A Note from Lifeway Girls: Today begins a new series on the Lifeway Girls Blog called Moments That Matter. Every Monday we will feature a leader, a mom, a girls minister, or a student sharing the moments that made them believe in the importance of investing in girls. We hope these stories will encourage you as you continue to disciple and lead your girls to Christ.
It was the fall of my senior year of high school and everything was going quite perfect. Homecoming queen, co-editor of the yearbook with my best friend, cheerleader, senior superlative winner—you name it, I was doing it. At school, I had it all together on the outside. However, family circumstances, specifically my dad’s health, felt like they were falling apart and I was deeply hurting on the inside.
Everyone at church knew and had been praying for my dad. I couldn’t necessarily escape conversations with those people, so I gave as little information as possible while repeating the phrase, “It’s all great right now. Thank you so much for your prayers. They mean so much!” It wasn’t a lie. Their thoughts and prayers really did mean a lot to me, but I was numb and angry. I was so mad that I stopped going to church. I didn’t want to face anyone or their questions about my life or my family circumstances. I wanted to act like it was all peachy. I didn’t want to be vulnerable, so I did my best to bury my head in the sand.
By that point in high school, I was a master at faking it. I was the Van Gogh at painting my life to be everything it wasn’t. In every conversation I was able to use my Christian jargon to let the adults in my life know I was okay and that, “God was working through it all,” even though I certainly did not feel like He was. In fact, I was mad at God. I was mad my dad had done everything right, yet he was still sick. I was angry at everyone for bringing it up all the time. I was over it; the fake conversations I made, the sad stares from people who didn’t know me, the prayers with strangers, everything. I was angry at the church for acting like the church. And because of that, I stopped going to church. There were twelve senior girls in my Sunday small group, and I told myself they probably wouldn’t even notice, and even if they did, they wouldn’t say anything. I thought it was better to seclude myself entirely than to be vulnerable with others.
The first week, no one really noticed my absence. But, by the second week, my friends noticed. And by week three I got a text message. My small group leader was checking in on me, “Hey! Where have you been? I’ve missed you!” I blamed my recent absence on homework and thanked her for the text. By week five I received a text from my high school pastor’s wife. She skipped the small talk and asked if I was okay. I said yes, and blamed homework again. But I knew she saw right through the facade. She gracefully replied that she understood, that I had been missed, and that she would love to see me back again soon. That next week I showed up to church and tried my best not to miss again, because I knew she would notice if I wasn’t there.
I don’t know if she remembers texting me that day, or if she kept track of my comings and goings that year (probably not), but I remember it—and that moment mattered. In a church full of people, and a student ministry full of students, I felt seen. A simple text message made all the difference in my heart and attitude towards church. Because I knew I had small group leaders and other volunteers that were counting on me, I experienced healthy accountability.
Our church has the saying, “The bigger our church gets, the smaller it has to feel.” Now that I have the privilege of getting to do girls ministry, I have the pleasure of training our leaders to help make the church “feel smaller.” Whether it’s sending a text message, writing a postcard, or following up on a prayer request, noticing the little things makes all the difference. The little things make others feel seen, and when others feel seen, they feel known. Feeling known can make all the difference in a student’s life—I know it did for mine.
Rachel Fox Frazier has the joy of serving full-time as the Middle School Girls Associate at Sevier Heights Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. She loves spending her days helping students take their next right step in their relationship with Jesus. And she loves to spend her nights writing, planning, and dreaming about ways she can help others do the same!
Rachel is recent newlywed and adores her hilarious and Jesus-loving husband. She loves connecting with others of matcha lattes, serving overseas, and everything about student ministry.