My youth group is wonderful. I've always known that. My parents have been in charge of the youth ministry almost for as long as I can remember, and I've always been "in" the youth group at Faith Community Church, even if I technically wasn't old enough yet. I graduated last year, both from high school and from being a student at the youth group. That was a very surreal experience for me. The way I interacted with the community I had been a part of for so long was about to change. Sure, I had been a Student Leader in the youth group all throughout my high school years, and I already led worship, so it wasn't all that big of a jump to being a young youth leader, but it was still a jump.
Now a group of some of my favorite people on this planet are about to go through the same weirdness of moving on (probably in a more permanent way than I have, but still) and I'm probably going to cry, as I tend to at Senior Sundays.
For those of you who don't know, Senior Sunday is the night in June when instead of normal youth group, we have a time to honor those graduating out of the group that have really stuck it out all the way through and have been a part of the group for years. We show slideshows of photos from each of them growing up with a favorite song playing underneath. The youth leaders talk about each student and how much they have meant to them over the years. We eat cake, sign poster boards for each of the students, and generally have a great time. Oh, and sometimes I sing a song. But that's only happened once so far.
This year is different for me, not only because it'll be the first Senior Sunday I attend as a leader rather than as a student, but because I'll be talking about two of the young ladies that are going to be graduating. Two of my very best friends. Suffice it to say, I'm very nervous, but also incredibly excited. I have the honor and privilege of being able to compliment and encourage and embarrass two wonderful people that I love in front of everyone. That's the kind of thing I love doing most--not necessarily the "embarrass in front of everyone" part, but I sincerely adore being able to breath life into others by exhorting and lifting them up. I hope that God will give me the exact right words to say and the voice in which to say it in and that I can in some way start to pay back two people who have invested so much into my life.
Wish me luck as I continue to prepare for what I'm going to say, and pray that I don't start bawling in front of everyone when I'm supposed to be talking. Hopefully, I'll at least get through the talking--I can cry afterward.