Why I Stop to Look Back –And Why You Need To

“Jesus come into my heart and stay.”

I uttered that feeble prayer as a teenager outside a small, makeshift chapel on a sweltering July evening at a youth camp in Texas. On July 28th to be exact.

On the anniversary of that day, I try to look back at the journey I’ve been on since. Sometimes, I think of the trials God has carried me through. Other times, I recall Scriptures that have shaped me. This year, I came away with deep gratitude for the people who have walked with me on the path of knowing Jesus.

Of course, I thought of the “biggies” in my journey: my youth minister and his wife; my BSU director in college (and his wife, too); my college minister; women who discipled me; professors who taught me; spiritual directors who opened my eyes to a deeper experience of the Divine. Colleagues who have been more like family than co-workers.

But then, my mind wandered to others whose roles were equally as important, though not as visible. A retired couple who taught the very first Sunday school class I ever attended. A Bible study teacher who taught me about Jesus and permanent eye liner (both were new concepts at the time). A woman named who directed our Bible drill program and taught me how to memorize Scripture.

I thought of the men who drove the school-bus-turned church bus and picked me up every Sunday, rain or shine or snow (well, not so much in Texas). Teachers in public schools who lived out their faith in and out of the classroom. Sponsors on youth trips and mission trips and field trips. People who have probably long forgotten an insecure tween/teen who couldn’t articulate her deep need for approval and affirmation. They loved and encouraged her the best they could. And I am grateful.

If you’re one of those myriad of people and you happen across this blog, thank you. You played an important role. You influenced me–and continue to, in big ways and small. Thank you for being an example of Jesus, even with grease under your nails and manure on your boots and cake mix on your apron.

Whoever you are reading this, I want to thank you on behalf of the people whose lives you have influenced, in big ways and small ways and in-between ways. Every day, you rub shoulders with people whose lives are better because of your presence.

They may not remember your name, but they will remember the role you played and the love you offered. They are changed because you showed them Jesus’ love in the words you spoke, the hugs you gave, the advice you offered, and the faith you demonstrated.

Well done, good and faithful servant.

 

What about you? Who has impacted and influenced you?

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