By Marian Choueifati

The internet is a sea of information, some credible and others misleading. Parents find themselves hiding from taboo topics, in a way to shield their daughters from an overload of information. On the other hand, churches are not equipped with guidance material to help them address these sensitive topics. They fear how they might be perceived, thinking that the presence of young girls in church settings is enough to protect them from harm. However, they seem to be forgetting that we live in a time where teenagers have a strong online presence, making it easy for them to seek information and validation from the wrong places. For that reason, the Dar Manhal al Hayat (DMAH) team saw an increasing need to address pivotal topics such as self-worth, self-esteem, identity, sexuality, and young girls’ relationship with God. The “Joy in the Journey” event that took place on the 3rd of December 2022 was an eye-opening experience for the 107 young girls who attended, aged 13-18. Our team quickly realized that young ladies are in urgent need of therapeutic spaces that help them become aware of their worth in God’s eyes and experience how having a devoted daily relationship with Him is essential for their wellbeing.

The girls were thrilled to receive gift bags that contained the Joy in the Journey book set, an accompanying bookmark to assist their daily reading, a notebook, and decorative stickers with motivational affirmations. For each day of the year, the Joy in the Journey set of 4 books provides a 2-page devotional which encourages readers to embark on a joyous journey with God. One 13-year-old girl expressed: “I can’t wait for 2023 to start. It is my New Year’s resolution to finish all four books by the end of next year”.

“I was feeling run-down after a long week, and I was feeling discouraged, so it was nice to have a lot of words of affirmation and talk about encouraging one another. What touched me the most was the first speaker who taught us the difference between self-worth and self- esteem. I never knew the difference between the two, so it was really cool.”

 — Another 16-year-old attendee.