To Younger Emma,
You’re 15, you’re a part of an incredible church community, got a great family, and surrounded by friends. Your love for Jesus has been shining into some of your school-friends’ lives recently and they’ve been intrigued to know more about this youth group you go to on a Friday evening, and why someone who doesn’t seem that boring would go to church every Sunday.
I know that you don’t want to always be seen as just the ‘good church girl’ but this is less about you and more about them. When you speak with excitement about your youth group, about having peace through exams, and not worrying because you know God’s got your back, your friends are longing to experience that too, even if they aren’t saying it in specific words.
Quite a few of them will start coming to church with you because you soon get brave enough to extend an invite, first to check out one of the Sunday services. They will say they really enjoyed the music but found the talk a bit long, so then you invite them to come to youth on Friday because it’s a bit less talking and more fun! They absolutely love it, and church soon becomes their norm.
The thing that you don’t see coming is that in a couple of years, as all your lives begin to change and branch off into your own lanes, some of those friends become a bit more distant from church. You don’t need to take it personally, and you don’t need to be embarrassed to ask them about how things really are for them. It’s not always fun to have deep conversation, but we need to be there for each other and there may be a reason that they have felt like church isn’t the place for them anymore.
Support them with prayer, let them know they are always welcome, they are always loved, remind them of the truth written in Romans 8 that nothing can separate us from the love of God.
And to you Emma, remind yourself that these beautiful friends of yours are God’s children, and whatever journey life takes them on you can trust they are in God’s hands, and love them through it all.
Lots of love,
Older Emma x