I went back to my youth group tonight. It has been a while since I have gone to youth group back home. It felt weird going into it, and the weirdness never really left.
Going into it felt weird, I guess, because I had not been there in a while. One of my girls I knew would be off at college, and that was weird to me too. After I got there, I found out that it is actually the last Sunday for a lot of the people that are headed off to college for the first time. Last year I had one girl graduate high school and go off somewhere. Next year I will have one or two graduate and go off to college. But this year, four graduated and are headed off to college. It is weird. I cannot believe it has been four years since I began pouring into some of these girls. I think I feel a fragment of what parents must feel when their children go off to college.
"Did I do a good job?" was the first question that ran through my mind. But I remembered that it is not about me, so I thought about Jesus. "Did I teach and train them well? Was I faithful with those whom I was given? Are they going to go off to college and their relationships with Jesus survive?" For the first time I was realizing that I had only a limited amount of time to disciple these girls. So many things ran through my mind that I wish I had thought of, or realized, years ago, when I was entrusted with these girls. Lessons that I learned theoretically now became steeped in reality. I feel like I finally realized practically, that my influence in many students lives will be short. Looking ahead to whenever I start ministry with Student Venture, I will be able to go into it with a realization that I only have four, three, two years or less with these students, and then my time is up. Discipleship is urgent!
I am glad I am learning this lesson now, instead of four years into my ministry with Student Venture. I hope and pray that I always keep this in mind as more students are entrusted to my care and discipleship.
As for my girls that are now headed off to college, it is another lesson in faith to trust that God will keep them close. It is difficult to let the birds fly from the nest, but it is time, and it is necessary.