mary kate plus eight (or was it thirteen?)

I don’t know that I have the words for what transpired Friday night to Saturday morning. I’m still processing the beauty of it all. I know we’ll be seeing fruit for weeks, months, years to come. All because of one gal’s huge heart for God and people.

Mary Kate is our pastor’s assistant at church and one of my good friends. She’s sweet and beautiful and funny and huggy, and I just love her to death.

On Friday night, she had a slumber party. (By the way, MK is 27 and married.) Her wonderful, darling friend (and mine), Jen (25), acted as her partner-in-crime/co-host. Three high school girls from our church (Julia, Kate, Kelly) came along to help.

The other nine guests? 7-10 year-old girls. Allison, Ava, Carson, Chloe, Elisabeth, Kynley, Livi, Makenna, and Shantel.

The e-vite MK sent out said to bring your favorite stuffed animal, pillow and blanket, your Bible, a movie, girly stuff (make-up, hair things), and a picture of yourself. Livi and Ava were talking about it for weeks, and praise the Lord that they were feeling better a week before the party.

We dropped them off at 7pm, and at 8pm, I got a text from MK saying that the girls were having a blast and that they absolutely loved the high school girls.

They had pizza, made a craft, learned a song, talked about the Bible, watched A Little Princess, giggled and giggled and giggled, and who knows what else.

When we picked them up at 10am, they were beside themselves with excitement. They dragged me into the living room where all 13 girls (ages 7-27) performed an adorable song (with motions) about the Fruit of the Spirit.

Then my girls hugged the high school girls good-bye and MK and Jen and all their friends, and they just couldn’t stop grinning. As we were leaving, I heard one of the high-schoolers say to another, “And we’ll get to see them at church tomorrow! And we’ll get to say hi to them!” And sure enough, Ava ran across the foyer today to one of the girls, who lifted her up in her arms and swung her around. Livi was a little more hesitant, but I could tell she wanted to hug her too, so I nudged her over and she came back grinning all shy-like.

I can’t tell you what this means to me to have such amazing, godly female role models for my daughters. I could just bawl over it. It’s one thing to have your mom love you and love Jesus, but to have COOL people like MK and Jen loving you and loving Jesus? Wow. And HIGH-SCHOOLERS?? Do you know how UNBELIEVABLY COOL high-schoolers are when you’re 7 and 9? Don’t get me started.

And Kelly, Kate and Julia were thrilled to be able to play the role of role model. What a privilege. What an honor. What a responsibility. Think of how this changes your decision-making process when you realize that you have 9 young girls looking up to you, watching your every move?

I’m just flabbergasted. Still. Thank you, God, for this precious gift you gave me (us) this weekend.

Mary Kate, Jen, Kate, Kelly, Julia–thank you from the bottom of my heart! May God bless you for your unbelievable kindness! Love you all!

22 thoughts on “mary kate plus eight (or was it thirteen?)

  1. Stacy

    Hi Marla,
    A friend send me the link to this post, and I am so glad she did. I am a children’s grief therapist, and am very much invested in kiddos. I am so very encouraged tonight to hear this story, and it made me happy cry. YAY for your community! 🙂

  2. Tiffani

    Goodness. This sounds just fabulous!!!!! What a precious group of girls! I know that it thrilled your Mama heart and your girls will certainly not forget the memories made there!

  3. Stephanie your sister

    This made me cry. I hope my little Mia gets the chance to have awesome role models like that. I can only imagine how excited Livi and Ava were!

  4. deanna

    We do a big slumber party once a year for the GA’s (1st-6th grade girls) at our church and they always look forward to it. It’s usually talked about all year long! I’m excited for you & your girls. I know this was an awesome experience for them!

  5. mary kate

    marla…you give us WAY too much credit. i’m learning more and more about Titus 2 this last year. and i’ve been so blessed to be poured into by so many incredible women – LIKE YOU!! its a true joy to spend time with your wee ones. maybe one day they’ll spend time with my little girls! love to all the Tavianos. 🙂

  6. Jen

    Thanks so much for this post, Marla! We had such an amazing time with the girls, and were so inspired by their sweet, blind faith in our Lord and Savior. I was humbled and moved by them, and I had an absolute blast! Your girls are so precious! What a privilege to spend time with them and to get to know such special people better.

  7. Chris Yoder

    Wow! Got goosebumps just reading about it!:) What a blessing! The verse I used in my prayer time today was I Cor. 11:1 – “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” 🙂 What a goal to strive for!

  8. amber

    How preciously amazing! How I long for fantastically COOL role models for my little men. They adore their daddy, but there is just something about those way cool teenagery and collegy fellas that make my little guys beam.

    I’m so happy for your angels and their hearts.

  9. whimzie

    How unselfish and wise of this young lady to do this for these girls.

    My junior year of high school I was discipled by a recent college graduate. She’d take me to lunch or swimming and the we’d study the Bible and sometimes a book together. She invested in me and I’m still getting the rewards from that time.

    So glad your girls have those “big girls” to admire.

  10. Ali

    I don’t even have a daughter anywhere near that age group and even I am so stinkin’ thankful for what MK and the gang did. God is so amazing. So amazing.

  11. janelle taviano

    That is awesome….just happy for each moment they had that nite…and how they saw JESUS, praying God blesses all of them this week ! Another layer of parenting that God is there ! amazing !

  12. Gail

    This is the greatest thing. I’m forwarding it to our youth leader. We have several girls in the youth group who are mature enough to make this sort of rockin’ ministry stretch to other little girls who don’t go to your church. I’m so happy for Livi and Ava to have had such a great time and build some important relationships.

  13. Meghan

    That is simply an awesome ideas. I pray my kiddos can have a similar experience, if not, similar role models to look up to. Thanks for planting a seed.

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