An Unexpected Gift

A year ago, I received a very unexpected gift – one which would prove to change my life forever.

This is her story.

Yes, her. A girl randomly assigned to my mentoring agenda.

As with everything scheduled by man, this encounter was sovereignly ordained by God. Otherwise, I’m not sure I would have chosen it.

She and I were as opposite as could be. {I say, “were,” because we have much more in common now.}

She, an only child; I, the eldest of six. Her past, filled with difficulty and desperation; my life, seemingly clean, happy, and successful. She, possessing a “bold personality,” waltzing up to the nearest unsuspecting person to have a chat, leaving me and my prideful self-consciousness gaping and scrambling. She spoke aloud of things my sheltered ears had never heard before.

Most significantly, her life reeked with need. And I had Jesus.

Because she wanted someone to talk to, and because I wanted to tell her about Jesus, this dear girl became my friend. And came to church with me every Sunday. And people didn’t quite know where she came from, until she would say, “I’m here with Lydia.” Which she did every time. And people wondered at the peculiarity of us {and I did, too}.

But it became more and more obvious to me that something big was going on here and that this friendship was sure to change my life

I spent hours upon hours with her. And a strange thing happened: God gave me a deep, compassionate, Christlike love for this girl.

That’s not strange for God. That’s just strange for me.

See, I wouldn’t have naturally loved this girl on my own. She just wasn’t the kind of person I typically loved. My friend group didn’t include people like her.

But something drew me to her. So I borrowed some wisdom from God and said “yes” to a gold mine of opportunity.

And in the gift of this unlikely, unpredictable girl, I found something glorious: the powerful work of Jesus.

How do I know it was Jesus?

Because who else would it be. It certainly wasn’t her friends. Or her family. Or any other voice within ear-shot.

And it couldn’t have been me.

For all I did was speak the Word to her. I simply shared the truth of the gospel and pointed her again and again to the Scriptures.

Oh me of little faith. This girl was so hungry for truth, she devoured the Scriptures like they were all she had.

She found random verses on the internet, asked a million questions about them, texted Bible to me, showed me which passages she had read and how she had journaled them, asked to attend my Bible studies, and took better notes than I in church. And all “of her own accord.”

Would you believe the Bible changed this girl? I saw it, plain as day.

Habits changed. Thinking changed. And she would say, “I chose not to lash out at my mom this time.” Or, “I’m not going to use that word anymore.”

And I would think, “Wait – who told you to do that?! . . . Oh, that’s right. You’ve been reading the Bible all week. Um, I know you, and I know the places you go. The Bible is the only place you could possibly get this stuff.”

Not only did I watch this girl find Jesus, I saw her make life-altering, statistic-defying decisions to prove it.

Usually, I sat wide-eyed and speechless. Sometimes, I listened with tears running down my face, as, utterly overwhelmed, I watched the Word transform this girl into a dear sister and a kindred spirit.

Oh yes, we have much more in common now. We still have strange conversations, and I still smile as she uniquely captures the attention of the unsuspecting person closest to her. {I used to wonder how God might use her someday. I don’t wonder as much now.}

But together, we love Jesus, and we love His Book, and we aren’t afraid to tell it and live it. And together, we are walking down the same path – from a past filled with sin to a future filled with Hope.

And while she often says she wants to be like me, I pray to be like her. She lives with unbridled abandon. She steps up and speaks out. She loves simply and walks fearlessly. And now all of that is put to glorious use in her as she declares to the world the truth that has transformed her.

I literally saw a Book change a person.

And if that’s what this Book can do, let’s devour it and share it with every unsuspecting person we see.

*Story shared with permission.
[image credit:]

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