Bethany and I, in partnership with Friends of Bethany, Wonderfully Made and Maranatha chapel, recently held a one day girls conference in San Diego, CA. We were joined with close to 3000 girls at this amazing event! Our goal was to remind young girls of their value and worth. My schedule has been so crazy, I have not had a lot of writing time! I thought you all might enjoy seeing what we have been up to and watching this incredible event first hand. Know you are loved and so precious to our Lord!! Click here to see the event: <a href=”http://player.piksel.com/player.php?p=gbg16w71&wmode=transparent&wmode=transparent” target=”_blank”>
Tag Archives: girl
I recently found myself doing, as so many in the world do, accusing God of the injustices this world has. Being one who normally goes to bat for Christ, I now sat on the side of the age old question…”If God is a God of love, why does He allow….?” I’ve heard this question far too often and have attempted to, on many occasions, answer it with some sort of theological answer. I was so bothered by what I saw this summer, I too accused Christ of injustice.
I took a small group of kids on a missions trip to Mexico in July. This was not a new thing, as I have led such trips yearly, and most recently in October of 2012. Some of my kids were so moved while on that trip, that they wanted to go back this summer. It was their passionate, steadfast desire that led us to move forward with the July trip. There were moments we thought about cancelling the trip, like when we saw the price of airline tickets to fly from Hawaii to the mainland and we questioned our ability to raise the money. But the kids persisted, feeling more assured each day that we were to go. It is a great thing to see the faith of the youth, who are not worried, nor question God’s ability to provide. And provide He did!
As Americans, anytime we go into Mexico, we are broken by the poverty that lies beyond the fence dividing the two countries. It is a great thing for young people to see just how good they have it living in the U.S. We were eager to see how God would use us on this trip. Within a day it was clear it would be a powerful trip! We went to visit an orphanage that we have been helping over the past few years. They were not expecting us; therefore we were able to see the needs they had in the rawest form. So often, as Americans, we come to meet the needs of others in the most gluttonous ways. What I mean by that is, we bring toys, clothes and candy with excited smiles to bless the little ones. That’s good to want to bless those in need, except when you see that the young ones most basic needs aren’t even being met. It changes your perspective!
We hurried out of our vans. I was holding a large box of granola bars that I couldn’t wait to give to the little kids. They all ran at me as if they had not eaten in days. Two and three year olds were begging me for food. I could not pass them out quick enough. As I looked down at these little beaming eyes, I couldn’t help but notice the filth they were covered in. Dripping noses and raw sores on the faces, diapers that had not been change for days and clothes that reeked of human waist. Little ones pulling on every side of me begging me for more. Many were extremely sick and clung to members of our team. We couldn’t carry enough of them! Within minutes they would fall asleep in our arms; maybe the only place they felt safe. The older kids were sneaking bars in their pockets, trying ever so hard to steal a bag of bars to go hide for later…truly so heartbreaking.
After leaving that day I was so sad, broken and disappointed. No young child should ever be faced to live in those conditions. We went and bought a ton of diapers and food to bring back with us. When we revisited the orphanage, the kids were so grateful to see us and once again they clung to us. When given an opportunity to love these little ones, you forget about any stench that accompanies them. You embrace them and flood their little faces with kisses. I held a very sick little boy (maybe a year and a half old) in my arms. Covered in dirt and so sad. I took baby wipe after baby wipe to clean his little face and hands. I then got a cup of water to try and hydrate him. The moments following still make me weep like a baby. Within seconds I was surrounded by toddlers begging me for “aqua” (water). They would take the cup of water and gulp it down as if it was the only drink they had in days. They were fighting each other for sips, I couldn’t keep the cup full. I also couldn’t hold back the tears that quickly turned into anger.
How can a God of love allow this to happen? How can these little kids be left to live like this? This is unjust and wrong! There are so many injustices in the world, so many heartbreaking sights and so much pain. If God is all loving, why does he allow this to be the case?
A week later I was visiting my uncle who in the past year was diagnosed with cancer. He is a man of faith, but I wouldn’t say that he passionately pursued the cross. A while back my aunt and I were talking on the phone and she shared how there was a bit of a somber feel in the house. “Unk” was feeling down and she asked me to pray for him. I encouraged her to play worship music in the house. I began praying for God to bring him a unexplainable peace in this time.
When I saw my uncle, I was blown away by his new found passion and love for God. He was on fire. I could see a difference in him. He was sharing a story with me about sharing his faith with a random guy in Nordstrom. One day after one of his treatments, my aunt needed to grab a couple things. My uncle went along and sat on a sofa in the store while my aunt did her shopping. There was a man a bit older than him, sitting in a chair next to him. As they began to talk, my uncle brought up Christ. This old man said, “I use to have faith and believe in God, but not anymore.” My uncle asked, “why not?” The man said, “Well, because I don’t see how a God of love could allow innocent people in Africa to die!” My uncle went on to say, “Sir, I don’t understand why bad things happen; however, I know God is faithful and loving and his heart breaks for the evil in the world too.” My uncle then said, “Sarah, what would you have said?”
That question was still being a very raw topic in my heart, I looked at my uncle and said “you responded perfectly.” I began to share with him about accusing God for all the evil I was seeing in Mexico, as these children begged me for basic needs. You see the hurts of this world should anger us enough to do something about it. I must say though, that as I questioned God that day, I felt Him speak very loudly to me. “Sarah, I have you here to quench their thirst, so give them water until they thirst no more. Instead of seeing the injustice, see My heart and be My hands and feet to them today.”
As believers, we are to be the shadow of Christ. We are to be a reflection of Him to the world around us. The most unfortunate thing is much of the church is not being obedient to respond to the calling of those in need. We sit ever so comfortably seeing the needs and hurting people, but often don’t do anything about it. A Christian is supposed to be Christ like. He met the needs of those while He walked this earth and left us with the Great Commission.
To go a step further, believers and unbelievers alike sit on our high thrones blurting out accusations about God when we ourselves do nothing about the world’s situation. We act as if we have a better way or act so high and mighty that we say it’s God’s fault. It is not Gods fault, we are not all-knowing and all-seeing. We have no clue how many people God sends out to meet the needs of others. We can not see how many (like we almost did), that sense the call but don’t go. Instead of responding to the tug on our hearts to go, we have a list of oppositions or requirements vs responding to the needs of others. This summer, had we, as leaders, not heard the call placed on our high schools students hearts, or had we not believed, with their faith, that God would make a way; had we not lived as sacrificially as they did, to give of our summer, we would have missed the opportunity to quench the thirst of nearly 100 kids that day.
Had my uncle not ever faced cancer, he might not have ever known the joy of passionately pursuing the cross. Without that passion he might not have been in Nordstrom that day, nor had the ability to restore the faith of one who once believed. God knows what He is doing. Don’t think for one second that His heart does not break for those who have need, and even more so for all those who have been called in some way, shape or form, but never go. It is not an issue of God failing, but us failing to follow the call.
I have recently been so burdened to share this huge lesson that I have learned from this experience. My encouragement to you, dear reader, is to go out and make a difference today in one life. It doesn’t take big bucks, big faith or a big name. It takes a willingness of one to quench the thirst of those put daily in our paths.
The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. HIS UNDERSTANDING IS UNSEARCHABLE . He gives POWER to the WEAK, And to those who have no might He increases strength.
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Often there are roller coaster moments for anyone who has made the commitment to serve the Lord with their life. There are times of great fruit, seeing God do amazing things in the lives of those you minister to daily. People can tend to have a false perspective that you are always good, almost forgetting that you too are dealing with life’s issues as well! There are seasons that seem dry, almost as if you are in the desert. Those seasons are difficult for any of us! You find yourself taking each step with eyes focused on the horizon, just waiting for the cooling rain to come and refresh you again.
Coming to Kauai was a huge step of faith in my walk with the Lord. I knew that God had put Kauai on my heart and had confirmed it in several ways. It is important to have assurance of the calling God places on your life. With assurance you will walk even when it is difficult (being a girl in ministry can be difficult, couple that with telling people God was calling me to Hawaii was definitely a major difficulty). One of the largest confirmations was when I found out how great the need was on the North Shore. There were a ton of kids yet no youth groups.
Upon arriving to Kauai I knew I was to reach out to the youth but I really didn’t know what that would look like. When my car came in on the barge, I picked it up and was like, “Ok Lord, what shall I do?” On my way home that day, I saw four kids hitchhiking on the side of the road with their boogie boards. Clearly, they needed a ride to the beach! I felt the Lord prompt my heart to pick them up, so I pulled over and they all got in. I took them to the beach and felt like I was to stay until they were finished and then take them home. It was a bit awkward for me; I was hoping I wasn’t scaring any of them (I really was hoping they didn’t think I was a weirdo)! When they were done I offered them a ride home, they were so stoked!
After dropping them off, I gave them my number and shared that I was there to hang out with youth and that if they needed anything, to just call and I would be available for them. The next morning, these smart boys called me again for another ride to the beach. The phone calls turned into a daily thing and we quickly became friends. They were trekking me all over the Island, showing me all the best spots. Within two weeks of meeting them, God opened the door for me to share Christ with them. They would ask me a hundred questions about the Bible and the Lord. These boys all within a month came to know the Lord and started inviting their friends to hang out. By the end of that summer I was squeezing 13 kids into my little Hyundai hatchback (Hawaii is much more lenient on those issues than the mainland). This birthed the start of the youth group.
Within a couple month of being on Kauai, I started working along side a church who had recently hired a new youth pastor. We were a great team for the Lord and saw God do amazing things. There were some issues that came up about me being a girl leading youth. I really didn’t give them much thought. For me, it was all about being obedient to the calling the Lord had placed on my life. People will always talk and or have their opinions. The only thing that matters is being obedience to the call placed on your life.
Is there a problem with a girl leaders? I won’t say that I too didn’t question it. There was only an issue for me when people tried to put a “title” attached to my name. In my eye, yes I was a girl, just being obedient!There was a need, God saw it and put me there to do something about it. I knew I was exactly where God wanted me! Girls, God can and will use you! It is unfortunate how few guys there are stepping up to the plate to serve. I’m not saying there are not guys,not that God only uses girls when there are no guys…that is not true!! I’m just saying there seems to be less and less guys willing to step up. Why is that?
I really didn’t know what a heated topic this was until we were filming Soul Surfer. Every media interview I did seemed to want to place a title to my name; they wanted to know what I called myself… Really title? I am a servant, I am a Jesus loving, youth leading, Bible teaching, praying without ceasing, seed planter, who is a girl. Yes, I have had churches and people debate weather or not I as a girl should be leading youth. God called me so the issue needs to be taken to Him.
There have definitely been times that this topic has taken a toll on me. There have been times that I have been out right disrespected as a girl. I have been talked down too, ignored, looked at funny, left out and even talked about. I have been weary, discouraged, I have cried tears privately with the Lord. I have questioned giving up and walking away. The one thing that I could not escape from was knowing the calling God placed on my heart. 1 Peter 2:10 say’s, “Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble.”
I knew the Lord would fight the battle for me. That might sound easier said than it was living it out. The road was difficult at times and still is. There will always be people and their bias of weather a girl could/should be leading such a ministry. God calls us to go into the harvest…He will use the ones who are willing to go. Everyone else who wants to sit and debate that issue is only wasting precious time!!
The Bible says we are to walk by faith, even when the storm is at hand and the end is afar off. If we say we believe in God, then we must trust Him even when people question us or our ability. We are to trust and walk even when we feel forgotten or even worse, rejected! You see God is not good and faithful only in the smooth seasons. He is faithful all the time.
I have had to trust that the Lord was training up something even in all the talk about me being a girl. I have had to learn to trust the calling the Lord put in my heart years ago, to step out in obedience and serve the youth of Kauai. I had to shut off the lies from the enemy and the world that told me how worthless or a failure. I had to daily look to Christ in order to gain strength to serve Him FAITHFULLY!!!
I have recently been asked more and more about being a girl in ministry. I have felt the Lord challenge me to be a voice on the topic. Not to set clear lines of what girls can or can’t do but to encourage young girls to be obedient when they feel called. Be obedient to the call. Consider the many female leaders in the scripture starting with Miriam (Micah 6:4)—she led during the time of Moses. In the New Testament we find Anna (Luke 2:36) and Philip’s daughters (Acts 21:9) the young prophetesses on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:17) and all the women who prayed and prophesied in Corinth (see 1 Corinthians 11). This is far from being an exhaustive list. God used them because they were willing and obedient.
God is who places the call on our lives. Men and women alike make the choice to respond to that call. We need to make our prayer that God would remove the obstacles in our lives that keep us from absolute obedience to Him. I am a girl, I love Jesus and I love that He chooses to use me to be His hands and feet in this world. If you never step out of the boat, you will never walk on water!
1 Cor. 15:58