Imagine having received a call on your life that you just know is from the Lord that completely affirms your heart’s passion. To know that the gifts He has given you will be put to use in a way that you most enjoy and will, more importantly, bring Him glory. You ask that your heart be ready for whatever He has for you and you have already started picturing the future in your head…and then He says “Alright, now go across the road to your neighbor’s house and share My love with them.” You think, “Hmm? I mean ok, I will, but when are you sending me, Lord? I want to go where You are leading me!” With an enthusiastic heart, you wait to hear back and you get the same message again. “Go over there to your neighbor and share My love with them.” A bit perplexed, you remain obedient (albeit with some questions and hesitation) and you go over to your neighbor’s house and share the Gospel with them. Nothing super profound happens, the skies didn’t part for God to make Himself known to the person you just spoke to, but you were obedient and you say, “Ok Lord, I’ve done what You wanted.” And what you hear next from the Lord isn’t close to what you thought you’d hear. “Good. Now stay there and love them well, pray over their home that one day they would come to know Me and continue to pursue them.”
This is a very familiar story, something that is actually very close to my heart and for a few reasons. Why? Well for starters, this is my story! I felt called to go and be a worship leader and share the Gospel and speak into women’s lives, the whole shebang! I wanted to leave my hometown of Charleston and go somewhere exciting to do exciting things for the Lord. And I do feel that one day, He will call me up and send me out. But first, I had a thing or a hundred to learn about loving my neighbors well first. How could I travel the world sharing God’s love if I wasn’t even willing to do it in my own backyard? I have been growing a lot since that initial call and I am so glad that I was (albeit hesitantly) obedient. I have learned so much and I cannot imagine what my life would look like without this time loving my neighbors well here. Second reason this story is very close to my heart? This is exactly what my dear friend and sister in Christ, Sierra, is living right now. Sierra is a college student majoring in marine biology, member of NewSpring Church Charleston, FUSE Youth Ministry Leader, sister, daughter, friend, and most importantly a coheir with Christ Jesus, Son of the living God! She also happens to be in my community in Rally (our college/post-grad age ministry) as a member of my Rally Women’s small group. I have had the honor of doing life with her these past 2 years and I cannot begin to tell you how much she has grown since the first time I met her! God has been doing incredible things in her life and here is that story!
I got the chance to sit with Sierra over coffee in my home and we just chatted about what God is teaching her and how she is living that out. When asked about all of this, her opening statement really resonated with me.
“Something that I have been learning, especially since I feel called to missions, is how to say ‘yes’ to the little things and recognize where He has brought me from in my past. Even though I haven’t actually left the country or done anything big or special like that, He has asked me to say yes to what He wants me to do and where He wants me to go. Like saying yes to college, being obedient in sharing the Gospel unapologetically, to fear the Lord more than I fear other people and their opinions. I’m no longer afraid of how they will see me as long as I’m standing firm in my faith.”
How cool is that? To have such a transformed mind and heart to be completely unafraid of who God has called her to be and only rest in what God knows about her and not what people think about her. So good! But that wasn’t all, she gave me a vivid picture of what it looks like to be on her campus, especially as a Christian, and how she has navigated that space.
“I go to a very liberal college, lots of people are involved [on campus] and want to go to basketball games since it’s so huge here and people always want to go to parties. But they look at me strangely when they invite to games and parties and I don’t want to go. I’m not in any groups there but I’m more than just a student, I am there to watch God changes lives and move through me. It’s more than the basketball games and I have to really rely on my church community in order to be filled up so I can pour out. He is teaching me that I am not alone and showing me how to love people whether they want to be loved well or not. I’m not going to be deterred from sharing the Gospel.”
Sierra has such a heart for God’s people and it has been incredible to witness her doing just that. She doesn’t always feel as if she has the words but she trusts in God’s faithfulness and it has been wonderful to watch her confidence in God grow! I then asked her how she has had to dig deep into the personhoods of God (i.e. God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit).
“I have had to rely on the Father for comfort when I really, really just want to quit. I wonder why it’s so hard sometimes…I have also had to rely on Him to give me strength and peace. For the Holy Spirit, I trust Him to tell me when to go, who to go to, and what to say. I’m not always super eloquent but when He has called me to speak up, He gives me the ability. I also get to experience the sufficient grace of God when I want to be disobedient. Then I rely on Jesus in a new way of truly seeing Him as a husband. Temptation is real and present but Jesus is the standard to how we are supposed to live and discern whether or not to join alongside someone else when it comes to romantic pursuits. I’m surrounded by worldly but attractive guys yet He has allowed me clarity for who I no longer am, who I am now, and who He is calling me to be. So I’m not led astray! So many people go Downtown and lose themselves but I get to live in peace knowing I won’t be one of those people.”
It’s so awesome to see the confidence she has in God’s character especially in the phase of life she’s in because I didn’t have that kind of confidence when I was in college. I really do believe she is setting such a great example to today’s college student who feels overwhelmed by their circumstance on how to lean into God’s character and promise. Especially when we think about how we are called to persevere knowing there is urgency in the mission of going out and making disciples. Some Scripture that always comes to mind when I think about being in where she’s at in life is from 2 Peter (CSB) where author, Simon Peter, is encouraging people who have “received a faith equal to ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1) on how to grow in the faith and recognize false teachers and prophets, and be reminded that Jesus is coming again so there is a way we are being called to live. In chapter 3, he writes this:
The Day of the Lord
3 Dear friends, this is now the second letter I have written to you; in both letters, I want to stir up your sincere understanding by way of reminder, 2 so that you recall the words previously spoken by the holy prophets and the command of our Lord and Savior given through your apostles. 3 Above all, be aware of this: Scoffers will come in the last days scoffing and following their own evil desires, 4 saying, “Where is his ‘coming’ that he promised? Ever since our ancestors fell asleep, all things continue as they have been since the beginning of creation.” 5 They deliberately overlook this: By the word of God the heavens came into being long ago and the earth was brought about from water and through water. 6 Through these the world of that time perished when it was flooded. 7 By the same word, the present heavens and earth are stored up for fire, being kept for the Day of Judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
8 Dear friends, don’t overlook this one fact: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9 The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief;[a] on that day the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, the elements will burn and be dissolved, and the earth and the works on it will be disclosed.[b][c] 11 Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, it is clear what sort of people you should be in holy conduct and godliness 12 as you wait for the day of God and hasten its coming.[d] Because of that day, the heavens will be dissolved with fire and the elements will melt with heat. 13 But based on his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
14 Therefore, dear friends, while you wait for these things, make every effort to be found without spot or blemish in his sight, at peace. 15 Also, regard the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our dear brother Paul has written to you according to the wisdom given to him. 16 He speaks about these things in all his letters. There are some matters that are hard to understand. The untaught and unstable will twist them to their own destruction, as they also do with the rest of the Scriptures.
17 Therefore, dear friends, since you know this in advance, be on your guard, so that you are not led away by the error of lawless people and fall from your own stable position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.
Here, Peter is actively sharing with the audience, and now us as readers, that people will scoff and mock believers by following their own hearts’ desires and even going as far as to say things like, “Well where is Jesus? When is He coming back, huh? I don’t see Him!”. We shouldn’t be surprised when we get push back and Sierra is standing her ground for the Gospel because she knows it’s a solid foundation!
As our hangout came to a close, I asked her what encouragement she had for people who were new to the faith or even experienced believers who were stepping into a new depth that would inevitably challenge their faith. She said this:
“You just gotta go after people who will look at you and say, ‘oh I’m good, I don’t need a life change’ and know that if they don’t have Jesus, they aren’t good! They’re not fine. None of us are good without Jesus, I’m not good without Jesus even as a Christian. Even majoring in marine biology, people have misconceptions about wildlife in general and the church’s understanding of all of this. I believe in God and understand His creation through science. I can have an understanding of both; I know that creation was made on purpose, with a purpose. [Above all] I am praying that people [who don’t Christ] would see joy when they see me. That even in the midst of my suffering that they wouldn’t say, ‘oh she looks beat’ haha! But that they would see what it looks like to have joy in the Lord and not the situations that are stressful or temporary happiness because I had a good day. I hope they see what it looks like to be emotionally available to the people around me and sympathetic to their situations. I hope that they see that there is more than stressing about school and friends. I am on a mission and nothing will stop me from pursuing that mission.”
What. A. Woman! I cannot wait to see what the Lord does in and through her life. To watch her grow has been a great joy not just as her small group leader but as her sister in Christ. To know that we have each other’s left (if you don’t understand that reference, visit the blog and check out that post) while marching forward together in the same army for God’s kingdom is a pleasure and many lives will be changed because of God’s work through her obedience.
If you want to know more about her journey and other young women like here, follow the blog and stay in touch with us here at Calling Over Comfort. We will be posting fun features of women in ministry, encouraging posts, and more regularly.