Middle School: The Devil’s Playground


A beautiful older teen girl recently referred to Middle School as “the devil’s playground”. And although her statement was meant for insight and truth, those very words instantly grew long claws with jagged edges and sharp spears that scraped the very flesh of my heart, leaving it raw and bloody.

It got me.

The Devil’s Playground.

And she went on to say that middle school is where you learn about EVERYTHING. Others nodded in agreement with that collective moan.

Oh God.

I just dropped my child off at the devil’s playground… where she will be pushed through corridors of cruelty and hallways of hate. She will trip down stairwells of sex and open lockers of lust. She will meet cutting in the cafeteria and bulimics in the bathroom. She will discover drugs at the drinking fountain and cynicism in the cliques. She will get lost in the crowds and sucked into the fire.

Who will break open her heart and  swarm her spirit and suffocate her breath?

Who will recklessly inform her that Santa Claus isn’t real. Who will harass her and laugh at her Tooth fairy’s note?

Someone will crush her.

Break her.

Steal her from me…

I just dropped my baby girl at the Devil’s Playground.

Middle School The Devil's Playground


How dare I assume that God isn’t the supervisor of the playground? Who am I to anticipate Satan’s victory over my daughter? Since when has the world’s weight been too much for her to bear? Where on this earth do I dare question the very Light that exudes power and strength and fortitude? Why oh why would I expect less of God and more of Satan?

I almost home schooled her. I panicked. I impulsively pulled her into my protection. “I can’t UN-break her” I claimed with a fierce growl of anger.

But then God whispered something that shook me to my core…

“Don’t short-change me. I need her in the land of the lost. I gave her to you, but ultimately she is mine. I do not give you permission to interrupt my plan. Her mission is mine, not yours. Her place is in my purpose.”


Perhaps I must have more faith- not in the ‘system’ or even sweet Cass. Faith in God, that He has great plans that have great purpose for her life. She is a missile of love and light and grace everywhere she goes. He needs more like her to do His Work.

Lord, I give you back your child.

I must trust You.

I just dropped my child off into the devil’s playground… where she will shine love through corridors of cruelty and hallways of hate. She will discover self-control down stairwells of sex and slam shut lockers of lust. She will offer counsel and compassion to the cutting in the cafeteria and the bulimics in the bathroom.  She will ignore all the drugs at the drinking fountain and carefully stay clear of the cliques. She will spread light in the crowds and fight fire with her mighty weapon of faith…

World, meet Cassidy.

Cassidy, meet world.

She’s all yours God.


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  1. Candice says

    Amen sister. So beautifully written and I believe every word of it! Cass is going to be just fine. She will shine a beautiful light and fulfill His purpose for her. He is stronger. He IS stronger than the darkness out there.

    The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe. 1 Thessalonians 2:4

  2. says

    The one thing God has shown me so clearly over the years is that my children belong to His care, not mine. Oh, He gave them to me to help rear and love and teach them about Him and how to serve Him, but their lives are in His hands. I pray that they will love Him with all their beings, that they will each trust Him for their salvation, and until then, I pray that He keeps them safe. I am no fool – I know the world is around no matter what I may do to protect. They will face brokeness, and they already have. I cannot sheild them from life. I CAN, however, pray for them and show them a God who can do so much more for them than I ever could and loves them more than I do because He gave His life for them. That thought alone brings peace, even in the midst of the Devil’s playground, which isn’t just middle school but anywhere there is no God, which is most places. May God grant your daughter the wisdom to live in His light and grace no matter what she may face. May God grant you peace as you leave her in His capable hands. <3

  3. says

    This too is my biggest fear as Emma now enters elementary school as a kindergartner. I know she is still young and it isn’t middle school, but sometimes I get so scared just thinking of her lost innocence as she does begin to grow up. I read this and could so relate, but I think you raised Cassidy to be a fine young girl so far and have faith in her to rise above and become a fine young woman now, too. And I have the same hopes for both my girls, too. Hugs and thanks you for sharing your hopes, fears and thoughts on raising your daughter with all of us today, Chris! xoxo!!

  4. says

    Oh. My. Word. This is amazing and encouraging. EXACTLY what I needed to hear as I drop my son off at the Devil’s Playground on September 2. Yes, who I am to doubt and question God’s wisdom, grace and plan?

    Thank you, Chris, for this encouragement.

  5. says

    My heart pounds at this too. but….. we gave them the roots, now we got to let them use their wings. And trust that they will always fly back to centre. Home. Him.

  6. says

    Amen! I think the hardest thing in the world is to trust God with our children’s fate. I find myself praying to God to give me the strength to stay out of His way so that my son can fulfill whatever purpose God has planned for him.

  7. says

    She is going to be fine and you will, too! God is in control of both of y’all and so much more. I know how you feel because I have middle school and high school boys (at a really large school) but we pray and keep all lines of communication open!!!

    • says

      Oh do I hope you are right Kim!! I’m so glad you have such great relationships with your boys. That is key. I pray mine continues to be strong with Cassidy!!

  8. says

    You have no idea the tears washing all of the night cream from my face right now. Oh, what a gorgeous post.

    I just sent my sweet Natalie to middle school. She’s already discovered three new bad words written in the bathroom.

    She’s in the 3rd grade, surrounded by “grown” kids who know so much more than her- so much “worldly” stuff. And I’ve struggled so with it.

    I’ve struggled with it the very way that you described.

    And then the Lord placed it upon your heart to write this post. For me. For all of my friends who just sent their 3rd graders into the devil’s playground. Because I’m sharing this with them all.

    And I’m bookmarking this to refer to it when the devil places fear into my heart and when she discovers another bad word in the bathroom.

    Because this post is comforting. And His comfort is always truth.

    You are such a blessing.

    • says

      Oh sweet sister how you bless me so with your precious words, and let us both raise our kids into His Mighty Arms of protection and guidance as we let go…

      3rd grade into middle school eh? Oh my word.

      I can’t thank you enough for sharing this piece of my heart- of so many hearts really. I pray God uses it to instil trust and unwavering faith in all us mamas.

      LOVE you.

  9. says

    I’m so proud of you for having courage that God will take care of your precious girl. I’ll be praying for both of you. I know this isn’t easy but you guys can do this. You got this!

    • says

      Time will tell if I got this, good Lord it’s terrifying to think of all that she will be exposed to this year!! But I must trust that God’s got this. That’s all I got!! 🙂

      And surely that needs to be enough.

  10. says

    Sending our children out into the world can be scary, but you’re right, it’s important to have a light in the dark. And even with the yuck, there’s still SO much good. 🙂

  11. says

    Trust in the Lord to protect our kids. That’s what I hold on to! And you will be there to guide her every step of the way. In good hands, Cassidy will do just fine and be awesome at it!

    • says

      Thanks so much for your comforting and encouraging words Jhanis!!! Trying to trust!! I realize I need to intentionally give Cass over every morning… and reclaim His Control over and over again…

  12. says

    Oh wow, this was so powerful. Our children ultimately are “loaned” to us – they are God’s and He will take care of them. Way to go Mama for seeing this and for hearing God’s prompting!

    Wishing you much prayers and love.

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop)!

    Wishing you a lovely day.

  13. says

    Oh Chris, I’m crying here. This: “Since when has the world’s weight been too much for her to bear?” That exactly. She can bear the world’s weight because of you. I’m far from the devil’s playground today, though really it’s waiting just around the corner, and I hope that I have your strength and wisdom when the day come for me to let my girl shine her love through those halls.

    • says

      Tricia, your words are such sweet encouragement to me! Thank you friend. You have time to prepare… growing pains come with each turn. Sigh. I have faith that your girl will shine her love through those halls… oh how I do. 🙂

  14. says

    The thought of middle school makes me cringe. But know that God is there for her- and that He will send others to watch out for her, too. xo

  15. says

    When my two oldest were babies, I didn’t want to send them overnight to my parents, MY PARENTS! because I was so riddled with fear that something evil would happen to them, and I couldn’t be there to protect them. One day, when I gave in and let them go, I was watching my dad put Porter in his carseat and as clear as a bell, an silent voice whispered to my heart, “I love them more than you do”. All fear left me that day, and I remember that moment when fear tries to creep in.

    That’s exactly what I hear God’s whispering to your heart, “I love Cassie more than you do”. You’re brave, momma! Keep your chin up. You’re both in good hands.

    And I love the pure Love, joy and excitement radiating from her face. So sweet.

  16. says

    Thank you so much for your thoughts. It is terrifying to let our kids grow up, but this is a lack of faith. Thank you for reminding us to look to God when we are fearful about what our kids will go through as they grow older. Your post is a huge encouragement. May God bless you.

  17. Tammy says

    TEARS! Ok, so maybe I shouldn’t have read this on Sophie’s FIRST day of 6th grade…
    But my sentiments are the same. I stood and watched her face as she watched several of the other 6th grade girls decorate their lockers all girly (and nicer than my first apartment I might add). She hadn’t even thought about doing that…until that moment, when I read on her face “Oh, I wish I had something to make my locker cool right now.” So, not wanting to spend an arm and a leg on locker shag rugs and chandeliers, we went home and printed out pics of fam and friends and made cool little magnets to hang them up with. It was so her and so perfect. But in that moment, watching the other girls decorate, my heart began to feel what I’m sure it will feel again as we navigate middle school…worry for her little naive heart.
    She is an absolute light. Her dad and I had a talk with her about the temptations that may come as she embarks on the middle school journey: gossip, negativity, deceit…
    We will continue to pray for and with her that she pushes away from these things and that, as she becomes less dependent on us, (mom and dad) she will become more dependent on God her Father. Oh, more tears!

  18. says

    Oh, believe me, I have thought all the thoughts that you wrote about! Thank you for reminding me that they are all in God’s care while they are away from me. I know that and pray for His protection for them. God bless!

    • says

      I’ll never give up, Brittany! I can’t. Mother’s can’t. I can only hope and pray God will take good care of her when she’s ‘out there’ in this world.

    • says

      Do you know I talked to my teen youth group about your daughter? (Anomalously of course!) I was talking to them about finding their faith and how God wants us to think through out choices and dive deeper into our doubts and questions! Going through the motions of our faith is nothing without our hearts. Too many kids/teens/adults just walk the walk without any intention and connection to the God who so desperately wants to know us. I told my kids that I would rather have a bunch of doubters and questions than thought-less robotic movement in the ministry.

      Even when the decisions and conclusions are detouring them from their faith. God will meet them where they are at, and provide His Truth and His Love that in the end… will win them over. And there is nothing more passionate for the Father, than a prodigal child.

      Hold on, mama. God’s got this!!

      • says

        I am trying to hold on and have faith that God will lead her down the right path. IT’s hard, though. I know it’s hard for her, too. You are right, though – if/when she settles into her faith it will be because she truly believes, not just robotic & thoughtless. I think it’s pretty cool that you talk to your youth groups about it – if her struggles can help others, then by all means!

  19. says

    This is so powerful! I love it. It’s so true that God needs the good mixed in with the bad, and I definitely believe that He will always triumph. It’s scary to let our kids be the ones that are examples of good and honesty. It’s hard for them too. I am dreading middle school. But, this post gave me hope and a great perspective. Great job! 🙂

    • says

      Thanks so much Meredith. It IS scary, but everyday I intend on handing it over to a God who loves my daughter even more than I do. It’s so hard to trust in Him, but I must.

  20. says

    This post just gave me chills and in a really great way. It’s sometimes so easy to jump to the worst conclusion but the reality is, He has it all. He’s protecting us all the time. xoxo

  21. says

    OMG I am terrified. I started crying as soon as she said it jokingly and then just projected it to my life, and my son, and the kids, and the mean kids, and the too-much of it all… but you’re right. Sigh. I need to breathe. It’s not just me in this life who has got my son. This is a beautiful post, Chris. As always.

    • says

      THAT is what we truly must rely on Kristi!! Thank GOD we don’t have to do it alone… the letting go is really just about letting God. If I didn’t have Him to fall back on, I’m not sure what I’d do to survive these turns in motherhood! What is more comforting that knowing our kids are in the hands of the Almighty?

    • says

      Thanks Stephanie so much for your precious comment… your time will come. But with every turn along the way, we become more equipped to handle the big leaps and let goes. I’m so grateful to have my faith in something bigger than me to see it through!

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