[Once a week, I am going to be sharing with you a brave story sent in from a reader. You can comment, respond, encourage. Want to submit your own story or a story of a brave friend of yours? Head to thatisbrave.com!]
This week’s #thatisbrave story comes from Jessica. I love her courage, even as a teenager! Her words, and her name, are used with her permission.
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I think one of my bravest moments was when I decided that I knew I had to stay true to who God asked me to be, even when everyone around me didn’t necessarily agree. It was during my senior year of college that the Lord really began to reveal His purpose to me. I have always been a very passionate person, but it took a while for me to truly understand the value of knowing my own heart. During my senior year of college, I was genuinely blessed to be part of a special collective of college women who gathered to sit at the feet of my pastor’s wife each week. As we read through the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan, the Lord stirred my heart. And He just kept stirring. As a young high school student, I went to Mexico City for a mission trip at age fifteen. When I returned, I knew within my heart of hearts that I would return. Mexico and I were not done with one eight day trip. And so I dreamed a dream of living and working in Mexico as a teacher.
The years went by, and I buried that dream, thinking that it was one of a silly schoolgirl and nothing else. Could the Lord have really called me to another country when I was but fifteen years old? Yes, He could. And yes, He did. So after a few months of going through the motions of applying to grad school, I found myself at a crossroads. I could stay at the University of Georgia for a couple more years and get in a couple more football seasons, or I could pursue a life in another country-one I had merely visited once. I’ll never forget the look on my parents’ faces when I told them that grad school was not an option and that I had to go to Mexico after graduation. That first step in telling them was just the tip of the iceberg. There were so many other hurdles the Lord would have me go through on my journey back to Mexico.
After a few months of searching, the Lord led me to just the right missions organization. I began the application process and turned down a position with Teach for America with no true assurance of knowing that I would be in Mexico in the fall. But what else did I have to lose at that point? That May was an incredible month, and the summer was even more amazing. I turned 22, found out for sure that I would be living in Chihuahua, Mexico, and graduated from college- all within a 72-hour time span. I lived there for two years, and I would never take it back.
But here’s the thing: that one step of bravery has given me the freedom to say yes to other seemingly scary and frightening choices, because I know my God is faithful and He has proved Himself to me time and time again.
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