I am the person places like Borders and Barnes & Noble hate. No, not the pyramid scammers (who always seem to sit directly in my line of sight), but you know my type. I go, peruse the magazines MAYBE splurge on a green tea, but maybe not. Enjoy the light jazz and take up table space with my thoughts.
I’d spent a good portion of my college career falling in love with campus ministry and I’d applied to be an intern with Campus Crusade. I was about to graduate and move to Charlotte, NC to start my first big girl job. I’d like to note, this would be my first big girl job with my first big girl roommate. The one I found… on Roommates.com… and didn’t think until my first night to sleep in her apartment that she could potentially be a serial killer…oh the innocence of the internet 10 years ago! She ended up being a seriously amazing best friend and bridesmaid, and not a menace to society, so that worked out well.
My parents and home church were cheering me on and everything was pretty much in line, except the crazy intense fear and doubt in my gut. My heart was a wee bit divided by a relationship that I was in and the terror I felt to leave everything I’d known for 22 years to move to a city where I knew no one. The thought that I could be dead in my apartment for at least 2 days before Beth Calvert would get in her car to come find me was a real live consistent thought.
So, there I sat at Borders, making one more handy dandy pro’s and con’s list. I was relieved to see that my con’s outweighed my pro’s and picked up my (Zach Morris) cell phone and called my soon-to-be-boss, Marion, an amazing lady who’d mentored me on a Summer Project in Argentina. I told her that I really felt God showing me that I could have a greater effectiveness in a town where I was known and had community, wha, wha, blah, blah.
To which she replied, “Hmm, that’s interesting. Okay, well, I am sorry that’s how you feel, but just know that you’ve committed and said ‘yes’ to this position of influence and you need to let your ‘yes’ be yes and your ‘no’ be no. So, actually you can’t back out. We can’t wait to see you January 1st.” And with those strong words of wisdom, I put on my big girl pants, packed my boxes and headed south.
It’s hard to imagine what I would have missed out on had fear taken me captive and someone not cared about me enough to challenge me to take a step of faith. I was so weak, flawed and scared, but I am so glad I didn’t miss out on what God had in store.
God used the team in Charlotte to be the most influential part of my young professional days. We were a healthy combo of friends/co-workers/stand-in family that worked hard and played hard. We saw God radically change students’ lives on the 36 campuses to which we traveled and ministered. There were churched students like Jilliana, who were honest enough and real enough to say, “When you say ‘the Gospel’ do you mean Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?” and “How can I know for sure I will go to Heaven when I die?” Then there were students like Lisa, who were drowning in the darkness, and were honest enough and real enough to say, “I am trying this whole Jesus thing and I’ve been sex-free for 3 weeks! It’s so weird that I am actually happier now.” Both these students were transformed by Christ, discipled, integrated into the church and are now telling others about Jesus way beyond the context of the university.
For our Spring Break mission trip my third year in Charlotte our team was heart-broken by the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina at the Gulf of Mississippi. We recruited a ton of students to go down and help with the re-building efforts. It was there that I first laid eyes on this mysterious, hard-working, team leader from the University of Mississippi…and that’s gonna give me butterflies to talk about, so I’ll save that for tomorrow. xoxo
This post is part of a monthly-long blog re-launch and series I’m writing entitled “31 Days of Following Him & Loving Them.” See all other posts in this series by clicking here.