Can you tell us about your relationship with Jesus?
I heard the Gospel – the amazing news that Jesus died to save me from my sins and make me right with God – and the Christ drew my heart so that I received Him as my Savior from my sins and surrendered my life to Jesus my Lord as a young woman.
Jesus transformed my life – I had a peace that I was forgiven from my sins and right with God, joy of being able to walk with the Lord and in His Truth by His strength, and the hope of heaven when I died.
The Lord continued to open my eyes and draw me (through His Word, the testimony of other’s lives, and His work in my heart) to see that I was meant to go deeper in my own close and personal relationship with Him. Not just know about Him, know and love that He lived in me, and pray every so often, but to have a real walk with Him.
As I received His grace to respond and follow Him, I made Him my priority, began really seeking to know Him, and spend time with Him, I came to know Jesus as far more than the One I heard about in church, read about in my Bible, or even prayed to, He became more and more real to me.
It was as I personally knew Jesus for who He really is, experienced His love, heard His voice, and saw Him real in my circumstances that I had found what my heart had been longing for in the depths of my heart. He changed my life. I found what I was longing for – like Psalm 107:9 says, “He satisfies the longing soul.” I was satisfied in the Lord and His love for me, as I came to know His heart more, I knew I could trust Him in every area of my life, and I was filled with purpose to live for Him and be pleasing and beautiful to Him. This was no longer because I had to; but, because I knew Him and loved Him, I wanted to do it.
Since then, the Lord continues to reveal Himself to me, bring me to deeper levels of surrender, and do His work in my heart! Life is an amazing journey with my Savior that I would not trade for anything!
What practical things help you keep your relationship with Christ strong?
Though my life was totally transformed when I found Christ to be my All, I have seen over and over the critical reality that this most important relationship with Him takes cultivating, just like any relationship. He is so worth seeking with everything I am and He is always so faithful to draw near to me as I pursue Him!
These are some of the things that are especially helpful for me:
- Moment-by-moment fellowship with Him – sharing every moment of life with Him.
- Daily time with Him – prayer, reading His Word, worship, journaling, and more.
- Keeping Him and my walk with Him first.
- Shaping all my choices around what will help me know and love Him more (books, use of time, music, friends, etc.).
- Eliminating things that do not encourage my life in Him.
- Keeping a clear conscience before Him – allowing nothing between me and my Savior.
- Actively cultivating my soul through spiritual feeding – deep teaching, biographies, books, etc.
- Fellowship with others who love Him and accountability in following Him
- Sharing His goodness and Truth with others (speaking, writing, conversation, discipleship) – it confirms it even more in my own heart.
- Keeping an eternal perspective.
- Living for Him alone – my audience of One.
- Having special reminders of Him and His love. This so helps me in moment-to-moment life! As I was growing in relationship with the Lord and loving Him, I wanted to have something special as a reminder of Him – just like I had special things that reminded me of specific friendships. So, He gave me anything shaped like a heart as my reminder of Him and His love. It has been so powerful and something that has been so helpful in pointing me to Him. So many times I will be rushing along in my day and He will bring something shaped like a heart that brings life back into focus. For example, one day I was doing the ordinary task of cleaning the bathroom, but was losing focus and having a harder day. I bent over to scrub the counter and there was a puddle on the bathroom counter shaped like a heart. It brought life back into focus and I found such joy in remembering, “That’s right! What matters is the Lord and His love. I want to clean this bathroom for Him!” It is such a simple thing, but has proven to be SO powerful to regularly refocus and remind me of what really matters – the Lord and my relationship with Him. Often I will see a heart, smile, and say, “I love You, too, Lord.”
- Viewing every situation in life as an opportunity to know Him more. This transforms life into a beautiful adventure of knowing the Lord more and adds purpose to every aspect of life! As we look to Him and ask, “Lord, what does this situation tell me about You and how can I know You more through this situation?” He will make Himself known to us in ways we have never seen Him before! Through sorrow, I have come to know Him as my Comforter, through joy, my Song, through changes, my solid Rock and the One who never changes…and so much more! It is like a daily treasure hunt to know the greatest Treasure – Jesus!
- Walking in the reality of His love and living in the Truth of Who He is. There is a big difference between knowing about His love in our heads and embracing it in a way that alters how we live our lives. For me a huge help in loving Him and keeping my walk with Him strong has been personally accepting His love and living consistently in its reality. Daily I see the power that comes from walking in the Truth of Who my Savior is. As I do this, it radically impacts how I live my life! If I walk in the Truth that He is sovereign, I will not worry about the future and if I walk in the Truth that He is all-satisfying, I will not look for satisfaction anywhere else, etc.
- Basing my life on the Lord, His Word, and His love keeps my heart stable and deepens my walk with Him – regardless of the circumstances around me!
Every step towards Him is precious and I have experienced that He truly is, “a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6)
When did you gain a heart for ministering to young women?
It all began when the Lord transformed my life through knowing Him as my ALL. I had found all that I was longing for in Him and I passionately wanted others to know Him, too. I knew that knowing Him and making Him known was the purpose for which I was meant to pour out my life. As I sought the Lord for His specific call for this, I felt Him leading me into discipleship of young women. I passionately love these young women and long that I can be someone just a little older than they are encouraging them that a close relationship with Christ is possible, a joy, and worth living for with every ounce of their being!
How has God built Loving the Lord Ministries?
This ministry is truly His. He has brought it to pass and He is the One Who changes lives. He deserves all of the glory! I feel as if I have watched Him work.
Through my teen years, I treasured the one-on-one discipleship relationships the Lord provided with younger girls in my life. As the Lord confirmed His call to young women’s discipleship, He opened doors to serve with various young women’s ministries through leading groups, writing articles, and speaking at conferences. Then in 2002, I started a discipleship group at my home with 13 girls (ages 11-16) and wrote material from what the Lord had used to transform my life and walk with Him. I was amazed at the incredible response and evident need in the girls’ lives. Soon, people began asking for a conference for young women. The following summer of 2003, through the Lord’s confirmation, my family hosted our first conference and again were amazed at the response and evident need.
We then started receiving requests for spiritual growth materials for people to use to begin young women’s discipleship groups. The Lord impressed on my heart the messages and we recorded four different conferences series’ on various topics critical to young women. These were developed into spiritual growth material in the form of DVDs and handbooks. Women of all ages and churches around the country have used this material for discipleship and to start groups. The Lord has consistently provided opportunities to speak and host conferences across the nation, as well as abroad. Over the years, He has provided an incredible team of young women and women who love the Lord and are passionate for others to know Him. We also host a blog and I write a periodic newsletter as a way to reach young women, stay connected with the conference attendees, and provide continuing encouragement in pursuing Christ.
Each year, the Lord has continued to lead, open doors, and show Himself strong. We are continually in awe of Him! I have seen HIM move in ways I never could have dreamed. We could fill books with stories of His faithfulness and miraculous work. I have stood in awe so many times as the Lord has transformed a heart, specifically answered prayers for the provision of funds (to the dollar!), or given extra strength when I was weak.
I have experienced Him in ways I never would have otherwise. I have witnessed with my own eyes that He is all that He claims to be and always fulfills His promises. Next to knowing Him, this has been the most fulfilling element of my life. He has taken my weakest areas and shown Himself so strong. I continue to daily see my dependence upon Him and the beauty of His faithfulness. This is HIS ministry, we give Him all of the glory for what He has done, and we are so excited about all that He has in store as we keep our eyes on Him!
What would be your encouragement to other girls who feel called to young women’s ministry?
Ministry to young women is an incredible privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to treasure! This is the heartbeat of what my encouragement to you would be as you embrace the call to young women’s ministry:
Keep your relationship with Jesus first. Abiding in Him bears true fruit (John 15). Keep going deep in your relationship with the Lord and let ministry be an outflow vs. allowing serving Him to come before Him!
Come before Him in surrender and ask Him to direct you on the type of ministry, size, age group, etc.
Take each step of obedience and be faithful to His direction.
Your feelings of inadequacy are the beautiful key to keeping your dependence upon Him and allowing His strength to powerfully equip you for what He is calling you to do!
Embrace the joy of being a vessel – 2 Cor. 4:7 – and allow HIM to live, love, and touch lives through you. That is when hearts are eternally changed.
Seek Him for the message He wants you to teach and share from your life. This can be done using a specific book or type of spiritual growth material with them, or sharing an original message that the Lord gives to you! The key is that you share from your heart and life the reality of the Lord and His Word.
It can be helpful to start with a mentoring relationship or a small discipleship group, and to allow Him to grow/direct for His best.
Treasure the priceless gift of laboring together with Him.
Be faithful right in the place/calling in which He has you – When I first started discipling young women, I said to the Lord, “Lord, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that You have called me to disciple young women and I passionately love it. But, what is my place in reaching the people in China who have never heard of You?” He brought to mind girls who at the last gathering had said that they wanted to be missionaries and another who wanted to stop abortion. The Lord used this to so clearly show me, “Amy, if you will be faithful in what I have called you to do, I will in turn use the impact of what I do through you in these girls’ lives to impact those THEY touch – in China or beyond!”
As you work with young women, some specific ways to be effective include:
Love them! Ask the Lord to give you a deep love for the girls. Love opens the doors of the girls hearts to hear and receive all that the Lord has to give them through you.
Care for their hearts and show it. When they see that you really care and are concerned about where they are with the Lord, they will be so ready to listen and apply what you share! Let them know that you are available for them.
Your example is powerful! Remember that they are watching your every move and will look back on it for years to come. It is an awesome opportunity as well as a sobering responsibility! (How can we tell them to do something if we are not doing it ourselves?)
Keep the goal in mind – Pointing these dear girls hearts to love the Lord with all that they are, to base their lives on His Word, and to fulfill the perfect plan that He has for their lives.
Pray for them!!! It is only as the Lord works in their hearts that any lasting difference is made. Asking the girls for specific requests can be one of the most powerful doors to deeper discussion about that is happening in their hearts.
See them through God’s eyes. Ask the Lord to help you see these girls as He sees them – seeing beyond the outward appearance and demeanor to a precious soul and the potential they have in Him.
Rest in the Lord and allow Him to do His work through you. As you present yourself to the Lord as a willing and empty vessel, He will do His work through you in a beautiful way. The results will be lives that are changed for eternity!
Remember that – “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” 1 Thess. 5:24