I guess you could say I got my strongest “faith” foundation in middle school at Calvary–my home church. Our middle school pastor is one of the best teachers I’ve listened to in all my life. How he lived his life matched up as well. He was more than willing to have fun with us kids (game nights were a monthly occurrence in the youth group), but he was also very much a mature adult and a teacher. The environment he and the youth leaders created was safe for a self-conscious teenager, and fun-filled for a young woman who loved little more than being a kid.
When asked what the best part of my life was, I say “middle school.” I know that’s not common, so let me explain further. I’ve always thrived best when I’m surrounded by a group of friends who are close to me. During that time in my life, I was surrounded by my dear gal friends “the girlz,” and I was a content young lady. Being introverted and not prone to go out and chat with strangers, I also have found it easiest to connect to other people when playing games. I loved the thrill of the games, whether it was Capture the Flag, complete with finger rockets; scavenger hunts around town during a Christmas party; or flashlight tag up in the mountains on winter retreats.
The structure of the youth group was great as well. I process ideas best through “thinking out loud,” and I love studying for the sake of studying. I wasn’t a know-it-all, but I enjoyed answering questions that our pastor put to the youth group during the sermon. I enjoyed listening as well, and taking notes. I drank up all the historical background given to the Bible stories we were learning. I loved learning about the original Greek and Hebrew words, and how that brought the text alive for me. I put roots into the solid foundation that was being laid. And even now, in my early twenties, I still remember sermons that made such a deep impact on my life.
I tried to revive that feeling of “group” when I came back from university. I didn’t try it out at Calvary though. They’d always had a very small young adult group, and I hadn’t ever really felt at home there. So, I tried another young adult group. I ended up being less than satisfied with what I found there. You see, being homeschooled, and having gal friends who had my back as much as I had theirs, I didn’t know much about “drama.” Sure, I’d experienced some off at university, but I doubted I’d find it at this new place. I was wrong. Since then, I’ve haven’t really tried to “fit into” any group. In a lot of ways (emotionally, physically), I keep my distance from all the other young adults. And I tend to go for the same sort of social group I had in middle school: a small group of close friends.