I’m standing in the back of the room, observing the activity of hundreds of little girls running to and from each game station around the room. I’d just finished receiving my check on stage…these precious, beautiful girls (and I know their parents helped, too ) raised a heap of money for me during the whole month of April…and I can’t even come up with the adequate words to express my gratitude.
It all comes down to a pathetic little “thank you” that I mean with all of my heart.
I help out at a game station where the goal is to stack as many dice on top of a popsicle stick as you can, all while holding the stick in your mouth. It actually requires a lot of concentration, and results in lots of giggles and exasperated sighs.
There’s a talent show going on, many of the girls are lined up for a chance to sing or dance or hula hoop on stage :), it’s pretty cute to watch!
And I’m just standing there, in the back of the room…observing and laughing at the antics of hundreds of K-5th grade girls as they run around. And it happens.
All of the sudden she runs up to me with a notebook and a pen and I hear the words that come out of her mouth as she giggles, “Can I have your autograph, please?”
I stare as I try to process quickly what is happening.
I can’t stare too long or she’ll think I don’t want to give her an autograph. Say something quick!
I stammer a bit, and all that comes out of my mouth as it hangs slightly open is “Uhhhhh…..sure!”
Then I regain a little more composure, and I tell her that she is the very first person I have ever signed an autograph for. I take her notebook in hand and she gives me her pen.
I quickly try to remember what other people have done when they signed autographs for me.
It’s been a while since I’ve gotten an autograph, and those people were way cooler than me.
So I ask for her name. And I proceed to sign my name with “Lots of love” and a smiley face, of course.
I am SO not good at this, I think.
I wish I could speak in a clear way to tell her to focus on Jesus, not me. It’s not about me.
But I also feel Jesus tell me that this is ok…this is just another way to show love to the girls.
Ok, Lord, but it feels really weird.
She says thank you, I say “you’re welcome,” and she runs away giggling to her friend, “I got her autograph!!!”
[and right on cue, my cheeks start to turn a deeper shade of pink…]
All I can do is smile awkwardly…because that’s how I react to everything.
And that’s when I realize I forgot the Bible verse.
Oh nooo! Okay…next time! Riiiiggght….like there’s gonna be a next time.
And I’m still standing there, slightly stunned and feeling very silly.
See, girls…this is me.
I’m just Jess.
I’m not really that cool.
I appreciate that you thought so…but I’m really not that important.
The only cool thing I have going for me is Jesus and The World Race.
[Oh wait. Ok. That’s the point, I guess. There’s a lot of reasons why this is good.]
They’re learning about missions at a very young age, and they’re learning how to give.
That’s so so so so so cool.
And then her friend, who has needed some time to muster up the courage to come get an autograph from me,
runs over to me with a big grin on her face.
“Oh yay,” I think, “A second chance! I can include a Bible verse!”
I know. I think too much sometimes.
So again, I ask her name, sign my name, and triumphantly add the only Bible verse that comes to mind.
Jeremiah 29:11. My favorite.
Ok, I feel a little redeemed now.
And so, I signed 2 autographs last night. My first and most likely my last. But they made an impact, because it made me think of the autographs that I’ve gotten over the years and how cool and awesome those people seemed. But now as I’m older, I realize.
When it comes down to it, it’s just a piece of paper with ink on it that came from a pen in the hand of a person that simply loves Jesus.
It’s not about celebrity status, or my ego getting built up, or my extreme confidence and super spirituality. Not at all!
It’s about His Kingdom. It’s about sharing and showing His love.
I think God has revealed more of His love to me in this time, simply by being loved and “adored,” by these precious girls, if you will. It’s not one teeny bit about me…and a part of me feels guilty when I see some of the girls’ faces as they look at me. I know that look. I was there too. And a part of me wants to scream at them, “Don’t look at me, girls, look to Jesus!” And all I can do is love and smile and wave and hug and shine His love as best I can. The rest is up to God and I know He’s planting seeds in each of these beautiful girls’ hearts. There’s a reason my friend Hannah pushed me to come speak. There’s a reason I actually stepped foot on that stage and told the girls my story. There’s a reason they listened. There’s a reason that they raised so much money for me, for me and for them…giving them exposure to a young missionary and in turn teaching them how to give, and as a result, humbling me in a huge, huge way. There’s a reason behind every smile I give. It’s Jesus. I pray He shines through me and that it’s used to glorify Him.