I May Be Small, but My God is HUGE!
This coming weekend, a group of our church’s young women are collecting prom dresses to go to students who can’t afford to buy them on their own. Even students who didn’t have a dress to donate wanted to get involved; so, this Sunday, I get the joy of accompanying a group of high schoolers and young adults on a shopping trip where we’ll put all our money together and find “the perfect dress” not for one of us, but for someone we don’t even know.
A few weeks ago, one of the high school seniors at my church organized a Bald-4-Bucks campaign at her school. Through her efforts she was able to get 25 students and staff at her high school to join her in shaving their heads to raise money and awareness for Roswell Park Cancer Institute here in Buffalo. She saw a need and had the desire to do something about it, even if it meant sacrificing her beautiful long hair. When encouraged and supported by her friends and the school staff, amazing things happened and lives will be changed because of the $15,000 they raised.
Over and over again in my job, I find myself amazed at what young women are capable of doing with a little encouragement and support. I shouldn’t be surprised, because I’ve seen it true in my life when older women believed in me.
Like when I was in college working as a Residence Hall Coordinator. As I interacted with the resident assistants and residents I led and served, the stories I heard day after day were filled with pain, hurt, and rejection. Abuse, self-injury, eating disorders, and more were more common among the girls at my university than even I wanted to believe. The more I saw this, the angrier I got and the more I realized: I had to do something.
I started talking with some friends and a mentor I had at the time and before we knew it, Unfading Beauty, an group for women on our campus, was born. The task before us seemed daunting; yet, by the next semester we had events, Bible Studies, worship nights, and more planned for the students and faculty—one for each week of the semester. Three years later, by God’s grace alone, Unfading Beauty and its mission remain alive and active on the campus:
“Unfading Beauty is dedicated to helping the women of Concordia combat the world’s distorted definition of beauty in order that they may find freedom, identity, and wholeness in the truth of Christ. We also pray that they would express their God-given desire to be beautiful in healthy ways which in turn will impact the lives of others.”
All of this happened because a few friends and a mentor encouraged me to not let this passion fade. They could have easily said, “But Bekah, it’s such a big problem, how could we every do anything?” But instead, they joined me in the cause and reminded me that with God, all things are possible. When I graduated two years ago, I had no doubt that Unfading Beauty would continue to impact lives because God was the powerful force behind it. Now, I get to be the one encouraging and supporting the current leaders, as well as the young women in my congregation, to keep on making a difference.
Who are you encouraging today? Are your words speaking life into others? You might find yourself amazed again and again at what God can do through you and those you are encouraging!
“When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger. Then what you say will do good to those who listen to you.” Ephesians 4:29 (NCV)