So, It’s our first day of school, and this is my annual back-to-school post.  Only everything is new for us today.  New clothes, new shoes, new backpacks, new school, new people.  It’s all new.  For my girls and for me.  A lot of things have changed for us in the past couple of years, as I wrote about recently, and suddenly we all find ourselves to be the new girls.  Several of my closest friends and family are the new girls where they are as well at this moment, so this is a little message to all of us in these shoes right now. (And by the way- this applies to the new guys, too!)

 

Dear New Girl,

I bet I know what you’re thinking.  Either:  1.)  This is a bad dream and I’m going to wake up from it any minute now or  2.)  There’s been some mistake and I’ve somehow been transferred to an alternate universe and I’m living someone else’s life, or 3.)  This is my new reality and my life is officially over.  Am I close?  If so, I have some good news for you…none of those are true.  At least not fully.  And if one of them is partially true, I’ve got more good news… you’re not alone.  If you can’t see one other smiling face in your view right now, you’ve got me.  And I’m writing to you because I thought you should know you’re not the only one.

The thing is, this isn’t my first time being the new girl.  I’ve been in these shoes a few times before.  And the advantage to that is that I’ve learned a few things about this role that I want to share with you in case this is your first time. Whether you’re starting a new school or starting a new chapter of life, I get that it can be terrifying.  The challenges are real and so is the sweat on your palms, but here is the main thing to remember when the doubts try to make you forget: God is with you right where you are.  He knows your name, even if no one else even bothers to ask it.  He has a very specific purpose for you even if you feel like it’s all a mistake.  He can see the big picture even when we feel like there’s nothing left for us.

I would love to tell you that I’ve found the secret to getting everyone to like you.  I wish I could promise that if you just do this “one thing” that no one would leave you out, that everyone would want to be your friend and invite you to sit by them at lunch or go have coffee after work.  I wish I could say that they would welcome you with open arms instead of wondering what you’re doing there or ignoring you altogether.  But even though I can’t promise any of those things, I can offer you a beautiful truth that I hope you will grab onto and hold close to your heart.  And that is that God, Who spoke the world into existence and created every intricate life form down to the tiniest creature, has placed you where you are for a very special purpose.  The place that you have now found yourself has been waiting and needing for God to send them you.

 

 

And as you look around at the strange faces, longing for the familiar faces you used to know, remind yourself that these people need you.  Even they may not realize it, but God knew.  And He cares so much about you that He made you a part of His big picture.  But in order to be able to see what that big picture is, we have to look around instead of focusing on ourselves.  Instead of walking into a room and letting the spirit of fear and self-pity whisper in your ear that no one cares about you, remind yourself that Jesus does.  And He cares about those who will be kind to you and He cares about those who won’t be.  Don’t forget we love Him because He first loved us.

 

And not only does that place you’ve been planted have an emptiness that only you can fill, there’s something there that you need as well.  That’s the beauty of a God that is sovereign–He orchestrates everything to work together for all those involved in one amazing plan that’s best for us all.  Have confidence in that and put your trust in Him to do what’s best for you.

So, let’s make a deal with each other that we’ll remember these things.  I’ll be brave if you will.  New chapters are hard, but also very exciting.  I’ve watched God use me for things I never thought I could do before.  And since He can do the impossible, what might He do with us now?!  So let’s smile even when they don’t smile back.  Let’s try again when it’s been a bad day.  Let’s cry it out if we need to, but be there as a shoulder to cry on.  Let’s be the one who speaks to the other new girl.  Let’s throw kindness around like confetti.  And most of all– let’s be the light where He has placed us to shine.  We’re not alone.  God has a big plan in motion, and He’s given us a key role.