Most people need a go-to move on the dance floor, that safety move in your wheelhouse that will be acceptable no matter what song is playing. My dad’s go-to moves are the Q-tip and the “makin-the-pizza.” JR’s go-to move involves moving his hips and making this really cute face that he only makes while proudly showing off his hip swing. My go-to move normally involves a lot of shoulder moving, it’s hard to describe, but when you see it you know it.
I have a go-to move when it comes to ministry with girls – the school night sleepover. It’s hard to get girls to clear their schedule on a weekend for time with their bible study leader, but on a Wednesday night, when they have no other offers? Perfection. I’ve learned that I have a divine ability for getting parental approval for these week night parties too.
These nights have been the sweetest times the last 7 years. It all started with Margaret when I was a senior at UT and she was a senior at McCallum high school. We spent nights sleeping on my roof (a little risky) and dreaming about what her life at UT would be like. When we added Sara to the mix, we went to UT campus and swam in the LBJ fountain. Our times together were full of big dreams and big fun.
When I moved to Sugar Land in Telicia’s house, the tradition continued with Lexi, Sarah, and Caitlin. We dreamed together about what God could do in their lives and at their school. We invited boys in the morning, ate pancakes, and spent time praying for the grades behind them at Clements. These girls were faithful to pray and God answered their prayers by transforming the class of 2011 behind them.
The next year the sleepovers grew in size, sometimes up to 30 girls. We packed them in every bedroom and couch of Telicia’s house, rolling up to 3 deep in queen beds. Avery, Kelsey, and Rachel staked claim to the cloud room. Carli, Laura, and Kenzie often stayed close to my side. We spent hours sitting on couches sharing our lives – these girls really shared. They let me into their lives in this deep way and they let God in too. We had a lot of fun too – we convinced Molly to slide down the laundry chute, baked often and made videos for club. We tasted community and a lot of these girls grew like weeds in their relationship with Christ.
In 2012-2013, we kept staying up late and talking. I feel like I stole secret hours that most people don’t have with Taylor, Cathryn, Jacqui, Ashten, and Taylor. God put people in a room together that never hung out anymore at school. We learned about each other and lightened in our judgment of others. In the mornings, we ate chocolate chip pancakes and I sent them out the door with hugs and blessings.
My last senior class at Clements rode through transition with me. Our last sleepovers at Telicia’s included being pranked by the boys while CC served as “the mole.” Our group was a combination of soccer girls and our physics tutorial group from their junior year. After club one night in the spring, I sat for an hour with Ansley and Gabby in the parking lot as we talked about transition and how I already felt far away. We called an audible – they called parents and hopped in my car. We drove to House of Pies and they spent the night with me in Houston. That night, the school night sleepover met a need – a longing to feel connected and cared for, not left behind.
And now the tradition continues, in Dallas, with girls attending SMU, in my home that is normally full of high school boys. We shared life stories and these girls began to really know each other. We stayed up way too late and I woke up way too early to be at my “normal” job. But these sleepovers are worth it because they’re quality time, they’re life on life, they’re adventurous and they’re just plain fun.
To my girls through the ages, I hope you keep having adventures and loving Jesus. I hope you find deep community wherever you are and that you are never afraid to let others in. You are loved even if we are far apart now. Thank you for sharing your lives with me.
Every day is worth celebrating so why not throw a sleepover party on a Wednesday? What’s your go-to move?