I’m the oldest of five and because my mother was busy with ministry responsibilities, it was always my obligation to help, not to be helped. Of course, this meant I did a lot of baby-sitting, but it also implies I never partook in the joys (or misfortunes) of looking up to a big sister.
From this sibling lack, I often fantasized what gleaning from someone wiser would be like. Out of desperation (or resourcefulness), I began scouring magazines, books and television, eager to find my proverbial big sisters.
It was the influence of the great Anne Frank which ignited my passion for journaling, the beautiful Cindy Crawford who motivated my healthier habits and the unstoppable Oprah Winfrey who taught that little, thoughtful gestures make the world a better place. But…after a while, I became frustrated. You see, Anne couldn’t recognize my giftings, Cindy hadn’t a clue of my capabilities and no matter how many times Oprah wailed, “You go, girl!” It never felt like she was talking to me. I learned a lot from these legends but none of them actually fed my soul.
I needed to know…What were their colossal regrets? How did they pivot when things didn’t work out the way they anticipated? What steps were taken to go of the past, opening themselves to an unseen future? The glossy, edited, two-dimensional sound bites weren’t doing it for me anymore. My heart craved the imperfection of true relationship; not curated ‘Fakebook’ friendships and Instagram icons.
After receiving Jesus, I came across these scriptures, “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 15:16) and “You have not because you ask not.” (James 4:2) I realized God was eager to answer the cries of my heart, but it was up to me to express them! I began praying for mentors that could recognize what I had to offer, help me develop my gifts and show me how to grow in my calling. Keep in mind, I was replacing the great Anne Frank, Cindy Crawford and Oprah Winfrey, so these women couldn’t be just anybody. I wanted God’s best and began praying for just that.
For ten years, this deep longing went unfulfilled, but I prayed anyway.
Strangely, while waiting for God’s answer, a woman (attending my Bible study) approached, asking if I’d be interested in mentoring a girl receiving healing in a transitional home. Feeling less than equipped, I griped to God,
“How am I supposed to help anyone when I’m clueless myself? Where’s my mentor?”
His response impressed itself upon my heart.
“Don’t be concerned with yourself…I’ve got you.”
Despite great insecurities and ignorance, I took the position and not long after that, a friend invited me to my first Lifestreams event. Lauren Hasson was the speaker for the day.
“God wants more for your life! Dream big! Don’t shrink!”
My eyes blurred from holding back tears, as God confirmed (with Lauren’s words) things He’d whispered in our quiet time together. It was as if He was saying:
“Yes. You heard me right. I want more for you. Great things are coming!”
Lauren’s eyes pierced through me as she began prophesying secrets only God and I knew. Unwavering in her identity, moved by passion and purpose, this humble (yet hilarious) beauty seemed to defy age, gravity and logic. It was like having Anne, Cindy and Oprah all rolled into ONE!
That night, amped by my experience at Lifestreams, I prayed a bold prayer,
“God…I want Lauren as my mentor!”
It was an audacious request. But, hadn’t both God and Lauren beckoned me to dream big?
For two years I sat under Lifestreams’ teachings; my heart and mind became so enriched by this powerful community that my longing for mentorship faded into a gentle hope. Then, Lauren called.
“Julia, how would you feel about becoming my co-leader?”
I froze. My lips went numb. Deep insecurity rose to the top of my throat, blocking my windpipes.
What if I wasn’t good enough? Would it be better to say ‘no’ than to risk humiliation (for me) and disappointment (from her)?
Lauren asked if I was still on the phone, wondering if I was even interested in the position.
With butterflies bouncing around my stomach, I felt the Lord impress upon my heart,
“You asked for this.”
God is abundantly good. Not only did He bring Lauren Hasson into my circle, but He actually went beyond that request. He sent two more trailblazers…the graceful Amy Stoher, who has taught me how to steward prayer and my incredible big sis, Manna Ko who continually emboldens my authority in Christ and encourages my gift of writing.
God has given much more than I prayed for! All three of these women have greatly enriched my life, helping me realize that dreaming big doesn’t have to be intimidating…because I’m not left to figure things out on my own. God has gifted a nourishing community where not only do I get to share, but I also get to receive. And in case you’re wondering, Yes. God’s BEST is definitely worth the wait!
“Lord, thank you for the power of community and vulnerability. Help us understand the crucial responsibility to bless and be blessed by others. Fill every depleted heart with the confidence that you have great things reserved for your precious ones; help each to give from your overflow. Make a way for every woman to find a tribe that will call out the destiny you’ve planned for her. Draw each spirit into a deeper relationship with you, a better understanding of herself and a wider scope of love for others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
*I no longer support Oprah’s worldview as it goes against scripture. *
Julia Shalom Jordan