us.

I'm telling you the very truest thing I've ever come to know in my nearly 45 years on this earth. 

God is immeasurably more than we can ever ask. Than we can ever imagine. 

And every effort to know him is so very worth it.

You can bank on it.

For he said it is so.

And I'm here to tell you. You can take him at his word.

Amen and amen.

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