I believe that everyone has a passion. Maybe it's a passion for academics, sports, or making people laugh. My passion is for kids.
This is how I know serving and loving on kids is my passion: I love making kids smile when they come into class on Sunday mornings. I love getting to tell little children a cool story from the Bible or hear them laugh when they think something is hil-ari-ous. If I could summarize what I think my job is with being a small group leader on Sunday mornings, this quote can very fulfil it in more ways than one: “I will let them be little. I will fill their hearts with laughter. I will help them grow wings. I will nurture their sense of wonder. I will inspire them to believe. I will love them like there’s no tomorrow” (quote by Julie King).
Over the summer, I got the opportunity to be a camp counselor at my church's summer camp. Here I would be pushed and challenged, by third graders. These precious third graders would keep me up late, ask for desserts before dinner, make me laugh till my sides hurt, and continuously make me grateful to be their leader. But the best part is, that my relationship with them does not stop there. Every Sunday I get to ask them how their week was and if there is anything cool going on. The coolest thing about it is that as I grow, they grow too. We are growing together in more ways than one. Our friendships and mentorship is growing, as well as our years. A big thing we all have to realize about kids is this: IT'S JUST A PHASE. The phase they are in right now, is just a phase. In two or three years they will be in a different phase of life. My third grade girls will be in sixth grade, wow. I can only imagine the different types of conversations we will have and the laughing and crying that will happen along the way.
If I could encourage you on some things, here is what they would be: number one, it is just a phase. The phase of life you are in right now is just a phase. One day you will be in a new and exciting phase with new things to learn and experience. However, embrace the one you are in right now and enjoy the relationships and adventures you are having right now. The second thing I want to encourage you on is to find something you are passionate about. Once you find this thing, grab onto it and run. Become passionate about serving others and putting others first. Or maybe you have a serious passion for spending time with the elderly. Whatever that passion is, allow God to mold and shape you through that. And along the way, He will stretch you in ways you could have never imagined. Those few days as a camp counselor, where some of the most exhausting and tiring, but they were also some of the most rewarding.
Now, some might say that we are too young to be leading a group of kids at Church every Sunday. However, 1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” Set an example for those that are older than you and even those that are younger than you.
I'm so glad to share the missions trip opportunity I was granted in 8th grade. Our youth group planned a go-trip to Washing DC to help out at a church 45 minutes away from where we stayed. Many of my friends went on the trip and I have to say it was emotionally impacting. Our vans packed with around 17 students stayed at a Quaker house a short distance from behind the Capitol. The house was remarkably old with a bathroom the size of a laundry basket.
All of the 13 girls stayed in one bedroom and breakfast consisted of yellow jam and toast. Although staying in a house very out of our comfort zone gave us a LITTLE realization of how the homeless lived rather than soaking in the luxury of a Ritz Carlton. The purpose of the go-trip was to wash families feet and give them new shoes at Rising Hope Church. For some it was an uncomfortable task that screamed the fear of germs and some where just glad to serve and help out. I still remember the day we all lined up with buckets of water sitting in front of our Nike shoes giving each child and adult one pair of Walmart socks and one pair of Walmart shoes.
The families shouted with excited over a cheap pair of shoes that we purchased before that day. (No, Walmart isn't neither am I bashing people wearing their shoes but for some that is something they can afford and to others that is low quality. Either way, having shoes is something we should be thankful for) they were thankful and excited over something so little that some of us take for granted of everyday. It truly was a humble experience after seeing little kids of all nationalities and skin colors give a bright smile to shoes I pay little attention to while buying groceries at the good old wholly world. Without lack of remembrance one child yelled, "These shoes will make me fly!" Another shared her new outdoor game and some were very shy which was very understandable.
I never reached a kid to Christ however showing God's love and appreciation for children just like me seemed to light up their world. I am a mere messenger of God's everlasting love and it's His job to plant seeds in their heart. Mission trips can seem to have a label of sharing God's word in foreign countries, however, we all have a mission field in the circle of our own community. Washington DC wasn't far away however the impact we gave on each other reached miles! Your neighbors, work place, school or even coffee shop is a mission field full of opportunities to share God's word. No, there is not an age requirement or certain level of knowledge. It takes one bold believer to allow God to speak through them in order to share the Gospel. Someone who is willing to maybe sacrifice their friendships, reputation or even a job. God commands us to share His word and sometimes not in the comfort of our own home or community. Serving in Washington DC surely was an eye opening experience from the bottom of my heart. Was I afraid? A little. Did I exactly know how to tell them about God? Not so much. But I believed God chooses the weak and makes them strong.
How to Step out of your comfort zone
1. Look for opportunities to be a part of
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes… Romans 1:16
2. Don't let fear keep you from sharing God's truth
“Immediately he spoke to them and said, 'Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.'” Mark 6:50
3 Trust God that he will give you the right words to say.
And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say” (v11-12).
He gave me the right words to say and the compassion to show care for these families. I hope to encourage everyone of you to be bold and step out of the comfortable casualties of our church circle.
It was Christmas break and I was headed home. The crisp air hit my face as I went to meet my love and say goodbye, he was headed west and I was headed to North Carolina. It was only 4 weeks I could handle not being with him for 4 weeks, we weren’t that attached to the hip. As I waited outside his dorm, I texted him to tell him I was here. As I waited, my wait turned into 30 minutes, then I saw his roommate leave the dorm, he told me my love had left and he wasn’t coming back next semester. I stood there in shock. Was he serious? I had dated this guy for the whole semester, why would he not tell me where we stood. His roommate also added that he had been dating another girl back in his home town, while he was dating me. My heart broke, as I drove with my friend Courtney back to North Carolina we listened to Taylor Swift the whole ride. Tears fell down my face I was heartbroken. I had never felt this horrible in my life. Is this what heartbreak feels like? I thought to myself I would not wish this pain on my worst enemy.
My battle with heartbreak went like this:
Can any of your girls relate to this? Has your heart ever been broken like this? Some girls try to get over heartbreak by dating other guys, some girls to turn to partying to get over heartbreak, but I challenge you to turn to Christ. God is the healer!! He can mend your broken heart.
Psalm 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
So sweet girl your heart may be broken in this moment, but it does not have to stay that way. Give God your broken heart. Tell him your hurts and frustrations, he is right there waiting for you!