As a leader, it’s so fun to see the change in some of the girls hearts. Sometimes you watch it before your very eyes. From the beginning of the semester, to the end, you see this gradual change in a girl’s heart. Like a heart of stone becomes a heart of flesh. Soft and full of love. It’s SO beautiful to watch. Sometimes in one night, it will be like their blinder’s have been ripped off their eyes and they see the world in a whole new way through God’s eyes. It’s so fun when that happens.
And then there are some that take a little longer. Maybe they feel a little guarded and not sure that they are ready to love completely because of all the hurt that they have been through. But yet they keep coming every week. Quiet and listening but then quick to leave. The semester comes to an end and as a leader, we know that we have planted seeds in their hearts. We may not see a bloom right then, it may happen years later, or we may never see it at all but the seeds are there. We’ve created an opportunity for these girls to try church, try God by creating a support system that is uniquely for the purpose of helping them and loving them. It’s not something they can forget. When they think about God, they will think about me, you, the leaders of EG, or maybe if you are pouring into someone’s life, it’s YOU.
A few weeks ago, we were having a class and one of the girls never took her coat off throughout the whole class. We were sitting at tables and she had her knees lifted up leaning against the table and she was slightly reclined in her seat. She had the neck of her coat pulled all the way up so that it was covering her mouth and up to her nose. All that you could see was her eyes. I kept glancing at her quickly without it looking like I was staring. It was hard to see but I kept thinking, is she even listening? She doesn’t look like she wants to be here. I kept praying to myself, for God to speak to her heart, and just pour His love out on her.
Towards the end of class, we were gathering our things together and she pulled her knees down and her coat came down off her face and then I saw it … tear stained cheeks. She left without a word, not wanting to open up to us so we hugged and said our goodbyes until the next week. Even when we think that our words, our actions and our love that we give isn’t reaping any kind of results, it is. Even if it’s just on the inside. Even if we can’t see it. It is. Just don’t stop loving. You never know when that wall will come crashing down. Love without thinking you’ll get anything in return. Just love.
We have a girl this semester that comes every week and is SO sweet and kind. She doesn’t talk much but she always has a little smile on her face. At the beginning of the semester, I try to go around and get a little information from the girls, about how old they are, is the baby daddy involved, are your parents supportive, etc – hoping that the girls will open up and give us a glimpse into their lives. One girl in particular, when we got to her, could only shake her head no to almost every question. She didn’t want to answer. She couldn’t. She quickly said, “I just can’t. It’s very emotional for me to talk about. Maybe I’ll write it someday but I just can’t right now.” So we let it be. She kept coming back every week, we still kept loving this sweet and precious mystery girl.
A few months into the semester goes by and still no story. Every once in a while I would just try to slip a question in, hoping that she will open up, but she still could only shake her head no. Two weeks ago, Gateway Single Families had a guest speaker come named Todd White. He is phenomenal speaker and we LOVED hearing his message of hope. We all were moved and inspired.
The following week after class, this girl pulled me aside and said she needed to talk to me. Since she never talks much and is so quiet, I was immediately intrigued and couldn’t wait to hear what she had to say. She said, “Amy, last week with Todd White really inspired me. His testimony was so powerful and amazing. I left feeling like God is asking me to share my story now. I’m ready. I want to tell everyone about me and what has gotten me to this place, who I was and who I am today. I’m ready.” She had a big smile on her face as she told me and of course me and my crazy self starting whooping and hollering and jumping up and down. I gave her a big hug.
What God can do in these girl’s hearts is WAY bigger than what any of us can do to each other. We are just the cheerleaders. We are the directors – directing their prayers, worries, concerns, fears to God. We are the lovers that get to watch each heart get softer and softer and see these girl’s blooming and walking into the destiny that God has for them.
Don’t stop loving and encouraging even when you feel like no one is listening or that it’s not sinking in. And don’t get discouraged if you can’t see results. God’s love is relentless. God will never stop pursuing and wooing His ladies.
Written by Amy Ford