My memory of you and the influence you had on me as a ninth-grader stays with me and continues to inspire me today. And though it was for a short season of my life, the season of your mentorship and discipleship is what I recall to be extremely monumental in my maturing and developing as a believer, as well as in my discovery of my identity in Christ.
I remember how much I wanted to be like you when I grew up. You were a beautiful, happily married professional who gave her time to mentor, disciple and pour into high school girls such as myself. There was something different about you. You were real–you were honest, something so rare in the modern conservative church that commonly censors honest real life experiences. You were enlightening.
I was so young. I was the youngest girl in our Bible study; I had much less life experience than the others in our small group. I was, more often than not, a listener and an observer–soaking up the wisdom and epiphanies exchanged between you and the girls who were then juniors and seniors. You shared your experiences, your mistakes, and the lessons you learned in the process. And I took note. Others shared hurt and brokenness experienced from bad relationships of the past. You told us what forgiveness looks like. You introduced me, before I ever even knew it was relevant to my young life, to a higher standard for relationships as well as a call to purity and sanctification.
You were essentially a vessel God used to stir up in me a passion and desire embrace purity and sacred waiting while at the same time having a healthy anticipation for the right man and the right time. Sacred waiting became a priority in my young fourteen-year-old life, and still to this day is held in high regard because of what it symbolizes for me: discipline.
It has been some eight years or so since we went through Lady In Waiting together.
My baby sister is going to be a freshman in high school come August and I can’t help but reminisce on that time of my life. Your influence will always be there. I hope Hannah will find a Jennifer to inspire her. I’d like to think it could be me.
Having gone to a baptist college for the last four years, I was commonly asked what my call to ministry was. My first instinct was always to answer: “I want to be somebody’s Jennifer.” But instead I would say something along the lines of wanting to show young women their worth and value in the kingdom of God. I want to disciple them to discovering their identify in Christ.
As a recent college graduate, I am getting ready to move to Fort Worth and start a life there where I am looking forward to finding a church home. I envision myself one day leading a discipleship group of young women as a mentor and a friend. I pray about it regularly because that is where my heart and passion is.
I remember how much I wanted to be like you when I grew up.
Well, I grew up. And your influence still inspires me.
All that to say…