If you’ve talked to me this summer, you have heard me say that freshman year at Clemson was the best year of my life and that this summer has been a summer of opportunity.
God’s been doing a lot, so let’s start from the VERY beginning and then get to this summer and a few weeks ago….
In 7th-9th grade, I went to Newspring church and the youth group Fuse, where I fell in love with Jesus and was poured into by so many amazing leaders. I made lifelong friends that loved me in my crazy years and pointed me to Jesus amidst the wildness.
I had some incredible small group leaders – 4 of them in 3 years to be exact. While they were amazing, they became busy with school and life, so my group was left leading themselves the majority of the time. I swore that I would come back and be the best small group leader Fuse had ever seen.
Fast forward to living in NY, my friends began serving with wYLd life, and I wanted to join. I talked to my YL leader Bekah, but things just never worked themselves out.
During my senior year of high school, I applied to many scholarships. One of them had an essay question about what you were going to do in college to impact your community. I remembered my promise to be an amazing leader and wrote an essay about pouring into middle school girls who are going through the chaos of growing up. A few months later I was awarded the scholarship where they read aloud my promise to pour into teen girls.
Fast forward to the beginning of college, I was convicted of not living out what I had won a scholarship for, so I went online and filled out an interest form for Fuse. I brushed it off and assumed it would be a while before I heard back – WRONG. Almost immediately, I got a text saying that there was a first look meeting the following night and that I should attend. Not having anything on my schedule, I went, and the rest is history.
I got placed with 6th grade girls, and we IMMEDIATELY became friends, always goofing off and pouring into each other. Any anxieties I had about not knowing the answers to their questions were replaced with words from the Holy Spirit and peace that whatever was said would be used for his glory.
Wednesdays became one of my favorite nights of the week, and I would count down until I could be back praising the Lord with my sweet girls.
Approaching summer, God put an expectation in my heart for something big. He was going to do something this summer, but I wasn’t sure what it was.
Fast forward to April, my grandma calls me and asks if I want to lead music at Bible School AND one more thing – lead the youth group as well. As soon as she opened her mouth, my heart stopped and was filled with so much warmth. This was a big deal, and I knew this was something God had in store for me. Instantly, the topic of conversation was placed on my heart – what it really means to be a Christian. I was so humbled by this opportunity that had been presented to me (“because you serve in the youth group at your church” – Grambee).
A month later, I spent 5 weeks living with my second cousins’ family where I got to reflect on my year and prepare for a summer of serving the Lord. During my quiet times, the Lord was stirring in my heart, breaking chains of past sin and setting me up for a summer of loving others.
The morning of May 22, I was going about my normal quiet time, praying about Bible school, Salkehatchie, and Gauntlet, when I got the sense that I was supposed to work in youth ministry. My heart stopped, and I was kind of upset – I was scared. I had my life planned out – I was gonna graduate from Clemson and go to OT school. I wasn’t scared of youth ministry, – I love youth ministry – but the idea that my life goals (and the security of it) might be taken freaked me out.
I got down of my hands and knees (because that’s what I do when I really need to hear what the Lord is saying). I prayed that if this was what he wanted for me that he would make it abundantly clear and that things would align to make it happen.
The thoughts lingered in my head for the next few days, but I didn’t feel the Lord shouting it from the rooftops, so I thought maybe it wasn’t something that needed to happen now.
Fast forward to Bible school, the Lord MOVED. I got to share my testimony and get really vulnerable with about 15 students. It wasn’t perfect, but I trusted that the Lord used it in his ways, and I guess He did because I got SO much positive feedback. I was blown away by how the Lord had used my story. So humbling; so fun.
Fast forward to Salkehatchie, I got to share my story and talk about saying “yes” to whatever the Holy Spirit stirs in your heart (foreshadow haha). People again affirmed what I said and encouraged my faith and speaking-ability. So humbling; so fulfilling.
Fast forward to Gauntlet. WOW! SO many amazing things happened! My sweet cousin/ sister Emarie met Jesus after she was questioning her worth and God spoke value over her life. I got to witness her stand up to God’s calling and cry over the joy and affirmation He put in her heart. My room got to get on our hands and knees, share the burdens in our lives, and pray over each other. PLUS I got to baptize two of my girls!!! WOWOWOOW what an honor!!! So humbling, so fun, so crazy, so much more…
Not only did God show up in my girls’ lives during Gauntlet, but He spoke directly to me.
During my last Gauntlet (in 2017), I confessed my biggest, darkest, and most secretive sin to an entire bus full of girls. I experienced true freedom and healing and have since been free from the chains of shame.
This Gauntlet, I was expectant about how the Lord was going to use me to pour into my room, especially Emarie. My job and week felt complete after Emarie stood up – mission accomplished. Well, sort of.
Wednesday night at Gauntlet is considered the night of big things – salvation, rededication, confession, freedom, and… the call into ministry. Wednesday morning, I hadn’t thought about that last bit, only that the Spirit was going to move and there would be a lot of worship.
During community groups (aka leader break time), I was talking to another Clemson Fuse leader (Mimi! Love her!). She was encouraging me, telling me how good I was with my girls and that she could see how much they meant to me. Her words meant a lot to me… even more than I realized at the time.
Walking back to the hotel for free time, the Lord reminded me of how much fun I had this summer serving him through various facets. I was a little sad my summer was coming to an end, but then He whispered to me, “Your whole life could be like this.” My heart leapt and I was filled with so much joy, but I brushed it aside.
Walking to session Wednesday night, I heard someone mention it was the night people got called into ministry. My heart stopped, and I was super anxious. I knew God was gonna do it…
The whole time, my mind was fighting the Spirit. I was afraid – I didn’t know how I was supposed to proceed, I didn’t want to walk up front in front of everyone, I didn’t wanna be “one of those people.” I knew I was supposed to, but I DID NOT want to.
Well, God knew what I was feeling, so he gave Jabin Chavez (the speaker) the exact words I needed to hear to confirm that this was what he wanted of me. Jabin preached about not being afraid of man and the future. Some things he said were,
“Don’t live a safe life,
You are called to change the world,
Fear is an inward cancer of the soul that eats away your calling,
People’s opinions are none of your business,
Do not let the fear of ‘might’ keep you from doing,
The devil doesn’t know your future; he wants you to believe his unholy hunch, [&]
Obedience is my responsibility; results are God’s responsibility.”
He also quoted Jeremiah 29:11,
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future'”
and 1 John 4:18,
“There is no fear in love; perfect love casts out fear.”
Jabin left the stage without mentioning a call to ministry, so I thought I was in the clear. I didn’t have to respond, and tonight was not my night – NOT!
He came back and said, “One more thing…” Immediately, in my head, I said, “If he says something about ministry, I’ll do it,” but then I took it back because I didn’t want to test God; I told him I would respond regardless of what Jabin said.
“…Some people in here are getting called into ministry right now.”
My heart dropped, and I almost fell to my knees. Silent tears started streaming down my cheeks as I waited patiently for what else was to be said. Jabin continued,
“Men are great, and we need more leaders, but especially tonight God is going after his girls. We need more speakers, writers, …”
I was reminded of Meredith Knox’s sermon earlier that day about Mary Magdalene being the first evangelist. Mimi’s words of encouragement were also ringing in my ears along with flashes of the amazing opportunities I got to say yes to this summer. More and more, the Lord filled my body with waves of his warmth and presence.
At last, Jabin asked, “If you’re being called into ministry right now, raise your hand.” Instantly, my hand shot up in the air and the sobs started. My girls and other people swarmed around me and held onto me. One woman in particular helped support my hand, and I was reminded of Aaron supporting Moses’ hand as he held up his staff to keep the Israelites winning the battle in Exodus (17:11-12). I cried even harder over this random woman’s act of love and service.
I fell to my knees as Jabin prayed over us and had those of us with our hands raised dedicate our lives to God’s service. Never in my life have I felt the Lord’s presence so clearly. My girls hugged around me, and we all cried over the goodness and awesomeness of God.
After salvation, this is the best opportunity from the Lord I have ever received.
What I have learned over and over again this summer is this:
The more you say yes and step into obedience, the more opportunities He will give you, and the more you get to experience His glory.
This opportunity was a long time coming.
SO many things led up to it, and so many yeses had to be said before I could have gotten to this place.
I am so humbled by this opportunity and the ability to write about it and share it with others. I’m thankful for my parents who supported me when I told them. I’m thankful for my mom who told me she had seen this in me, through this blog and my testimony at Salk. I’m thankful for my grandma who saw it in me and said, “Uncle Bee asked me if you were going into ministry,” and to who I got to respond, “Actually, I am,” (and who then proceeded to cry from joy). I’m thankful for friends who celebrate what God is doing in me and pray for me as I take steps closer and closer to him. I’m thankful for a ministry that sees it in me and encourages me regularly. And of course, I’m thankful for a God who knows me fully, knows I don’t deserve the kind of love he offers me, yet He still does. I’m thankful for all the opportunities He’s given me and those that are to come because of the “yes” I am declaring now.
So, what’s next for me? I’m not exactly sure. For now, I am going to continue at Clemson, pursuing a Psych major, serving with Fuse, and praying for clarity in what my next step is supposed to look like. I’m going to talk to some people on staff at NewSpring, get a lot more prayer from my friends and family, and continue to say yes to whatever God lays in front of me – no matter how big or small.
I would love prayer from you and any encouragement you may have (my love language isn’t technically words of affirmation, but it’s pretty close)! 😉
If you have questions about something God is doing in your heart or need prayer about something that may be going on, PLEASE feel free to reach out! I would love to (and want to) pray for you and encourage you as you journey closer to the Father’s loving arms.
Thank you for journeying with me – it’s crazy how far this little “life updates” blog has come
Praise the LORD MOST HIGH!!!!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understandings. In all your ways, submit to him, and He will make your paths straight” – Proverbs 3:5-6
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:18
“Here am I. Send me!” – Isaiah 6:8
“We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” – Romans 8:28