Friday, January 14, 2011

Youth Group = Happy Teen

Kayleigh. My Oldest Daughter. My Shy Baby.

I've blogged some about her shyness before. When Kayleigh was little, she was glued to my hip. When we would walk into any room with people she didn't know, she would hug tight to my leg or cry for me to pick her up. She's always been very shy. I think it stems back to being poked and prodded when she was little by so many doctors that she didn't know. She was my sick baby. She got RSV and her first ear infection within the first 3 months of her life. She kept an ear infection for 8 straight months and we were at the doctor every 2 weeks getting a new antibiotic. Unfortunately we were in a group of doctors and every time she was seen, it was always a different doctor. By the time she was 10 months old, she got her first set of tubes but she also had her first asthma attack. We almost lost her that night! It was then that I became a very overprotective mother. I was a young mom...only 19 years old...but I was scared of her unconrolled asthma. She was on a nebulizer for breathing treatments every 4 hours for months. By the time she was 2, she'd seen so many different doctors because she'd been so sick and she was now facing a 2nd set of tubes and her adenoids out. Once she made it through that, we only had her asthma to control. But during that time, she wasn't crazy about men and she definately wouldn't go to anyone that she didn't know. I think she was scared they were going to poke at her. So that being said, she's always been VERY shy. She's not quick to make friends but she holds her friends that she does have very close. She's not quick to talk to boys but she has gotten better about it (I'm not complaining though...haha!) She's always gotten good grades and she excels with whatever she puts her mind to. After all, not many can say they've had their own cake decorating business since they were 13! (If you haven't seen her cakes yet, check her out on Facebook at Cakes By Kayleigh) With every cake, I've watched her grow and push her limits. But once again, that is her comfort zone.

Soooooo....the reason for my post.....
As you all already know, we started attending a new church in October of last year. One of the main things I was looking for in a church was a Youth Group. My girls are at the ages where they really need to have that and I just feel it's very important. The Youth Group at our church starts when they are 6th grade so Kacey can't start yet but Kayleigh can. This meant she had to step out of her comfort zone and take this journey on her own. When I attended the ornament exchange, I had the chance to speak with the pastor's wife about getting the girls involved in the Youth Group and Girl's Group. They have a girls group that meets on Sunday mornings. It's divided into middle school girls and high school girls. Then on Thursday night is Youth Group and thats when all the kids are together. A few Sundays after I spoke with the pastor's wife, Kayleigh and I finally had the chance to meet the girl that lead's the girls group. Well...she happens to be the youth pastor's wife!!! I can't even begin to tell you how welcomed Kayleigh and I both felt. We were welcomed with hugs and she spoke with us like she'd known us forever. For Kayleigh, THAT made a huge difference! Last Sunday was a perfect time for her to start Girls Group because it's a new year and a new session. She was very nervous about leaving out in the middle of church and walking into that room with those other girls....ALONE! I couldn't hold her hand and walk her to the classroom. This was something she had to do on her own. And...SHE DID IT! This past Sunday was her first meeting with them. As nervous as she was, she came out all smiles. So then, she wanted to find out what Thursdays were like but she was still very nervous about walking into that big room of kids. Youth group starts at 6:30pm so we arrived at the church at 6:15pm in hope that she would see some of the girls that she met on Sunday. By 6:25pm, she hadn't seen anyone that she knew go into the building so I made her get out and walk in. I walked in with her because we weren't sure where she needed to go. As soon as we got to where she needed to be, she layed eyes on the youth pastor who yelled to her across the room. She made a beeline for him! Not even turning around to say bye to me. As I walked back out to the van, I smiled to myself. She took another BIG step! There she was, in a room full of people that she really didn't know....BUT she was there! She had taken another step out of that box and it was just the step she needed. I walked back in to pick her up at 8pm and she was nothing but smiles. We had a 30 minute ride home and she didn't stop talking the entire way. She had a wonderful time. She thanked me for pushing her to go. She made several friends while she was there. And most of all....she wants to go EVERY Thursday! She was even a little upset because several of the youth are going to a conference tonight and 2 weeks ago she wasn't ready to go but when they were talking about it last night, she wished she had signed up. I was in the kitchen cooking dinner a little while ago and she came in and leaned against the counter and let out a big sigh. I turned and saw her staring off into space and I asked her what was wrong? She said, "I wonder how much fun the youth are having tonight? I really wish I would have gone to YEC." I had to smile! It makes me feel so good that she actually wanted to be there and that she was thinking about it. As she gets more involved with the youth there, I know some great opportunities will arise and she will make some wonderful memories with them. I just have to say, I'm thrilled that my shy girl is taking those steps on her own to move out of her comfort zone. It's also exciting to see her so happy!

As a parent, our job is to instill morals and values into our children and then hope and pray they take the right path. We can't choose the path for them but we can direct them in the right direction. It's nice to see them headed in the right direction!


Amy said...

So exited for Kayleigh, Jill! My oldest daughter just joined youth grouop this year and she, too, is shy and aprehensive about new groups/things/events. She has blossomed in this wonderful group and is the first to remind me on the days they meet. Just a blessing!!!!!

Choosing Joy in 2011, Amy

Shannon@ The New Normal Life said...

What a huge blessing... we too have found a new church and it is scarey... we went serching for the same reason a great youth group. I am so happy she found this...
Thanks again for tonight! YOU are wonderful!

Unknown said...

Awww...Jill :) This totally makes me SMILE!!!

I can remember youth groups as a teenager. I remember being excited about them and looking forward to group events.

I, too, feel these types of groups are incredibly important.

Kudos to you guys as parents for finding these resources for your girls! Kudos to your family for jumping in!

But, most of all, Kudos to Jesus for saving us all!