Sunday, October 26, 2008

Teens, Ilinois and an Army guy

You know I love fashion and all things related. But I've come to realize that God wired my brain towards teen girls in the most amazing way. And not just any teen girl.
This weekend I spoke in Monticello, Illinois and from the minute Patti (my assitant) and I boarded the early morning plane on Friday to the time we landed back in Charlotte on Saturday night, it was a struggle. A struggle because God had some BIG things for us to do and ugly satan was trying to get in the way.
If you ever thought that ministry only happens when you speak from a stage, you are so wrong. On the way to Atlanta, on the first leg of the trip, I got to sit between 2 wonderful women (yes, I got the middle seat and was completely crunched with my long legs on my 5'11" body) but God had some plans I didn't think of. I got to listen to a woman's struggle with her 16 year old step-daughter. It's not a mistake that God would want me to encourage her and give her a few ideas that worked for me as I was raising my triplet teen step daughters.
Patti sat in "her" middle seat behind me and got to talk to a guy who was going thru some things she had already gone thru and encourage him. He got to give her some tips on handling one of her children that he had dealt with, therefore, encouraging her.
Our plane was delayed in Atlanta so the event coordinators got a little worried if we'd get there on time.
My husband and I argued from early morning and seemed like every phone conversation was a struggle. Right before we were to get picked up at the hotel to head to the event, I had a phone conversation with my husband and I was so upset I cried when I hung up. I felt so upset I didn't even think I could minister that evening. But, you see, God had someting else in mind and satan knew it. He was mad so he tried to throw me off guard.
In the audience that evening, were 12 girls from a place called Teen Challenge. I don't know what happened but the minute I stepped on the stage, my eyes found them and I could see their hearts. And thankfully, they could see mine. We connected.
Patti told me later that she could tell I was on a mission. She said the look on my face was a give away. During the break, I went up to her and with a deadpan look, I announced I was giving my testimony.
You see, that wasn't part of the plan. That was for Saturday's event, with a different audience. But God had a different idea.
So, I gave it.
And oh how we cried afterwards with these girls. And prayed. One girl had gotten pregnant at her young 18 year old age and had an abortion because her parents made her. She couldn't get over it and felt soooo guilty. One girl didn't know why her parents had sent her away. She was unwanted. The stories go on.
They wanted to know if they could write to me...and if I would answer.
Patti and I layed hands on them and prayed over them. We took pictures. We laughed, but mostly we cried and shared the love of Christ. Because you know, that's all they have to cling to in this world. And honestly, that's all any of us have to cling to.
I was exhausted and then had to do it all over on Saturday. And again, ministry happened. A woman came up to me with her newborn, and she was crying, hard. She had a past filled with regrets and decided that day to lay it at the cross. There were little girls that committed to a life of purity. There were several who laid their eating disorders at the feet of Jesus.
They laid down sexual abuse, affairs, money problems, obsessive relationships, self hatred.
On the way home, I was so sick to my stomach all I wanted to do was lay down. And then God sat me next to a guy dressed in an Army uniform, heading home for 20 day leave.
And again, God asked me to share the love of Christ with him. The entire flight, in the dark airplane, we talked. And talked. And talked some more. I don't know what he'll do with the information I shared, but all I know is God wanted me to do it. I was tired. I didn't feel good.
I told him the truth about Jesus. I was bold, but motherly. He was 19 years old. His earthly mother had rejected him. He had been physically abused by his step father. He didn't see his father much. And all that matters is that he knows Jesus. I had to tell him. I didn't have a choice. And that's what God asks me and you to do. I promised I'd pray for him. His name is Christopher. Will you pray for him sometimes, too?
Today I'm pretty exhausted. Tomorrow as my son heads to Washington DC with his 8th grade class, my husband and I are going to take a few days off and go to Myrtle Beach and reconnect and spend quality time with each other and with God.
I know I haven't written much lately, and as you may or may not know, I travel every single weekend speaking somewhere about fashion. Oh yes, and God. Without God, there would be no ministry for me. He just happens to let me use my passion for fashion to reach others for Him.
How cool is that?
I have a challenge question for you today.
What is your passion? Did you ever think that God could use it for His glory?
He can. And you can.
Blessings y'all,


Valarie said...

Girl, God is SO cool! I love how He turned your agenda upside down for His glory!! LOVE it!

Hey, I got stopped in the hall this morning at Church by a beautiful woman who says "I believe you may know my sister....Shari"!! Yes girl, I met that sweet sister of yours! Beauty runs in the family girl!! I was so disappointed because I didn't get to see you - and I haven't since you started there but then right smack in the middle of worship I look up to see someone in the balcony just gettin' her praise on and lo and's YOU!!! I wanted to jump up and down and wave at you, but figured Dr. Doug may not appreciate that kind of behavior from the platform!! teehee

Get some rest this week and love on that man of yours girl! Love to ya!

Marybeth said...

Hey Shari-- that was a great post. I love that you shared your story and it just deepened your ministry. God has a plan to use your passion for fashion for sure. Thanks for encouraging us all to see our passions as open doors for ministry!

Sorry about Luke-- please tell him all his siblings wish him well!

Leebird said...

Hi there,

Thanks for visiting my blog, Shari! I am so glad your weekend had God's fingerprints all over it. Thank you for being a vessel He can use. And thanks for the sweet encouragement you gave to me on my blog. I'm excited to start walking in wholeness. My joy has just been bubbling over all the day long! :)

Leebird from AZ

C. said...

I am so grateful that you came to Monticello this past weekend! I could feel the impact that God had on those girls by using you like He did...(and does!) :)

Praying that you get some much needed rest! You deserve it!

Thanks again for being such a blessing to me!

ThreeGirlyGirls said...

Oh Shari, I love it when you write like this! What an amazing God we serve! I love your heart and your passion for him! Get some rest and I hope to see you on Wed night!


Alyce said...

Hi Shari..
Sounds like you had an amazing weekend! God truly blessed you and others!
Have a wonderful time away...if you haven't seen Fireproof, why don't you two fit that in while you're away ;-)

Renee Swope said...

LOVED this post. I know you are exhausted which makes it that much sweet that you took time to tell of HIS glory. WoW - girl you have come a long way in your "preaching"! I'll never forget the day you sat across me at our first lunch together and told me your story but then clearly stated that you were called to speak on fashion and weren't sure you'd ever be able to share your story. I knew then that God was going to blow your mind with His plans because His heart and His hand is so clearly displayed in the story He's written for your life. I am so glad you are a woman who listen to HIM!!!!!!! I am so excited about how He is using you to love on and lead so many women and girls to the foot of the cross. I pray today for each person you met and each divine appointment where you chose to be absolutely surrendered in obedience to Him. You are so beautiful - from the inside out!!!!!!!!

Let's do lunch when you get back from the beach!

I'll call yoU!

April said...

God is so good!!!! HE IS SO GOOD!! getting excited Shari, getting excited!!

Racquel Simone said...

Shari! I LOVED this post. My passion is all things beauty and I am a makeup artist. In the 2nd week of November I'll be working an event for Shu Uemura at Nordsstrom with Madonna's makeup artist. I have no idea what the good Lord is up to, but I KNOW that I am being positioned to share my faith by means of my passion. This post was such a blessing!

Gabie said...

HOLLLAAA...guess who? yes, maam. Your sister Gabie. this sounds like my trip to PERU only the instructions were all in Spanish. love you much.