I can still feel the sting of his sarcasm. I was absorbed in my schoolwork when a popular boy in our 7th grade class leaned in and whispered, “You will make a great poet someday!”
Stunned that he acknowledged my existence and spoke into my secret dream of writing, I asked why.
“Because you remind me of Longfellow,” he sneered. “Look at your feet!”
No need to look. I was painfully aware my feet were longer than his. Maybe the biggest in the class. I tucked them under my chair and took another step deeper into my insecurities. I believed the lie that good plans didn’t belong to ordinary girls like me.
What I didn’t recognize at the time was the work of a bigger bully seeking to steal, kill and destroy a young woman God called His own. (John 10:10)
Can you identify where war has been waged against God’s plans and purpose for you?
One of my battlefields was middle school. In one classroom was a bully, but in the next was Mrs. B. My favorite teacher had this red pen that was always, always with her. That pen was in constant motion, and it did its share of correcting.
But much more than that, it encouraged. Mrs. B. used her red words and her real love for God and kids to fight for the next generation. That dear lady saw something in me long before I could see it in myself. And it changed everything.
The Apostle Paul got that. Along with Timothy’s grandmother and mother, Paul believed in Timothy. He called him a true son in the faith. He prayed for him day and night, spoke grace and truth into his life and urged Timothy to follow his example.
In 2 Timothy 1:13, Paul wrote, “What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.”
God used Paul to fight for Timothy. And it not only shaped Timothy and the church he served, but by God’s grace, it’s still strengthening the universal church today!
Sweet sister, who believed in you before you believed in yourself? Was it your grandmother, mother or a teacher like Mrs. B.? Maybe a coach spoke life into you or a family friend gently squeezed your shoulder — no words necessary — to let you know she saw you and was there for you? Even in the battles when it felt like you stood defenseless and alone, there is One who was always, is always for you. Jesus believes in you; He is your hope and help!
Often He makes His power and presence known through His people. We need each other. When we’re pushed down, we need people who prop us up and believe in us. So does the next generation. They need women like Mrs. B., people like you and me who use our lives to show the love of Jesus to every child in our sphere of influence. Women who give it their all so the next generation can know Jesus is for them, too.
Is that challenging? Exhausting? Inconvenient? Yes. Paul got that, too. As he mentored Timothy, he was facing a probable death by martyrdom. But he kept his eyes on the eternal instead of the easy.
Paul fought for Timothy in prayer (2 Timothy 1:3), urged him to fight the good fight of the faith (1 Timothy 6:12) and poured himself out like a drink offering as he showed Timothy what it looked like to finish the race well. (2 Timothy 4:6-7)
Though the battle is real and relentless, it’s worth it; it changes lives. One child at a time.
Dear God, thank You for every person You’ve placed in my life to show me who You are and who You say I really am. Give me the love, strength and stamina to fight for the next generation in prayer and in person. Use me to magnify Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Timothy 1:18, “Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well.” (NIV)
Make sure the girls in your life always know Jesus is for them. SHINE brightly and Sparkle Magazines help girls see their true value and worth as daughters of the King, and they’re a lot of fun, too! Check them out, here.
You can learn more about GEMS Girls’ Clubs here, reaching girls everywhere with the message of God’s love!
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Take the time to speak God’s love into someone today with your prayers and presence. Let them know: You are not alone. You can do it. I’m for you.
Who believed in you before you believed in yourself? If possible, say thanks to that special person today.
© 2018 by Lenae Bulthuis. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks GEMS Girls’ Clubs for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.