Beloved, a Small Group Bible Study for Teenage Girls The first time I met Hannah was outside of the Rockdale County Young Life Club House. I was overwhelmed by all the new faces, and I think that she could sense that. She stood by my side, asking me questions about my life, as we both watched a large swarm of High Schoolers playing Ultimate Frisbee on the field in front of us. She was sweaty and out of breath, having just stepped away from the game to introduce herself to me. She had a giant smile that highlighted her cherry colored lips and adorable, heaven-kissed dimples. Before her mouth turned its corners up, her eyes did the smiling, as if instructing every other part of her face to follow after them. It was impossible to simply be a witness to this action. I had to follow suit and smile, with my whole being, right back.
In the weeks and months that followed, Hannah continued to probe me for answers about every aspect of life that a person of my age could possibly cover. Every question that she asked came with intense curiosity. She was genuinely interested in my boring, stay-at-home mom routine, and I found that to be intriguing for a fifteen-year-old girl. She had insecurities, just like every high schooler possesses, yet I still didn’t understand why. She was athletic, goofy, intelligent, shameless, and stunningly beautiful. She was everything that I wished I had been at her age and more.
Weeks turned to months, and months into years as our friendship blossomed far beyond a mentor-mentee relationship. My past matched her present struggles, and I walked beside her as she learned from both. We were connected through shared experiences and held together by a solid foundation, rooted in Christ. She needed my guidance and advice, and I needed her energy and passion for living and loving without hesitation.
I loved Hannah with the same depth as every other teenage girl that I have mentored. However, I feel as though that affection is measured on a separate scale. It’s possible that I feel her love on an eternal measure, now that Hannah is no longer bound by Earth’s measure of time. I remember each and every single hug we shared (boy, could she hug as tightly as humanly possible), each time she cried, each piece of advice that she didn’t take, and each late-night chat where I had to kick her out so her parents wouldn’t worry about her. It’s almost as if the Lord planned my thoughts to engage in her and retain each conversation just the slightest bit more so that I could write this book in her honor.
Hannah’s stories aren’t unique. They’re actually pretty common occurrences for your average high school aged girl, which is why ministry with her is the perfect outline for ministry with other thirteen-to-eighteen-year-old girls. Her life and the way she lived it encompassed both inspiration and motivation. After our first year of doing life together, I knew, without a doubt, that one day Hannah would grow up to touch the lives of thousands of other teenage girls. I knew that she was something special. God had His mark on her, and it was apparent through that life-sized smile she always wore.
This world swept our Hannah away far sooner than her family, friends, and I could ever have been at peace with. Thanks be to God, though, her memory will live on through these pages. The legacy that she was destined to leave will stretch farther than her twenty-three years on this earth. It will reach the hearts and homes of young ladies across the nation and throughout the world for years still to come. Because of Hannah, these girls will learn to search their souls for their own understanding of what it means to be loved by Jesus. Because of you, sweet and goofy Hannah, they will all embrace their true name, which is “Beloved.”
Preface Excerpt from:
Beloved, a Small Group Bible Study for Teenage Girls,
by Cathi Chandler