[I am reposting this article which I wrote some time ago, but I felt to re-release it for those who have never seen it. I would appreciate some feedback, especially from parents of homeschooled girls]
She lives in a small town in Tennessee, or in a subdivision in North Carolina, or on a ranch in Montana.
She may be 15 or she may be a college graduate. Either way, odds are not many boys have ever paid much attention to her. She may wonder if she will ever get married. She is lonely.
What’s her problem? The answer is (not so) simple: She is different.
She doesn’t particularly like being different. She may tell you she doesn’t care; but she does.
Behind her back, her peers say she is a snob. Her mom says the other girls are jealous. That doesn’t help much. So she tries to be friendly and kind but that doesn’t help much, either. She may be shunned by other girls and ignored by boys.
She is different and who wants to be different? Nobody likes others who are different and nobody likes being different, either.
I have met many homeschooled girls like her as I have traveled and spoken at conferences around the world. Each girl thinks she is the only one with these feelings. But, there are many, many just like her. If they ever found one another, there would be a huge group hug. And, yes, probably lots of tears.
If they ever found one another, they would talk. Not about what girls normally talk about because they don’t care about the same things other girls care about. Their talk wouldn’t center around boys or movies or how stupid some other girl is (or their parents are). They would talk about their families and about what interests them and about God. They would pray together and for one another.
The girl from Tennessee who is 15: one of her “problems” is that she is more like 15 going on 21. The girl who has graduated from college without meeting her future husband: she has been told many times to have faith. Mister Right will surely show himself soon. She struggles to believe it and to trust God for her future family.
These girls are different. Not because of how they dress or how much makeup they do (or don’t) wear. It has little to do with externals. But it has everything to do with their Father and what He has done inside them, what He has made important to them. They are just different, whether they like being different or not. Everyone can tell.
Why do I keep using this word different? It is because of what the word implies. In the Bible, the word holy means to be separate, and the kind of “separate” about which the Bible speaks makes a person different. This separation is not so much a separation from something as it is a separation unto some One. Simply put: being separate unto the Lord causes one to be different.
So, being different is the obvious expression of the word holy (hagios). These kids are different in that the Lord has placed within them something which makes them holy [separate] unto Him. It’s not so much that they are trying to be something they are not. Rather, because this is something God has done in them, it is something they are!
God has separated them from the kind of things normal young people find important. The 15 year old seems to have skipped teenager-ism (what our culture labels those years young people separate themselves from their families and the values in which their families believe). She may struggle with what God has done. It certainly often makes a girl lonely. But she is different and it is the work of God, Himself.
It is not always easy to encourage these girls. Loneliness is no fun. Telling a girl to “have faith” can sound pretty shallow, even if she knows it’s the truth.
This is a holy generation. It is a generation set apart unto Him. It is a generation of young people the world has not seen in so long it doesn’t remember what holiness looks like; acts like. The purposes of God rest on our children being willing to walk “in the world” but, at the same time, separated from it. The world waits for a people to show them that a relationship with God isn’t a religious put-on, but is worth giving one’s life to.
Our girls have been created by God to show everyone what the Bride of Christ looks like, sounds like, acts like, believes like. This is an honorable occupation. We need to deeply respect our girls for what they have been called to be and do (as well as not be and not do). They need to be encouraged to understand who they are to a world (and, yes, even to a Church) who desperately needs to see the kind of Lady Jesus is returning for.