Hey there! I must apologize to you lucky readers for being a bit behind on the blog posting. I went on a retreat with the high school ministry at my church last weekend. I’m fairly new to this church to it was such a good opportunity for me to really connect with the junior and senior high school girls… except that only three ended up going! Yup, you read right… three… I had so many butterflies for what kind of group I would get, and how we would coordinate with the other students but also have our own connection times… and then there were three leaders with three girls… Yikes!
Thankfully God works in some great and awesome ways! One of the other leaders is a nurse and was dubbed the medicine queen so she was in and out for part of the time. And the other leader was actually the high school ministry director and ended up bouncing around making sure all of the groups were alright. So I got to work closely with the three girls!
It’s truly inspiring to see how God puts things together for His glory. I ended up having some great one-on-one times with each of the girls that wasn’t even planned for! One of the girls and I were just walking back to the cabin to grab a coat before dinner and I got to hear her open up about how she found God recently and has been comforted by knowing that she’s never alone! It still gives me chills to remember.
Another one of the girls had been church hopping for the last year with her family and felt isolated, longing for her old community and relationships with their previous church before they moved. Towards the end of worship on one of the nights, she walks up to me with tears in her eyes and asks me to pray for her. With worship in the air and the presence of God among us we prayed together. In that moment I was so humbled and floored by her courage. We didn’t know each other that well but she got up and opened herself up to someone else in a time of need infront of her peers and other leaders! At the end of the trip she opened up to another student and I that she had needed that weekend. That she felt so far from God and a sense of community that God showed her through the trip that He is providing her with community already. She made the comment that will forever stick with me: “It doesn’t matter what church or what group I’m in, God is and always will be the same God who loved me before and will always love me.”
So fast-forward to when I’m sitting in my car driving home, just trying to wrap my head around how profound of a moment God had with that student and with all of us, for that matter. But my thoughts continued with her courage…
A teenager stood up infront of her peers, walked past adults and leaders, to reveal her struggles and ask for help in prayer!!! Infront of them all!! What?!?!
I don’t know about you but when I was a teenager everyone was worried about what everyone else thought of them (because it mattered soooo much, for whatever reason). But this girl put her fears and faith and trust in God and stood courageously.
I know some of you might think “Okay cool, some random teen at a random retreat had a moment”. Well it’s those small moments that add up to something real and wonderful and moving! It’s moments like those in our lives where God has directly told us to be courageous and stand up for Him.
“Have I not commanded you? BE STRONG AND OF GOOD COURAGE; do not be afraid nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NKJV)
Man!! Isn’t that convicting?! WHEREVER YOU GO. That “wherever” isn’t just for “wherever in a church setting”, no way!!
God COMMANDED us to have courage everywhere!!! That means at work, the grocery store, the corner store, at the make up counter at the mall, at the Starbucks that you go to way too often… everywhere.
But guess what the great thing is… We can be courageous and strong for one main reason… God is with us. Period. He has bestowed His Holy Spirit upon us to be with us always.
You might be thinking, cool courage… but for what? You might feel comfortable in your own life and feel appeased. Well, my friend, God has a plan for each of us and has called us to follow Him…
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ”If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”” Matthew 16:24 (NKJV)
Taking up your cross meant to carry the thing in which you were going to die on. It’s giving up your life to follow God! God loves us and has promised that He is always with us wherever we go. He has commanded that we follow Him and spread His teachings…
““Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”” Matthew 28: 19-20 (NIV)
For this I am writing this post: I urge you, whoever you are reading this, be courageous in your faith in God and spread His word. Let us go out in love and do the works of God, knowing that He is always with us.