Earlier in the week, I posted the first entry in a series dedicated to the fast-approaching release of Taylor Swift’s new album, “reputation”. My intention was to write a post about each album on its release date, but… that didn’t happen. My nights were filled with another kind of writing, as God gave me an opportunity to share my heart in a way I never could have imagined: a sermon at church on Sunday.
The weekend before last, I and a few others in my church’s youth group went on a retreat. We spent the weekend in a beautiful lake home with our youth leader and our priest. The home belonged to a friend of the priest’s, and she and her husband were wonderful hosts and incredibly kind and gracious. We were able to spend time with the Lord alone as well as discuss different aspects of the Bible as a group, and it was a wonderful opportunity to grow closer to God and one another. Towards the beginning of the retreat, as we spoke about finding God in all persons and situations, I talked about my sweet friend Kate. I shared about her incredible courage, and the way her mom has continued clinging to the Lord and trusting Him since her passing. They both inspire me so much.
A little later, our priest, who had come with us, told me that I should preach sometime. “What about next Sunday, for youth Sunday?” she asked. I told her I’d love to, but I didn’t know what I had to say that was important. “Share Kate’s story,” she answered.
I was overjoyed. I couldn’t wait to tell everyone about the little girl I love and that touched my life. So as soon as we went home, I began writing it. It was a unique writing process, unlike anything I’ve ever written before. I rode a roller coaster of emotions. One moment, I was filled with joy and excitement at telling everyone about her; the next, I felt my heart break and I fought back the tears burning behind my eyelids. I miss her. I wanted to see her again; I wanted to hug her and pray with her and get to know her. Her light was beautifully bright, and the world is dimmer without her.
But that was exactly the reason I had to give this sermon: telling her story would keep her light alive. It would give her an opportunity to have a voice and to touch even more lives. With that in mind, I said a prayer, asking that He would use my words to allow her to inspire others, and powered through the pain, eventually crafting a sermon I hope she would have loved.
Sunday morning, I preached at both our early and our late service. In the early service, as a result of nerves and trying to hold back tears, I read too quickly. But even then, people came up to me to tell me they were touched by her story, and I’d told it beautifully. I had wanted my words to capture her beauty, and their compliments let me know I’d accomplished my goal.
I spent the time between the two services practicing, rereading over my words and praying for His help in slowing down. Our priest came over and we prayed together, asking for His guidance and that I would have the strength to make it through it, one more time.
God answered that prayer, and the one I’d said as I wrote, in a beautiful way. As I finished, applause filled the room, and I was approached again and again after the service by people who told me they had been touched and inspired by what I’d written. Those words meant the world to me. I was honored that the Lord would use me to be His vessel to impact lives, and the entire experience was a reminder that every part of our lives is a piece in His plan. All I did was share my heart, and He opened a door for me to help sweet Kate make an even bigger difference.
How has He been working in your life lately?