I was five years old when the church bus stopped by our suburban home in Hendersonville, TN one day. They thought that they were just stopping at another home, to invite just another child to church. But what they did not know is how God used them that day to shape the destiny of a young girl forever. Neither did they know that every Sunday they would be rescuing me from a reality of alcoholism and abuse.
God used them that day to shape the destiny of a young girl forever.
Excited and nervous, I will never forget walking into that church that day, so relieved to be able to escape the hell that I called home, and to get another view of the world. At only five years old I can remember how my stomach filled with butterflies, unsure if people would accept me or not. You know walking into church by yourself can be a bit overwhelming, much less as a child without your parents. I expected to feel out of place and all alone, as I often did, even at home, but God had a plan. See, God had already positioned women in the church that were full of His love to show me in word and action His window of the world for me. They took me in with loving, gentle arms. Later on, to my surprise, my teacher for Missionettes, the girls' club for my age group, lived right across the street from me! It did not take her very long before I was promoted from the church bus to riding to church with her, one of the Godliest women I have ever known.
After I had been coming for a while she and her husband took me in has her own. I would stay the night with her and her husband on the weekends and ride to church with them, so it was like I wasn’t coming alone, but with my “God sent” parents. She, along with so many other Godly women in the church (God knew it was gonna take more than one to teach me!), took time to love and show me by example what being a Godly woman was. They showed me how to serve and love others selflessly, without judgment.
While they may never have even known it, I was watching them.
As I child I was unaware of just how much having a different window of the world--a window that was full of God’s love and women of God--was going to affect my life long-term, but it did and in a big way! While they may never have even known it, I was watching them. I watched how they carried themselves as confident women of God. I watched and I noticed the little things like what they wore and how they spoke to others. I watched how they worshiped with their arms stretched high to this amazing God that I adored so much. I watched, week after week, how they would come and serve God’s people, never asking for anything in return. I listened as they prayed, as they called out to the Almighty God for their husband, their children, and for the church.
Because of these women loving me, and showing me another view of the world, my husband of 20 years and I are the Youth Pastors of The Fire Place Fellowship Church in Hendersonville, TN. We have 3 beautiful children, 19, 10, & 8. Together we oversee the van ministry at the church and are seeing young women and men, coming to know the love of Jesus in their lives just as I did those many years ago.
I want to encourage you today. Maybe you feel like you aren’t making a difference in the kingdom of God because you aren’t out on the mission field, or out on what some would see as the front lines of evangelism. But maybe you are that Missionettes teacher in the back classroom, week after week. Or maybe you are making lunches for the bus kids, or loving on babies in the nursery. I believe that God ordained you to read this today to remind you that, “Even when you are unaware, and can’t see the impact on His Kingdom that you are having, He see you. And not only does God see you: there just may be a Crystal in your life who is watching you, learning who He is through you!”
Just like so many of the women of God in my life may never know until Glory what a great harvest they will reap because they choose to do good to a little bus girl at their church, you may never know. But I want to leave you with this word of encouragement found in Galatians, chapter six verses 9 - 10: “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do well to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith."
Don’t give up! Your harvest is on its way!
Crystal Brown and her husband, Jonathan, reside and serve in Hendersonville, TN. The couple has been married and in ministry for 20 years and have three beautiful children, ages 19, 10, and 8. They currently serve at The Fire Place Fellowship in Hendersonville as youth pastors. Growing up in an alcoholic home, Crystal learned who God was in a very special way, which has shaped her philosophy for ministry greatly. "I learned how much He loved me before I ever knew to fear Him. And that love, His love, is what fuels my passion for ministry." In her free time Crystal enjoys spending time with family, reading, and shopping. Her greatest passion in ministry is leading young women and men into a real relationship with Christ, one that is fueled by His love, filled with compassion, and that ignites their desire to serve His people.
"A New Window to the World" is Entry One of our November 2016 blog series, #grateful. Join us next Monday for Entry Two!