Monday, October 18, 2010

It is Well. So Very Well.

Every Wednesday night at 7, I grab my Bible and my 7th grader and head over to church for a couple of hours. I hang out in a too-small room with about 85 sweaty, smelly junior high kids.

We play games.

We talk about the Bible.

We pray.

And we sing. Always there is singing.

I have the privilege of hanging out with a small group of girls each week. Maggie is one of them. A few of the girls who were in a Bible study at my house last year are in the group as well, along with a handful of girls I knew-but-didn’t-really-know-before.

It’s great to be with these girls each week.

Two girls in our group are very special to me, to all of us. K and A are middle school girls with special needs. At a time when everyone is trying to be the same, these girls are different, and we love them—they add so much to our group.

You know what I love best about them? They are still uninhibited. Every other junior high girl in that room is self-conscious. You can see it the minute you walk in the room--their arms crossed in front of them as their eyes scan quickly to see who’s talking to whom and who’s wearing what.

But not K and A. They are best friends, and the minute they see one another they run into each other’s arms, greeting each other with a huge hug. And then they start to communicate in their own unique way.

K talks . . . . and talks . . . . and talks.

A likes to dance. So when she sees her friend she jumps up and down and claps her hands wildly.

See? Uninhibited. I love it.

Last week in the junior high group we did all the things we usually do. We played a raucous game of Shuffle Your Buns—in the dark with flashing disco lights. We talked about the Bible. We shared prayer requests.

And we sang one of my favorite hymns: “It Is Well With My Soul.” Can you believe it? Eighty-five self-conscious junior high kids singing that wonderful old hymn together.

That’s amazing in itself.

K and A were sitting just behind me, and I could just see them out of the corner of my eye. During this song something caught my attention, so I turned around to see what was going on.

There was A, dancing to “It Is Well,” clapping her hands and jumping up and down like she was in a mosh pit. And why not, really? The song is totally mosh pit worthy.

K, likewise, was doing the thing she loves—singing at the top of her lungs. Belting it out because she knows every word.

Imagine . . . a room full of self-conscious teenagers, worried to death about being found out as someone who might actually like singing or playing games or (*gasp!*) church.

And here are these two girls who just. don’t. care. About what anyone thinks.

They only want to sing and dance because they love Jesus. And they don’t care who knows it.

When peace like a river attendeth my way.
When sorrows like sea billows roll.
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul.

It is well, with my soul.
It is well. It is well.
With my soul.



  1. Wow. . . didn't think I'd cry this early in the morning. What a beautiful image of what real, uninhibited worship is.

    Have a great day!

  2. I love this story - and that hymn. It always makes me cry. Then again, it's a rare time of worship when I DON'T cry. :)

  3. Blessings on you and your sweet small group. I prefer college age girls or young ministry wives for my small groups. No sweaty junior highers for me . . . so double blessings on you, Shelly.


  4. Love this story. I could use a good dose of that abandonment myself.

  5. BB, I'm so glad that line did not go unnoticed. Thank you! :)

  6. This post is a submission. A stellar, touching story. Catching up on your blog tonight is better than a bowl of ice cream.: )