In sixth grade I became an entrepreneur. My mom worked for a company and had access to a college basketball calendar poster. She brought one home for me and I promptly put it up on my wall. The following day, she brought home a big stack of these epic calendars and told me I could hand them out to my friends. What she didn’t know at the time was that my brain was hard wired for creativity and fundraising. I took the posters to school and sold them for $0.25 each! It was a genius plan. My enterprise, however, was ruined by my nemesis, John. His dad worked for the same company as my mom. Side note: He was HER BOSS! One day John tried to buy a poster from me and I said, “No.” I was a new business owner and I had the right to refuse service to a boy that I didn’t get along with. John went home and told his dad that I wouldn’t sell him a NCAA calendar poster and wanted to know if he could buy one directly from his dad’s company. This was the end of my budding career. It was also the end of my pain free derrière.
From that moment on, John became my enemy. I was mad at him for thwarting my plans and I reminded him at every turn that he had quite literally RUINED MY LIFE! I’m ashamed to say that John remained in the enemy camp for quite a long time. He was my first experience with crushed dreams, but not my last.
At a specific spot on the timeline of jill, I put my hands to the sky in surrender and told a God that I knew very little about, that I wanted my life to honor Him. I spoke out loud the ways I had chosen my own path and picked sin over Jesus. I chose to be a person that chases after a heart that looks like Christ. This pursuit has caused me to make my home in a foreign land, mentor teenage girls, adopt, and so much more. What I have found is that while I am pursuing these God sized dreams, my enemy is very hard at work trying to crush them. This week I am at a camp with girls that have a relationship with Jesus and girls that don’t. While we have been pouring words of life into them, the enemy has pushed the weak spots in all of our armor and attempted to distract and discourage us. But God’s faithfulness has not left us on our own. We do not walk into this battle alone. When the enemy told me this week that I was too old, uncool, and overweight, Jesus whispered, “My grace is sufficient for you!” When friendships faced a breaking point, Jesus spoke, “A new command I give to you. Love one another the way I have loved you.” SIXTEEN of our students made the decision to follow Jesus this week. Twenty one students were baptized today.
As the Israelites were running from the Egyptians and a lifetime of slavery, they came upon a huge body of water. They could see the enemy closing in on them as they looked back, and they saw an insurmountable problem in front of them. They started in with their crazy talk, “Why didn’t we just stay in slavery where it was better?” they yelled. But Moses reminded them, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” It was just after this that God instructed Moses to divide the waters of the Red Sea so the Israelites could pass through and escape the enemy.
We don’t need to be afraid. We just need to wait for God to show us the way forward! I’m encouraged and refreshed by the way God has shown up this week. Can’t wait to get home and dive back into life with these teenagers!