Fully Surrendered: Charity’s Story

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you so that in all things and at all times, you may have all that you need, and you will abound to every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  2 Corinthians 12:9

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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 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!       

Charity is a young woman on fire for Jesus and with a passion for teaching.  But when she first felt the Lord tugging at her heart to work with kids while she herself was still in school, she at first said “No.”  The Lord graciously continued to draw her heart in this area.  Once she began working with elementary-aged students on a volunteer basis while in high school, her heart fell in love with it.  It was there that I (Jenni) first met Charity, and she would one day complete some of her practicum teaching in my classroom.  She also joined the women’s Bible study that was the eventual springboard for Beth and me to launch The Wholehearted Woman.  Charity’s love for Jesus and tenacious spirit are infectious wherever she goes. 

Today, Charity is a full time teacher.  But her journey to get there required courage, a lot of work, and an ongoing experience of God’s ever-sufficient grace.  Charity is the first person in her family to graduate college.  When she shared her story with us, she was at home recovering from Covid counting the days when she could return to her classroom of fifth graders.  She has shared how it is hard for her not to be able to meet each and every need of her students, but she knows Jesus has it under control.  Oh, what a difference choosing a fully surrendered life to Christ makes in our own lives and the lives of others!  This is Charity’s story…

Will you tell us about your journey of becoming a teacher? How have you experienced God?   

A running theme that has been pretty consistent in this whole thing is that His grace is sufficient because in every situation that I’ve been in, He may not have fixed the situation, but He’s provided the grace to help me get through.  So my story begins when I told God, “No,” that I would never work with children in the summer of 2011.  By October of that year, I was actually at Garfield Elementary, a local school near my high school.  Amanda, a mentor friend of mine from church, had asked me to volunteer some time to walk her kids in a homecoming parade.  And of course I said yes because I looked up to her and would do anything that I could for her.  I actually got into a fender bender right before that (His grace is sufficient!) and was able to still make it to Garfield and walk her class in the parade.

Then I started going every Tuesday to volunteer in her classroom, working with kids, reading, tutoring, and that sort of thing.  So even though I had told God no, He extended grace to me, and I ultimately found my love for kids and teaching through that time.  That turned into an everyday thing where I was able to go to Garfield regularly, and so His grace was extended to me when I was working with kids and showing them through His love what Christ looks like.  Every time I had lunch with a kid, every time I talked with a kid, every time I helped a kid with his work, the heart and the mindset behind that was always Christ glorified, and may Christ be lifted up in this.

After high school graduation, I completed two years at Tulsa Community College near my home.  That was free (His grace is sufficient – always!)  Then my first semester at Oklahoma State University came along, and that one was the tough one.  So I transferred to OSU, used up all my financial aid, had a $2000 outstanding balance and wasn’t able to pay it (His grace is sufficient!)  I remember going to the financial aid office, and I was like, “I don’t have any more financial aid.  I have nothing.”  They asked me if my grandparents could provide, and my grandmother was actually just diagnosed cancer within the same week of me finding out that I was going to actually have to drop out of school and go home to get some money put back.  (His grace is sufficient!)

I worked two jobs.  I was in an office job that I worked at for 3 to 4 years actually, which I worked 8-5 each day and then was working 6-10 p.m. in the evenings at a Dollar General. That was my “spring semester” – working full time and then some after dropping out of college for a time to work that next semester, and I was able to return to college later that year in fall of 2016.  (His grace is sufficient!)  I was able to stay in school.  I worked full time and did school part time, but I was able to pay school out of pocket.  I still have a little bit of student loan debt, but not much because I was able to pay so much out of pocket.  I was still able to substitute teach, I was able to make it through my student teaching, and I was able to graduate in May, 2019! 

James 2 says, “So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless…Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works” (verses 17 & 26).  Because of those “hindrances” I experienced, because of all of those “works,” it really did improve and strengthen my faith.  

Then and now, how have you cultivated a fully surrendered heart to Christ? How has God led you to be on mission for His purposes?

Teaching is a profession that has truly showed me how God loves us. No matter what mistakes my kids make, I will always love them. And a thousand times more, the Father loves me. God has led me to be on mission for His purpose by reminding me that it’s not about “going somewhere” like a mission trip to be on mission, but to see His cross and be mindful of His sacrifice for me and each one of my students on a daily basis. He is my Savior, as well as my students’ Savior. It’s not about crossing the sea, but seeing the cross.  (His grace is sufficient!)

And now I work back in my home school district, but I am also teaching kids where the odds are against them; I’m teaching them that even if you’re poor, maybe you’re not “smart enough,” maybe you’re a first generation college kid, that doesn’t mean that you can’t create a better future and a good life for yourself.  God has allowed my story to encourage them to apply those lessons to their life.  And of course, being fully surrendered to Christ, because I was in Christ through this whole thing, He showed Himself faithful.  Every single time, He extended to me the grace that I needed in those moments where I didn’t think that life could get any tougher.  Even after working 80 years a week, He still showed Himself faithful, and He still shows Himself faithful even with me working in the classroom now as a teacher.  I am still able to tell kids to believe in themselves, I am able to lift them up, I am able to give life to them…and off the record, my kids are asking about Jesus, and I get to tell them because they’ve asked questions. 

His grace is sufficient in EVERY part of my life, and living the fully surrendered life to Him allows Him to work in my classroom and in my students every single day because I’m surrendered to Him, and because He provides me with the grace that I need for each and every day. HE is in my classroom, He is working in the lives of my students whether they know it or not, and He has shown Himself faithful in every step of the journey!    

Visit the link below to lean in to this call to live a fully surrendered life to Jesus like Charity and so many other Wholehearted Women!

https://wholeheartedwoman.live/2019/01/07/being-a-wholehearted-woman-it-matters/

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Check out our 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.

Now available through Barnes and NobleWestbow PressWalmart, and other bookstores.