Each day I get to be a part of what God is doing among students here at Texas Woman’s University. But when a particular student decided she wanted to come to my office and meet with me, I was in disbelief. When she canceled, I wasn’t too surprised. But then the next day she showed up, and God did something incredible.
This girl had been on fire for God and was a vital part of our Baptist Student Ministry on campus. But after she came back from her summer mission trip in Africa, her life started a downward spiral.
Walking in darkness
As we watched her cut her hair, change how she dresses, started drinking and smoking, and began a relationship with another girl, we didn’t know what to do. We tried loving her, asking her what was going on, and tried to talk to her, but she denied her belief in God and wanted nothing to do with us any more. She left her family of believers and chose to walk in darkness.
God constantly put her on my heart, and I would pray and gather students to pray for her. So many people reached out to her.
This past summer before I left the country for a semester in London, God put her on my heart again a few more times. I sent her a pretty long message on Facebook but got no reply.
He will never leave you or forsake you
Now I am back in Denton, and she came to my office. She said she couldn’t get what I sent her out of her mind, specifically the words: “He will never leave you or forsake you.”
She told me how God saved her from a drug overdose and revealed to her he was real and wanted a relationship with her. The past five months had been tough, because she knew she couldn’t live in darkness any more. But she felt so upset at herself for being a hypocrite and slandering the name of Jesus, she couldn’t even step foot in a church for too long.
She wanted to have a relationship with Jesus, but she knew that there were sins she needed to repent of, and she felt so condemned because of what she had done. She felt as if she would never be welcomed back to the church. She felt that she was going to hell because of what she had done to the name of Jesus.
After over an hour of talking, I began to share with her the parable of the lost sheep.
I told her the sheep that ran away was once in a flock of sheep under the shepherd, just like as a body of believers we are under Christ. One sheep ran away in rebellion from the flock, but the shepherd left the flock and went to find the one lost sheep. As the shepherd took the sheep back to the flock, he said, “Rejoice with me. I have found my lost sheep.”
I told her, “God wants you, and we are going to rejoice with him because he found you and brought you back. Just know you are welcomed here.”
I reminded her the blood of Jesus covers her sins, and he isn’t surprised by her mistakes.
I asked her if she wanted to pray with me.
A long, hard journey
We prayed hard on her behalf. She left with a smile on her face and tears in her eyes and said, “Thank you.”
I know there is more to the story. We are about to embark on a hard long journey together, but I am so thankful for answered prayers and for what God is doing in her life and that I get to be apart of it.
Sharel Kaye Gaskey is serving this semester as a campus missionary intern at Texas Woman’s University in Denton through Go Now Missions.