“Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us.” 1 John 4:11–12
“That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers.” Psalm 1:3
What a year it has been! But it is not over yet. No matter what season of life you are in, God is calling you to a place of deep and wholehearted relationship with Him. We desire to see women empowered to live their Christian faith confidently with transformed minds and hearts. Psalm 33:11 & 14–15 says, “The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.”
Our mission is helping women be fully surrendered to the lordship of Jesus Christ and courageously on-mission for Him – one heart at a time. One of the ways we do that is by sharing real-life stories of Christian women both past and present who have decided to follow Jesus wholeheartedly in this way. We pray that each story told over the next few months is used by God to fashion your individual heart, to know and experience Him even more deeply, and to joyfully do His will to His glory!
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A year and a half ago, we (Beth & Jenni) hosted a book signing at a local workout studio. A sweet friend of ours owns it and created an event involving a short and upbeat workout, brunch, and heart-to-heart conversation. Each woman there was a Wholehearted Woman with a heart of love for the Lord and unique influence in the season God had called her to. It was on this spring morning that we met BJ. It was a passing interaction, but I (Jenni) found her on Facebook, and a social media friendship turned into an authentic connection.
BJ is a mom, wife, children’s pastor, and connector of people to God’s heart and each other. She recently has been in a new season that was not exactly comfortable for her at first. But BJ has boldly embraced it as God’s undeniable timing with the rising swell of calls for increased racial justice in our nation. Our Lord is always at work making His plans and purposes come to pass and helping us to personally experience Him. We asked BJ to share about the season she has been in this year. This is BJ’s story…
Will you tell us about this new season you are in? How have you experienced God throughout it?
I am so blessed to share about my journey with the Lord. I am currently occupying the space of a teacher, in student ministry. Children’s Pastor is what they call me. It is a rewarding, challenging, honest, spiritual space. I thought… if I keep my head down and teach the children, I would find success in God’s will. I did find success in His will, however… He wanted more.
I discovered a discarded me…in the process.
A me that had been abandoned, by me, for acceptance from others.
God said, it’s time for YOU, to LOVE who I created…the YOU who I created YOU to be…brown skin and all. God began to birth in me a stance for spiritual justice of others that look like me. He spoke to me to create a safe place. A place where those who look like me can express their beauty. The beauty an ugly world had shut them out of, in so many ways.
As this stance was building inside me, the death of George Floyd occurred. I was heartbroken. I looked for other leaders to speak out for me, to defend those who looked like me. God cradled me in His arms and gently said, You do it. You speak out about the injustice that is happening. It was a big step to present the discarded me, risking the acceptance of friends, especially those who did not look like me. Out of that step of faith, Race to the Finish was born. Race to the Finish is a candid conversation about humanity’s colorful differences. How beautiful those differences are to our Creator; how beautiful our differences are on earth if looked at through God’s eyes of love instead of the world’s eyes of hate.
How has choosing a fully surrendered heart to God led you to be on-mission for His purposes?
The reflection of God in me cultivated my heart. Only the true masterpiece God has created in us can allow us to commune with Him. Everything else allows us to seek a shallow acceptance in this frail world that changes at a moment’s notice. God NEVER changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
This definitely plays a role in being on-mission. The goal of Race to the Finish is to provide ongoing opportunities for “an honest talk about race relations in our nation.” But what is unique is how we make this happen: With honest conversation and the expression of Christ’s love. 1 John 4:11–12 says, “Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us.” We are “bridging the gap with love.”
We just created a “Race to the Finish” Facebook page and Youtube channel. If as many as possible would go out and like the page and subscribe to the channel, it would help us to continue the conversation… God dreams in color, not in black and white.
Check out the links below to hear more from BJ’s heart!
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For more stories like this one, check out the book The Wholehearted Woman: Who She is and Why She Matters by sisters and co-authors, Jenni Walker and Beth Doohan. With heartfelt messages that will challenge your faith, stories of other Wholehearted Women, and reflection questions to dive deeper, this is a great resource for personal devotion or small group study!