March 6, 2011

One Eighty.

God, you are amazing. This weekend has truly been evidence of Your endless love for all your children. To anyone who’s reading, I would just like to share about my weekend here in Germany. I feel like God has just stretched me over these last couple of days and He has filled my mind with incredible insight as to who I am in His eyes.

I had outreach this weekend. For any of you who don’t know what this all entails, it’s just a weekend where my Sing-team hosts kids from a town called Rossweg and we just spend the whole weekend with them: playing games, singing, sharing testimonies, going on photo scavenger hunts, and just hanging out.

I have realized that I am a very selfish person, and I hate admitting this. When I found out I had outreach this weekend, I got upset because I wanted to have this weekend for myself. I wanted to spend it with my friends. I wanted to read and catch up on my homework. I just wanted to do the things that I wanted to do, to stay safely nestled in my zone of comfort where nothing bad or nerve-wracking could happen to me. And then when God subtly nudged me and reminded me that spending time with these kids is for His glory, I just got mad at myself! I got upset at myself because as a Christian I should WANT to reach out to people, I should WANT to share Christ with these kids. Since I was fearing this weekend, it made me wonder if I really am a Christian. You would think that out of my love for God I would want nothing more than to share Christ, but since I was dreading it all, what did that mean for my relationship with God? Does it mean that my love for Him is fake?

On Thursday morning, all these struggles just exploded in my face. I felt an immense amount of insecurity. I guess my biggest fear is being rejected by these kids; I’m scared of reaching out because I’m terrified that once I do, they might laugh in my face. It’s actually ridiculous how I let my fear and imagination get the best of me. I mean, what kind of 20 year old gets intimidated by a bunch of 13 year olds? My dread for this weekend and my lack of confidence became obvious to those closest to me this day. I guess my insecurities just love to radiate from my face, but I’ve found that this is a blessing in disguise, because when your best friends demand to know what’s wrong and why you looked so distressed, it opens doors for encouragement and prayer. This is exactly what I received. God speaks to us in so many different ways, and I definitely believe that He uses people to do so. He uses our friends, our enemies, and even complete strangers to engrave His truth into our hearts.

And even something incredible occurred at my singteam practice that day. I decided to be honest with my team saying, “guys, I’m just not feeling it. I’m not motivated at all for this weekend…singing is honestly the last thing I want to do.” And rather than just shrugging, or brushing my comment off, they all put their guitars down and said, “OK, we really need to pray.” And so we did. After that prayer, it wasn’t as if I was jumping up and down just dying to sing and motivated beyond belief. I was just…light-hearted. I felt like this is how life should be lived. When we’re feeling down or when a friend tells us that they’re struggling, don’t say, “I will be praying for you.”; rather, say “let’s pray right now.” Pray immediately and pray always. Pray without ceasing! Because I know that after somebody’s done praying for me, I feel like somebody cares, I feel loved, and I feel encouraged. It’s incredible!

So Thursday evening the kids arrived for supper and the first thing I noticed were how bright their smiles were. All 20 of them were so friendly, outgoing, and just constantly smiling. They especially weren’t shy to try out their English with us, which was WONDERFUL. That night was spent learning their names, performing songs for them, and playing silly games. It was just hilarious, and I loved every minute of it. I can’t help but compare these kids to the first group of kids we hosted back in November. The November kids definitely had the mindset “we’re too cool for this.” And they were very hard to interact with. That weekend I would describe as…awkward. But this group of kids now, I just loved them! They were just so approachable to me.

On Friday, a girl from my Singteam was unsure as to whether she wanted to talk about her sister’s struggle with anorexia when she was to share her testimony later with the kids. And I told her that yes, she should include it, because you never know, there could be a 14 year old girl here who is struggling with the very same thing and it could be a huge encouragement to her. After I said this, it was as if a pile of bricks landed on my head. It became very evident to me that out of all the times I had been sharing my testimony here, I hadn’t actually been sharing my testimony. A testimony is supposed to tell of the turning point of your relationship with Christ. It’s the story of how you fell in love with God. What I had usually been sharing with people were just significant parts of my life story, but I had always left out the part where my heart really did change for Christ. Yes, my brother’s death is a huge part of my life, but it’s not exactly what caused me to fall in love with Christ, if you know what I mean.

So today, Sunday, without even a warning, I got asked to share my testimony. And so I did. And, it went incredible. It went incredible in the way that God gave me the exact words to say and I just got so much fulfillment out of it. After I shared about my huge struggle that began in middle school and followed me all the way here to Germany many years later, I felt like a weight was lifted from my chest, because I had never shared that part in my testimony before. All I could do after was thank God and praise Him for giving me the strength.

After our Sunday morning service, I hung out with all the girls, we had lunch together and we talked and laughed, and they asked for my “facebook name”. They were all just a bunch of sweethearts and it honestly sucked saying goodbye to them. I wish I could have had more time with them, and to get to know them on a more personal level. I wish I could have known what their relationship with God was like. I wish I could have learned their struggles and I wish I could have been their big sister. I may never know if I encouraged at least one of them with my life and my testimony, but God knows. He knows their hearts and that’s all that matters. He is the vine and I am merely the branch, bearing good fruit for Him. All the glory goes to Him!

God did a 180 on my weekend and complete changed my heart. I went from bitterness and dread to excitement and fire! I feel like I’ve grown so much from these past couple of days and I feel so blessed to have had this opportunity. It was unfortunately my last outreach, since Bible school is coming to a fast end. But God has really placed something on my heart: I so badly want to work with young teenage girls. I have such a big heart for them and I know that God can use me in their lives! I just want them to know that they’re loved and that they don’t need to find love from anything else but God. They’re so much better than what the media feeds them, they’re so much better than finding their emotional security in opinions of the opposite sex. They’re so much better than drugs and alcohol and partying. They’re so much better than gossiping and striving to become popular.

God, I just pray that if this is your will, that you will open doors for me. God let me be an example to them. My one desire is that I will use my life for You and that when those young eyes look at me they won’t see me, but they will see YOU shining through me! God thank you for your love and for your confidence in me, and thank you for this incredible weekend that you gave to me.


  1. Wow! I glanced at this post and thought "oh brother, here's a long one" but I just LOVED reading it. It was so honest and vulnerable. I feel like I really saw your heart in this post and it is so beautiful!!!! God is working on you Jenni and I love what you are becoming!!!!!!!!! He is so good!

  2. WOW, Jennifer.
    Just wow.

    I can't even BELIEVE how much you've grown in Christ since I first met you. :)

    I feel like we will have an immense amount of things to talk about (while cuddling in your bed) when you get home!!!!! <3