Because we have fifty blueberry bushes in our side yard, I spend many hours every June picking berries. Last summer as I was grabbing some ripe berries off a branch, I noticed that there was a hand full of berries packed so tightly together I could barely pick them off. In fact, some of them were actually misshaped because of how closely they had grown to one another. As I gently pulled them apart, I saw that some of them had actually caused the one beside it to rot. “What a sad bunch of berries,” I thought, “they were just too close.”
Just like some of the girls in our Youth Group.
It was true. I feel like, as Girls Ministry leaders, we often find ourselves striving to help girls find their identity in Jesus, to find freedom to follow Him, and to let Him be the passion of their young lives; but all they really want to do is cling—too tightly—to the other girls in their packed, unhealthily close, self-centered circle of friends.
But the next berry I grabbed off the bush was just the opposite: all alone. It was perfectly round, brilliantly blue, healthy, and delicious. (Eating berries off the vine is the primary reason I’m so committed to picking!) I decided to give it a name: one. I pondered the struggle of teenage girls being a one:
- Few girls set out to be a one, but they are.
- If you tell girls they’ll grow stronger if they spend time alone, they don’t want to listen. They think they’ll find comfort in groups, not in being ones.
- There are times of aloneness (which is different from loneliness!) in every single person’s life.
- Being part of a group might seem great, but it’s not healthy to be too close. We all need to learn to be a one from time to time.
I was a one for most of my teenage years. In seventh grade, my best friend decided she hated me and dropped me like a hot coal. I had friendly girls around me for the rest of middle school, but no deep friends. When I got into high school, most of my friends were guys, which left me as a one when their girlfriends were around. In college, I actually had a few healthy girl friendships, but I was never part of a tight group.
And—please hear me clearly—I was fine as a one. I still am.
Don’t mis-understand who the ones are: they’re not just the weird, annoying, please-don’t-talk-to-her-or-she’ll-never-leave types. Many of the ones are healthy, well-adjusted girls. They just don’t cling to others. Many of us ones are perfectly fine to be a one, so please don’t pity us.
As a matter of fact, please reach out to us!
Ones can be your Girls Ministry’s best leaders, workers, and care-givers. Ones tend to be mature, thoughtful, and observant. Ones aren’t afraid to commit or stand out. Maybe you are called to help the tight groups of girls out there. (If so, the Lord bless you, sister!)
But maybe, like me, you can be a better minister to the ones. Look for them, befriend them, disciple them, and love them. When we pour into the ones, we pour into all our girls.
Leslie Hudson fills her life with blueberries, strong coffee, and lots of laughter in White Bluff, Tennessee, where she lives with her husband and two kids. She loves studying God’s Word early and spreading it around the rest of the day. Get to know her better at myleslienotebook.blogspot.com.