I’m writing a book for the quiet girl who sits in the back, the loud girl who thinks she should be different, the leader who is afraid they’ll find out, and the girl who couldn’t do it as well as her sister. It’s for the daughter who just wants to please them, for the student who wants to do it right, for the friend who is always the sidekick, plain.

I’m writing a book for the good test-takers and the strict rule-makers. It’s for the athlete succeeding and competing, for the star. For the dancer and the painter and the daydream-maker, for the worried and the hurried and the sweet, smile-fakers. For the prom queen who cries in the bathroom, the artist ignoring the canvas, and the poet who never speaks up. For the girl who feels both too much and not enough.

For the rule-followers, the fear-wallowers, the messy and the misunderstood. It’s for the self-critic, the silent judge, and for those who feel invisible. I’m writing a book for them, for my high school aged friends, for the leaders, the gonna-be women, the someday mamas, the soon-to-be world-changers, and the today idea-makers — I’m writing a book and the writing is in full swing.

I look at the photos I took with my small group, these beautiful sixteen-year-old girls full of life and promise. I watch as they interact, question with their eyes, laugh ’til they cry. I think about the girls their age in the Philippines because I can’t help it. I struggle with words and concepts, I fight with myself over voice and perspective, I cry. And even though my first book hasn’t even released yet, my second book is nearly finished and this one is so important. Not because of what I have to say, but because of who it’s for.

These girls, their hearts, their minds, their future passes through our hands for such a short time. We do not have the final say in how their lives will go, the choices they will make, the direction they will take. But we do have a say, a small one. And we can pray for them on our knees and with full hearts because we must. And we can fight for their future with our invisible weapons of love and faith and arms full of grace. They are living in the midst of their past right now, the one they will always look back on and point to. 

And so we, who have walked together into the muddy, disease infested waters of poverty and have delighted in the beauty of the everyday moments, we pray for our high school friends: for a hope-filled future, for a present dipped in grace, and for a past that will encourage and spur on, never haunt or hold back. Today, they are writing their regrets as well as their victories. May their stories to be written well and with great courage.

Did you have a girl in mind as you read this today? Share her with us, and tell us how we may pray for her.

And for you who are grown but still feels like all of this? Grace for the Good Girl is only $8.94 right now and is available for pre-order. And I will meet you there in its pages, because me too. See, there’s a book for everyone. (Amazon or Barnes & Noble).