Fears, Failures, Frustrations to Passion

One of my biggest fears coming into this trip was my inability to naturally encourage, affirm and motivate people. I did not know how I was going to co-lead a young adult women’s mission trip when I did not know how to encourage or affirm them.  Or did I know why God was calling me to do so.

Within our second week here, I received some constructive feedback after a conversation with one of the girls on the team. She told me that after our conversation about some personal things, she did not feel cared for or encouraged by me. This hit me really hard. I was aware that I struggled to express my thoughts and feelings, but to know that my inability to express that; actually made her feel the complete opposite from the truth, because I do care about her and love her.

I believe that I feel a lot. I love people. I believe in them, I desire great things for them, but I have struggled knowing how to express that. And most of that struggle lies in the fact that I typically do not think that it matters if I tell them how I feel. But it hurt me a lot to know that people were leaving a conversation with me where they felt uncared for and possibly discouraged. That is not like Jesus at all, and I want to be like Jesus!

So I started trying to learn. I tried to speak more encouragement and more affirmation, but it always felt so unnatural to me. I actually believed the things I was saying, but I did not think it was important to say them, thus feeling as if I was forcing them.


The past few weeks things have started to change.

We are working with incredible women who used to work in the bars. The pain and brokenness they have suffered is beyond what I could ever imagine. These women now know Jesus and know who they are in Him. But the past few weeks I have seen where it is still necessary to remind them!

Here are three examples the Lord used to teach me:

1. I had an urge to simple tell one lady “I love you” when I was telling her goodnight. I did not express my thoughts, but continued to think about it for days. I then became curious as to who tells this women who works tirelessly for others constantly that they love her? It made me sad to think that very few people may actually tell her that on a sufficient basis.

2. Another day my heart stopped when I saw one of the women come into my view. She too used to work in the bars. My heart stopped because I was seriously overtaken by how gorgeous she is! Her smile is just one of those smiles full kindness, joy and love. The next evening I was mentioning how I saw this lady and my team told me that just this week she was saying that she thought of herself as fat and not attractive. I was speechless! How could a lady who literally took my breath away because of her beauty think she is not beautiful!

3. Another lady at the ministry quit working in the bars just a few months ago. I had heard that she took to the truth of the Gospel so quickly and has even tried to go help her friends who continue to work in the bars. But she came to me one morning with a secret telling me that she was sad. She told me that she had gone back to work the night before and did not want me to tell anyone. I was heartbroken and told her “I want you here” and then began to cry. This lady seemed so firm in the truth and I could not believe or understand why she returned.


I think often times community can run dry if we are not careful. At the beginning there is so much teaching, encouragement and love, but after the routine begins to kick in, thoughts and feelings go to the way side. I thought about this with the situation with the last lady. At the beginning she was told regularly that Jesus loved her and people were given her ‘special’ attention (which should be normal), but after she believes in God, we quit telling her of his truths and his thoughts about her. And it can be easy to forget or begin to doubt them.

It was after that third experience that I realized how I see people and how I feel about people can be crucial to their own beliefs and their own actions. My heart began to break and I felt like it was my job to tell people how greatly they are loved and honored and valued!

I am thankful that my prayers to learn to express myself better has come to a place of real desire. I pray that I will continue to remember this need and continue to tell people why they are so wonderful!

I encourage you too, to be encouraged to go speak beautiful words over those around you today, and every day!

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