At High School Club a few weeks ago, one of the 9th grade girls, Andrea, pulled me aside and asked to talk with me. She talked a little bit about boys (of course) , her parents, and friends. We set up a coffee date for the next week so we could talk more. While we were out enjoying a beautiful Fall day with our coffee, she told me with tears in her eyes how  she has been overwhelmingly lonely this year, and just doesn’t know what to do. Andrea was in our Jr. High group last year and had many friends who shared her love of theater,  musicals, and reading. All of those friends moved over the summer. Even though Andrea and her family have set down some roots here in the last year, all of the sudden she feels  like a new kid again, even though she hasn’t gone anywhere. Such is the life of a military kid. Every year, either you are moving or people you have come to love are moving. Either way, every year holds many goodbyes. On the other side of those goodbyes is a long stretch of transition time, awkwardness, and loneliness. It seems to be a hopeless,  cruel cycle. There is a solution, however, for this situation — you must choose to intentionally seek out new friends and opportunities be a friend. I have been incredibly  encouraged to watch as Andrea has faced this challenge head-on and has sought out new friendships and new ways to serve the people around her. Every week, she is bringing  new friends to Club with her and continues to be a beautiful display of Christ’s love to the people she is around at school and Club. Even after all of the pain of goodbyes,  uncertainty, and loneliness, these students have the capability of having the biggest hearts I have ever seen. It is a profound thing to see God taking hurt and pain in the lives of  these dear ones and making it into something beautiful as they learn to love time and time again. They are so courageous, friends. I am honored to be among these courageous youth.

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