Show Marvelous

Let’s face it. Middle schoolers can be difficult. They are in such an uncertain time in their lives – one foot in childhood and the other in adulthood. Unsure of who they are, they spend their time trying to figure it out and that process can be a little rough. They can be awkward and annoying and sometimes, even, hard to love.

They actually remind me of my favorite flower, the Gerbera daisy. Although their blossoms are magnificent, Gerbera daisies are not pretty plants. Truth be told, they are fairly ugly. Their leaves resemble something much closer to a weed than a flower. They are jagged and rough, a stark contrast to the soft smooth flowers they surround. Only when the stunning, captivating blooms open is the true beauty of the plant revealed.

Often times, this is true of middle school students as well. Right now, in this tumultuous season of their lives it’s easy to only see their leaves. It can be tempting to dismiss them and get distracted by their ungainliness.

And yet, we are exactly the ones who need to dig and search further. We need discerning ears to hear them as they beg us to look closer. We need clarity of vision to see past the unlovable. We need soft hearts to be sure we don’t miss the very best parts of who they are.

I think one of the richest, most affirming passages in all of scripture is Psalm 139. From first verse to last it is full of promises and glimpses highlighting the glorious intimacy between God the Father and His creation. Sandwiched in the middle of that chapter is verse 14.

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

As if that simple truth weren’t enough, there is further treasure to be found here. One of the possible translations of the Hebrew word for “wonderfully” is “show marvelous”. “Show marvelous or show extraordinary or splendid,” according to Webster’s dictionary. Again I was reminded of the daisy. Despite it’s ugly leaves, if you wait patiently and give it a chance, it will most definitely show itself to be marvelous. If you look past the unappealing mess that encircles the heart of the plant, you will be struck by just how marvelous it is.

This is true of these students we have chosen to share our journey with. If we withhold our judgment and wait patiently we will see that there is vibrancy beyond the baseness, there is softness amidst the roughness and there is beauty despite the awkwardness. That amidst all the unsightly tangles surrounding them, they are divine creations and in God’s time, He will complete them, reveal them and show them marvelous.

My 7th grade small group is full of Gerbera daisies. There are days when I wonder if they’ll ever bloom and have to remind myself of their great potential. And then there are days when I get glimpses. Days when the Creator gives me a hint of what’s to come and shows me a preview of their magnificent blooms. In those moments, I am profoundly grateful for this role I get to play. I am humbled by my unique opportunity to watch as they unfold and “show marvelous.”

Do you have Gerbera daisies in your group? Which leaves are the hardest to see past? Have you perhaps, amidst the awkwardness, caught glimpses of beauty and splendor? How is God moving your heart to nurture and encourage their fragile hearts and spirits?

 

By Kristine Herring

Guest Writer February 9th, 2015 0 comments

Not About Me

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love

Guest Writer February 2nd, 2015 0 comments

Focusing Your Few

What do you do when you sit down with your few to start group and they are:

not focused
look bored to death
tired
on their phones
listen to music on the BEATS
fighting or gossiping
watching youtube on their phones
braiding each other’s hair
punching holes in the wall
fidgeting with the pillows
farting
screaming or crying
and the list can keep going on

Jeremy Zach December 1st, 2014 5 Comments

The Power of Traditions

We've probably all seen the power of celebrating traditions in our families (just think about your favorite childhood memories - I'm guessing a bunch of them will be connected to a family tradition or two).

But have you ever thought about harnessing the power of traditions for your small group? 

You should!

Traditions are powerful.

The traditions we celebrate have this crazy ability to bind us to the

Elle Campbell November 17th, 2014 4 Comments

When Death Happens

This past Thursday evening I found myself driving in a numb panic to the home of one of my few. Just a few hours earlier, I was in the middle of my toddler’s weekly trip to library story time when I received a call from one of my small group girls.

“Lauren? Kate’s sister was killed in a car accident last night. What should we

Lauren Terrell August 18th, 2014 2 Comments

Does it Matter or Not?

Last week I completed my fourteenth year as a leader in student ministry.  Fourteen is not a number we often celebrate in our culture, but in the world of students it means a lot.  Over the last fourteen years I have watched a class of students come in as squirrely 6th graders and leave as somewhat less squarely seniors, and then repeated the process.  As

Jon Grunden July 16th, 2014 2 Comments

College Whiplash

She looked at me with tears in her eyes. “I just feel like such a failure,” she told me.

It was the middle of what should have been her second semester, sophomore year and she was no longer at college. For some reasons beyond her control (and some very much within her control) she had been forced to drop out of her dream school and

Lauren Terrell June 9th, 2014 2 Comments

The Art of Small Talk

The start of small group is one of the most challenging segments of the group time. Starting a meaningful and spiritual discussion in the first few minutes of group is like trying to herd cats.  You know what I am talking about, don’t you?

The large group talk just got done and you get back to your small group room and your students are either

Jeremy Zach March 26th, 2014 1 comment

Intentional Affirmation

Whoever said, “Sticks and stones may broke my bones, but words will never hurt me”, flat out lied.

Words do hurt and definitely matter…. especially when it comes to teenagers.  You would be surprised how much students in your group crave authentic affection and affirmation! In Playing for Keeps, Reggie Joiner writes that "a few select words over time can impact someone's direction in life."

Jeffrey Wallace March 19th, 2014 0 comments

A Case of Frustration

For the past twelve years I have led a male small group.  Over the years I have learned a few tricks and a few bad habits on how to lead a group of guys. But I have noticed that over the past few years, I have become more impatient with my few.  I easily get frustrated if a few of my guys aren’t growing in

Jeremy Zach February 26th, 2014 0 comments