My passion for working with students comes from the things that happened to me between middle school and high school and all the wonderful women that came into my life to love on me. One of the biggest things I try to teach my girls now is to love themselves.
When my sixth graders come to me with body image issues it breaks my heart but I totally get it. I was teased about everything from my hair, to my unique sense of style, to the size of my feet (by a teacher nonetheless). Some of those scars still hurt today; I can't tell you how much I hate shoe shopping. But other things I've owned and I get the most compliments on them today.
When my high school girls (and even some that are now in college) call me with boy problems I am so thankful for all the crappy guys I've dated. Because there is absolutely nothing they can tell me that I haven't been through or seen first-hand via one of my besties. I've dated guys were verbally abusive and attacked my intelligence or spirituality. I've dated guys that were physically abusive. But I've also dated some of the most wonderfully caring men on this planet. So it's easy for me to say "girl walk away there is better coming" and know it to be true. But it's just as easy to understand how hard it is for them.
I've lost count of the number of times I've gone crying to my dad or my friends because some girl was mean or some guy broke my heart (seriously, it became embarrassing at points). There were so many times when I felt alone and thought "God why is this happening?" or "Where are You?" but every single one of those instances has come back as something I've been able to use in ministry. God's providence never stops blowing my mind. Ephesians 2:10 says "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." and it's so true.
He handpicks the people in our sphere of influence. Each day we are given the opportunity to build others up in areas where we have been previously torn down. It doesn't always have to be a deep heart to heart. Sometimes it's as simple as holding an elevator door. Use the bad things in your life as fuel, not for a fire of bitterness but, for a fire of change. (Now is the time I should insert a cheesy quote about pressure and diamonds but you get it, right?)