Thursday, November 1, 2012

What Are You?

My latest weekend adventure was chaperoning my church’s middle school retreat. I am a Covenant Group leader for the 8th grade girls, so it was great to go and spend more time with each of them! Weekends like that are the experiences that build incredible relationships. Those middle schoolers all have a very special place in my heart.

I hadn’t been on a middle school retreat since... well… since I was in middle school. It had been a long time since I had taken a cold shower with flip-flops on, sang around a campfire, and played games involving ‘dares’. I had forgotten just how fun and full of life middle schoolers are!

And I also had multiple conversations just like this one:

Are you a mom?
You seem like a mom. Why aren’t you a mom?
Because I’m not married.
You seem like you are married. Why aren’t you married?
Because I want to be single right now and do my own thing.
Oh, so you are in college!!
You aren’t in college and you aren’t married and you aren’t a mom? What ARE you?

I didn’t know what to say. I had a moment like the guy in this Chevy commercial.

I had a million things to say. Plenty of really great answers. My mind was racing in a million directions. I wanted to tell her that we are defined by so much more than the titles of "Wife", "Mother", and "Student". I wanted to tell her that there is no standard age for when you get married. I wanted to explain the importance of finding who you are before finding a husband. I wanted to tell her that the time between College and Husband is not No Man's Land (okay, well technically I guess there are no men), but it is probably going to be some of the best years of her life - just like it is for me. I wanted to tell her about all of the beauty that I see in the marriages around me from some of my dearest friends who were blessed to find their perfect partner early in life, but also the beauty in the strong, independent women who never settle and wait longer to find The One – because there is just as much beauty in the wait, too. I wanted to tell her that her story doesn’t begin with a significant other or with children – that it begins with herself. I wanted to look her in the eyes and challenge her that maybe if we searched for God the way that we are always searching for Mr. Right – in our churches and our universities and our careers and in our relationships – that our lives would be full of more Love than we could imagine and overflowing with all things Right.

What are you?

The question hit me like a ton of bricks a bride’s secondary bouquet. And I stood there with a blank expression on my face, just like Chevy dude, while my mind raced to the tune of Beyonce’s Single Ladies. The inquirer's middle school attention span did not allow for my wandering thoughts and she turned and walked away while I mumbled something vague like “A young professional...”.


Oh, but now I am ready. Next time, sweet girl. Next time you are getting a heart-to-heart.

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