In one of the stalls in one of the women’s bathrooms at school, there is a “wishing wall.” On it young women write their wishes. Every so often the facilities crew paints over it. As soon as the paint is dry someone writes “wishing wall” on it again and more young women start writing their wishes. I understand that facilities has to paint over the wishes – and I’m not saying that I support vandalism – but I think this wall is important. Important and heart-breaking.
The topics of the wishes run the gamut: “I wish I wasn’t so fat” to “I wish I knew who my real mom was” to “I wish someone could love me” to “I wish I wasn’t depressed all the time” to “I wish my boyfriend lived closer” to “I wish he’d stop cheating on me” to “I wish I wasn’t pregnant.
What this provides me with is a snapshot of what these young women are searching for – what these women, in comfortable anonymity, would identify as the major wishes in their lives. So, vandalism aside, I think it’s important that someone, anyone, know how badly some of these girls are hurting. I know. And now you know, too.
This isn’t a problem specific to my school. These problems are on all college campuses; in all high schools; and more and more frequently, in all middle schools. But the fact that many of these wishes are common doesn’t diminish their enormity in the lives of these young women. Just because scores of young women before you have felt unloved doesn’t make the fact that you, right now, feel unloved any less painful.
I’ve put some pictures below so you can see some specific requests. (Yes, I was in the bathroom stall taking pictures! As you’ll quickly see, I am not a photographer. There are some amazing photographers in my family – as you’ll see from photos I post in the future. But for this venture, it was just me in a cramped bathroom stall with a quickly failing battery, so these photos will have to do.)
As you’ll see in the photos, inevitably, some well-meaning young woman will put something about seeking God, about Jesus loving them on the wall. I think that’s good, and I think that’s probably comforting to some of these girls. However, what happens is someone objects (usually harshly) to Christianity. Then someone defends it. Then someone else objects. Etc. But what this allows me to see is that there are Christian young women on this campus who need our prayers. Some of them are clearly trying to figure out how to share God’s love with others. We can help support these young women by praying that God would give them courage and wisdom as they seek to share their faith.
Whenever I read this wall, I want to round these young women up and give all of them hugs, tell them everything will be alright. I can’t do that, but I can do one better. Instead of physical hugs, we can give them spiritual hugs. (Okay, that’s a little corny for me, but I think it’s an accurate description of what we can do.
So, today, I’d ask you to pray for these girls – the girls of anonymous wishes and the Christian girls trying to provide comfort and healing. For many of these young women, our prayers might be the only prayers they get. And while they’ll probably never know we prayed for them, that doesn’t mean our prayers will be ineffective: “if My people who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear them from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place” (2 Chronicles 7:14-15).
One thing I pray for these girls is peace, specifically “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” talked about in Philippians 4:7. When they feel that in their lives, they won’t know I prayed for it, but they’ll know they feel it.
I also pray that God would draw them to Himself. The only lasting peace will be found in Him, and I pray that they find that. Again, they won’t know I prayed this, and I probably won’t ever know if they become Christians, but that’s okay. These anonymous girls need someone to pray for them, and I’m willing to be that person.
If you’re also willing to pray for them, please join me. A simple comment like “praying” in the comment section below will let me know that you’re praying for them – and would be much appreciated. More appreciated, of course, are the prayers, even if I never know you prayed them. Also, if you’ve seen similar struggles in your school, work, community, church, etc., let me know, and I’ll be happy to pray for those concerns as well.
Thank you, honestly, for offering up these prayers. Even if we never see the fruit from them, we can rest assured that none of them go unheard: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His Will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14).