Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about God’s grace in my life. As I stand in this spot outside one of the buildings on my college campus, waiting for my class to start, I’m reminded of who I was when I stood in this exact same spot three and a half years ago.
It was September of 2015 when I first stood here, taking shelter from the rain, while waiting for the strange man I had an on-the-spot Bible study with on that patch of grass the week before. It definitely felt strange to be waiting for a bearded man wearing a backpack and carrying a Bible in his hand. Honestly, I never would have pictured myself saying yes to a random person asking me if I wanted to study the Bible. Because of my suspicious nature, I only gave him 10 minutes—and I made him sit on the ant-infested grass. But when I heard him explain the one small passage of John 1:1-5, I was amazed (although I made sure to hide it).
When I think about that moment in 2015, I am touched. The girl who sat in that spot in 2015 was so lost and broken, carrying around deep pain, mistrust, and a sense of worthlessness. It was nothing short of God’s amazing grace that somehow in that dark place, a beam of light came my direction. Each week, for over a year, God’s servant would meet me after a long day of work, usually at a fast food restaurant where he would try to beat me there and quickly scarf down dinner right before. You wouldn’t even know he had 5 million other things going on in his life, because during each Bible study he was so calm, sincere, and focused. It really was a glimpse of God’s personal and deeply attentive character. Over time and through the patient, loving guidance of a human servant, I came to know how much the God of the universe loved me. It was this love of God that unlocked all the bolted doors in my heart and filled my deepest voids.
And today, I can stand in the same exact spot as a totally different person. Instead of tears of emptiness and sadness filling my eyes, I pour out tears of thanks and happiness. Instead of a directionless wanderer trying to find an identity in any place or person who would accept me, I have confidence in my identity as a shepherd for Jesus’ lost sheep on my campus. Now, I am blessed to be that beam of light that came to me for many other students. And as I stand in this spot again, I can even reflect on God’s good plans for my life. He has given me a hope and a future—and he even guided me to the Master’s in social work program, which was right down the walkway from the place I was standing. Praise God for this glorious spot. Even though to many it just looks like a regular cement walkway by a patch of grass, to me it is a place where heaven met earth.
We testify that Jesus can change feet washing water to the best wine ever! Let’s fill our ministry with wine-like people!
“Quickly scarf down dinner” xD
And don’t forget different hair color.
I still can’t believe you were that black hair girl I would always see in the USU sitting in bible study with John Boos!!
Remembering God’s grace… I need to be careful to do this more so that I don’t get carried away with present challenges and temptations.
Very encouraged 🙂
Wonderful testimony. God’s love is very sincere and beautiful.
Beautiful testimony of God’s love and grace in your life sis!!! I was reminded of God’s grace in my life at El Camino on July 8, 2010 room A in the library. After that bible study i was overjoyed and forgot how sad and restless I felt before. 🙏🙌
Thank you for this beautiful testimony. I can tell that whatever God does is always wonderful and heart-moving.
I remember when you served your message at your first conference last year… I felt God’s passionate love for you in my heart… God’s love and work in your life is so glorious Melissa <333
Praise God for his wonderful work in your life. Perhaps, one day you will fish a student there, and that student might share similar testimony about that place. Haha.
This is an awesome testimony that I think everyone should hear. It is so beautiful to think about that this was how “heaven and earth met”. It might not mean much to others, but to you, it really was like God’s way of salvation. Often times I think about what I do is so insignificant on campus. But it is testimonies like these that make it all worth it. It gives a great picture of what we are really doing as shepherds and even when we reflect on how much God has used this in our life then think about how many others there are. I pray that God might use us so that many more testimonies of God’s work like this might come out.
This reminds me of the exact place where I was first invited to Bible study. Other students just trample back and forth, but to me, that spot in the hallway by the library is holy ground. In that moment, I, too, just trampled by, not realizing what God was doing. I am so grateful for his servants who have sacrificially walked up and down their mission fields/campuses looking for lost sheep like me. And I am so grateful to God who has been my good shepherd, patiently following me around as I recklessly trampled through life. Praise God, my Savior and Shepherd!!
CSULB is like holy ground in and of itself. I can’t believe my Shepherd came all the way to UC Santa Cruz from LONG BEACH to just fish me! It seemed that God was not setting everything up for Melissa but also for me who was millions of miles away from where you were originally fished. I love CSULB for all the beautiful people it has brought up through Shepherds just like you and many others.
Just for you!! Makes me see God’s ❤️ for all college students around the globe 🌏
What an amazing testimony. I can’t even imagine you as the old person you described yourself as. What a wonderful testimony to the transformative power of Gods love