Hey there, student.
First of all, I'm sorry about that word . . . "student". You are more than just this stage of life or one aspect of it. You are a person. A whole, growing human being with talents, beauty, thoughts, ideas, and more emotions than you know what to do with. So "student" doesn't really do justice to who you are. But neither does "teen" or "youth" and definitely not "kid."
Tell you what. Put your own name in there.
Hey there (insert your name here).
That works well because as I write this I am thinking of you and your name. Each of you. All of you. Your names are here in my mind.
Some of you, I've just met briefly. Others of you, I've had the chance to get to know you over several weeks, months, or even years. Sometimes I see you while I'm driving around town. I may wave to you if I know you well. Sometimes I don't because I don't want you to be creeped out by an old guy waving to you. But if I don't, that is the reason. It is not because I don't want to acknowledge you and my gladness to see you. Others of you I see your posts on Instagram and usually I don't "like" them. Again . . . I don't want you to be creeped out by an old guy liking your posts. But I am so glad when I see you laughing and smiling and being healthy. My heart breaks for you when I see your sadness, pain, and cries for attention.
I guess what I want you to know is that you are loved. Not in a creepy way. (Have I emphasized not wanting to creep you out enough times?!?) I love you in a way that gets amazing joy when I see you thriving and being healthy. I love you in a way that gets so excited when I see you discover something new and grow. I love you in a way that cries (genuinely) when I see you dealing with broken relationships or making decisions that aren't healthy in the long run.
It may seem strange to you that a person who isn't related to you and has not typical vested interest in your future has this kind of love for you, but I do. The only reason I have to explain it is that I am convinced that Jesus has this love for you and he has put it in me. My love for you is merely a shadow - a small glimpse - of his love for you. But it is real. And it is full.
I'm not asking anything from you. I'm not trying to sell you anything. But I want you to know that as you move through life - whether you are connected to Covenant Church/Youth or not. I will be thinking of you and praying for you. There is a piece of me that will always feel connected to you and your well-being even if I'm long forgotten from your mind. If you need to talk, call me or message me and we'll set up a time. If you've been away from church stuff for a while and want to return, but you aren't sure if you'll be welcome back . . . you absolutely, 100% yes will be welcomed back with more joy than you can imagine.
Why? Because here you have someone who loves you. I'm not always actively involved in youth programming at Covenant. That is simply because I have too many things on my plate to do it. I need to let others lead things, otherwise, I will burn out and have nothing left. And running youth programming is one of the things I need to let others lead. But letting go of working directly with you is one of the hardest things I need to do. It's hard because I love you and I miss being with you.
I heard a song the other day and when I heard it, I thought of you. The video is below, but here is the chorus that made me think of you:
Before you leave
You must know you are beloved
And before you leave
Remember I was with you
I hope today, and every tomorrow, is good for you. And I hope you know that you have someone cheering for you! And if I drive past you when you're walking through town and I wave to you . . . I'm not trying to be creepy. I just want you to know that you are seen and loved.