About the Author

Jessica Turner is the author of Stretched Too Thin: How Working Moms Can Lose the Guilt, Work Smarter and Thrive, and blogs on The Mom Creative. Every day is a juggling act as she balances working full-time, making memories with her family, photographing the every day and trying to be...

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  1. Many times I have heard, “Remember when you told me…” followed by some idea or phrase that I don’t remember saying. Usually this is followed by how that one thing made a difference. It is really amazing how God can give us the correct words at the correct time… and we don’t know it. Let’s pray that the good things find their place, and the bad things are remembered no more.

  2. I love this story, Jessica! I had a similar experience recently, and I am so grateful that God shows us the fruits of our journey along the way. We don’t always know the impact we have on others in our walk with Christ. He is so good to show us from time to time. It gives us the strength to keep on. “God uses ordinary people to do His extraordinary work.” – Yes! And I am forever grateful for the “ordinary” people who pointed me to Him. Thanks for sharing this. So good.

  3. I needed to hear this right now–as a mom, a friend, follower of Christ. It means everything that I press in, with God’s heart, to love my children and the people God puts in my path. It is all for His glory, for His good purposes. And I am invited to trust Him, even if I don’t readily see the outcomes of showing His love. Thank you for your encouragement, Jessica.

  4. Jessica,
    What a testimony to what God can do with our lives if we simply abide in Him. We truly never know what seeds of faith we may be planting and so we need to always be sowing seeds for others to water along the way. Thank you for this beautiful reminder, that even in our sometimes mundane lives, we can be harbingers of hope.
    Blessings,
    Bev

  5. This was awesome, Jessica! Thank you for sharing it. It encouraged me to keep on living my ordinary life in an extraordinary way, knowing that it may make an impact for others. To God be the Glory!

  6. that is absolutely beautiful, I am left in tears. I can only imagine how rewarding that email had to have been. thank you for sharing this story & for the reminder that we can all make a big difference in our own part of the world by doing what we think are “little” things. many blessings to you.

  7. Love this! And I love to consider all of the unwritten emails that COULD be sent along these lines. Thinking about my own life now and who I should reach back to and thank for their godly influence.

  8. When I was little, I used to love to look through my mom’s old high school yearbooks. She met Jesus late in college, but was able to point out several believers in those pages. A reminder that how we walk matters…even when we think no one is looking. My college experience was so similar to yours’. Midwestern state school plus I got a theatre degree. I still pray weekly for those friends and I rejoice that some of us have reconnected via internet and still have fruitful conversations. God is so good.

  9. I loved this post. Just this week I shared with a friend that when we speak the words He would have us to speak and do the things he would have us to do, those acts become eternal. They last forever. It truly is amazing and every once in a while, our God pulls back the curtain & gives us a glimpse. May we be faithful to those things He calls us to each day. Blessings!

  10. What an encouragement for me to read today. I received a letter in the mail this week from someone completely unexpected. Her words about my family influencing hers encouraged me so much. God knew they would be just the nudge I needed to keep pressing on. I love when He uses His people to love one another and spur each other on.

  11. Thank you for the reminder that we are reflections of him no matter where we are or where we go! People are always looking at and to us, and as Christians they should notice something different and peculiar! Your story really touched my heart!!

  12. I see two blessings here. The first, that you were such an incredible impact on this woman’s life so many years ago. The second, that Mandy took the time to allow you to see the fruit of that labor. My husband and I often remind each other that we may never see the fruit from the seeds we plant in the youth kids we are working with today. Such an encouraging post – thank you for sharing!

  13. God bless your courage to share your faith! Your story is why it ALWAYS matters to share our faith every day. Somebody is watching us and how big our God is. We are on a Walk of Faith right now and hearing your story is a confirmation for me about planting seeds in people’s lives. God is doing AMAZING things with us. Things we could not do on our own. We pray that His Power and Glory shines through SO big that people cannot help but notice Him. If it’s okay to share this with you here’s some of what God is doing in our lives. Then I have to keep packing because He’s moving us from Texas to Alaska (never been there) to open a teen orphanage center in a few weeks. We have NO idea how He’s doing all this and that’s okay. He’s God. I’m glad we don’t have to know. We just have to have faith. http://itisallaboutfaithblog.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/yes-we-are-praying-for-and-expecting-a-miracle/

  14. How wonderful. UW-Madison was an incredible school and I loved every moment of it. I wasn’t a Christian at the time, so I never got to be involved in the organizations you mentions, but I wish I would have. I still can’t believe we never met at college! Maybe then I would have stayed in the dorm longer than just my freshman year. 😉

    What an incredible blessing to find out that you had an impact on that young woman’s life in your own special way. Awesome!

  15. It seems our default response is to measure our success or impact on something or someone in whether or not we see an immediate result. I wrestle with this in blogging. It’s tempting to look to google analytics or feedburner for a stamp of approval on whether you’re being fruitful. But, just as your title says, we might never know the impact we have. We might never see the reach our words have. But if we walk in obedience, we can trust God is connecting our words with those who need to hear it. Reminds me of this great quote I read yesterday. “Obedience is yours to choose; the outcome belongs to the Lord.”

  16. Today this was a wonderful encouragement to me. We don’t have such set ups here in the UK, and I must confess my Uni time wasn’t my best witness. But over the years I have shared my Saviour and sought to live for Him- amongst the children, the home ed, the laundry and eh messy house! So I pray that my small little life will be used in His great economy.

  17. This is so encouraging. Not only to keep planting seeds and doing God’s work but it is also an encouragement to remember those instrumental people from our baby faith days and to let them know how they touched us. To encourage our encouragers is so much more important than we think. We put them on pedestals as if they have endless strength, time, and energy to encourage others as if it were the only thing they can do. But they are human too and it takes a lot out of a person to always be the encourager even when things are tough in their own lives. A letter like this which takes little time and expense can be what fills a woman up and gives her the motivation to encourage the next women down the line. What a great mission to pursue. While God may be our sustenance, the food we need to live better each day, little thank yous like this are the cup of coffee with cream that gives us the pep to lengthen our “day” just a little more.

  18. Wow~ I love how the Lord uses similar themes and topics to move all across blog land..

    I too just shared a post on my blog (treasured up and pondered) regarding this very idea of the “ripple effect”… and I noticed in one of your comment replies that you used that same verbiage.

    You’ll notice on one of the comments on my blog – a friend of mine shared of just meeting a family whose daughter had recently became a Christian because of a HIGH SCHOOL Christian Club that this gal-friend of mine had started nearly 20 years ago… she had gone to the very same HS… and for her it was neat to see how the GOSPEL is still going forth – even 20 years later…

    OH – ladies, sisters, friends… keep this going.

    This (all) truly is so encouraging.

  19. I’m so glad this person took the time to tell you this…. So often we think about someone in a significant way or we feel The Lord has placed them on our hearts to pray for them, but we stop just short of letting them know. What sweet encouragement it is to the person to find out they were thought of, such as what happened to you 🙂 So lovely…. In many ways.

  20. What wonderful feedback after all these years! It is so awesome to hear that the positive influence you left with them had a lasting impact on at least one…And Jesus went after the one…If we could all influence at least one, wouldn’t this be an fantastic world?

  21. Love this! So true too. I was in Lowe’s Hardware one day and ran into a couple who I barely remembered and the young man comes running up to me, “Miss Susan wow it’s so great to know you are still around – I will never ever forget the prayer you prayed for me at church that night.” We chatted a while and when my husband and I walked away I confessed I had no recollection of that prayer, that night although I did remember the young man. Oh yes, one never knows the impact our words, our actions, our behavior has on those around us. Thanks for the reminder!

  22. This is very sweet. For years I have gone up and down with wondering (and being depressed at times) about my purpose in life. Why others seem to have so much going on, such big roles, jobs, motivation towards health/exercise, or maybe its a craft…some are so crafty with the internet, crocheting, recipes and cooking. It can make those of us who don’t do that or have extra talents any where feel defeated BIG TIME.

    However, just a couple of days ago while reading, Made to Crave, something struck me funny and made me realize that maybe my purpose is to just be a mom/wife. To have 3 healthy,happy kids and a great husband. To keep our family together and then let them fly and see what happens with each. Maybe my purpose is less glorified by many and way less noticed by most. But, that’s ok. (I am finally seeing that and ok with that) Just took a mere 45 years to get to that point. 😉

    And who knows, maybe one day I will be surprised by such an email from some one I spoke with regularly at one of my many part time jobs…maybe, just maybe our “talks” could be my purpose to help them get through THEIR day without me even realizing it.

    • My daughter once said to me, “I’m a kite and you are my string.” I think that being a string is a pretty good thing.

  23. Thank you so much for sharing this today! I needed a reminder that I can be an influence even when I don’t feel like I’m making any difference!

  24. I do want to change the world. I know the only way to do it is to let JESUS do it HIMSELF. I just have to hang on to JESUS and HE will do it. HE will impact the world in a way no man can.
    🙂
    Dreams are made to come true.
    The key is obedience to HIS voice and calling. And HE makes it all happen. Like WOW.
    🙂

  25. I love this, and what a great reminder it is to me to share with those who have made an impact on my own life. We all need that affirmation and that encouragement.

    I’ve always reminded myself that a life that lives out Christ in love and in action is much better than any three point sermon, our actions speak. And in the mundane daily, I forget that.

  26. Jess, this might be one of my favorite things I read this week – so full of the reminder that the small moments of life are nothing to be discounted. That ministry lives in daily life. And that we can’t always know the fruit that comes from it.

  27. Fantastic story! What a wonderful encouragement that we never know the impact we are having, but we just have to be faithful to spread His love and let Him take it where He may. If we are open and obedient to His leading, we can be sure He’ll be using us! It’s an extra blessing when we get to find out, sometimes many years later, how we were used.

  28. Outstanding blog. You reminded me and seeing how many people commented in your blog that we touch people by telling a story. Evangelization is often best done by simply living with Christ in our hearts. He sees the impact of that on others. Her affirmation was also a recognition of your gift of intercesory pray and hospitality. Thank you. I am a catholic who loves learning from all Christians. Prggy

  29. Outstanding blog. You reminded me and seeing how many people commented in your blog that we touch people by telling a story. Evangelization is often best done by simply living with Christ in our hearts. He sees the impact of that on others. Her affirmation was also a recognition of your gift of intercesory pray and hospitality. Thank you. I am a catholic who loves learning from all Christians. Peggy

  30. I love gifts from the Lord, like that. They impact me in a way nothing else can to realign my priorities and remind me that God IS using me in my normal, everyday life.

  31. Jessica,

    This is so cool! I loved she contacted you. You never know how you have impacted someone. I’m an early childhood pastor. In a preschool child’s life I’m the face (or one of my volunteers) they see that makes it okay to leave mom and dad. When they go onto elementary ministries many times we loose touch. Occasionally, I will run into the family. Mom’s and dad’s are excited to see me, but typically, the child doesn’t really remember me. That’s fine with me. But what I get really excited about is when they accept Jesus and get baptized. It is then, I’m grabbing my volunteers and saying look- you made an impact. They may not remember us, but what you did, love on these kids, show then Jesus, that helped them trust God! It is so cool to see and I don’t want any of my volunteers to miss out on that.

  32. I’m a biological and adoptive mom. Our journey with our adopted kids has been hard. So very hard with many huge battles. It’s been 14 years since we adopted and I know the impact those years of working it out, day in and day out, has had on them. What I may never see is the lives that have been and will be impacted because of the different choices my children will make because we poured into them. I pray that my legacy will be one of faith in the storms as we’ve watched God’s plan unfold.

    What a wonderful affirmation for you and such a blessing!

  33. Jess, I love this story. I’ve had a similar thing happen a few times in my life. Such a blessing that those seeds that were planted along ago produced fruit without our even knowing it until now. I try to remember this in the midst of my often mundane days as a mom, especially now as my kids grow and I can have more impact on them and their friends. Thank you for this incredible reminder. . . even in the most ordinary days and ways. Yes!!

  34. Thanks so much for sharing this story! It’s amazing how God uses our lives as a testimony, even when we don’t realize it. This quote really stood out to me: “But if I know one thing from Scripture, it is that God uses ordinary people to do His extraordinary work.” That is so true! Thanks for encouraging me that God is using my ordinary life as a wife and momma to two little ones to bring glory to Him. I enjoy reading your blog and getting inspiration for creating and celebrating a beautiful, meaningful life with my family.

  35. Love this truth, “But if I know one thing from Scripture, it is that God uses ordinary people to do His extraordinary work. ” It is a great reminder for me today — as a mom and mentor!

  36. I love this. It’s so easy to get discouraged, thinking we aren’t making a difference doing the small things that God has called us to, or even in the big things. But when we are doing His thing, we can know for certain that He is accomplishing much.

  37. It’s beautiful and brave of Mandy to have written you. It’s amazing how each day we go through the motions of life and prayer and servitude and sometimes it feels so mundane and at times even fruitless, like do I seriously have to correct this child again?! Then you find out 10 years later that your message was heard and impacted someones life for the good. What a blessing, especially when you feel stuck in a rut! God is so good and His blessings always come at the right time and never cease to amaze!

  38. Jessica, What a lovely story and such a wonderful reminder that we never know how we touch people’s lives. You also remind us that God is faithful–always! Your prayers of 10 years ago were answered in God’s time. Thank you for your faithfulness in sharing God’s word with those college students. I am a college professor and I know how important it is for students to have faithful Christian role models. College is a time of pressure and temptation and it is students like you that make such a difference in the lives of our young men and women. Thank you! Wishing you many blessings, Katherine

  39. Jessica, this happened to me with one of my roommates several years after I graduated. I got a phone call out of the blue at my parents’ house, pre-internet. She is an amazing woman of God. Just another reason we still support Cru staff.

  40. So great for so many reasons. You were faithful in the day to day, she was teachable, she was gracious enough to tell you what your walk with Jesus meant to her, AND you received it! I love that.
    Also, it’s great because we receive it with you!

  41. Thanks for sharing! I love that you were obedient to share Christ then and still walk with Him now. I work full time with CRU and am going to share this post with the students that I work with. It’s always fun to share these kinds of stories, even from someone I’ve never met 🙂 I know that God never wastes anything and we never know what seeds we plant along the way as we love and serve Him. Blessings to you!

  42. So many times it’s just consistently living what we believe…consistentcy, the key. More important though, is admitting imperfection and modeling repentance and mercy received.

  43. Wow! What a great reminder that God is using us to work in other people’s lives when we don’t even realize it. And what powerful incentive to strive to be the image of Christ to others.

  44. This inspired me to reach out to someone who impacted me in the same way at college, although I doubt we ever exchanged two words. Thanks for the encouragement!

  45. Thank you for sharing that amazing story! It brought tears to my eyes. It helped me to remember that when I walk by faith, love and trust in Christ, He will do the work in the hearts of people. We are His hands and feet and need to just be faithful right where He has us. My prayer is that none of us grow weary in doing His will!

  46. Very timely! My daughter is a junior in college and volunteers as a Young Life leader. She dedicates so much of her time and her heart to high school girls – trying to get them to understand Who Christ is and what life in Christ can be. She gets frustrated when she can’t see results, so I shared your article with her. I pray that it will inspire her and encourage her to see that the seeds she is planting now may take years to grow, but with God’s help, they will take root!

  47. ‘Love this story–an inspiring reminder to keep smiling, keep positive, and keep the name of Jesus on the tips of our tongues. We may never know the result this side of heaven, but experiences such as yours reaffirm: our impact is greater than we think! Thank you, Jessica!

  48. This was so fun to read because I also lived on 4th floor Slichter during that same year! Although I haven’t seen either of you since then, I still keep up with your blog and read Mandy’s updates! I love seeing how your family and faith have continued to grow, especially as I remember you talking about Matthew so often! 🙂 And I am amazed to see the extensive compassion Mandy has shown to the people of Tonga! (And how God is moving in her life too!) God Bless and Go Badgers!

  49. It is amazing how God can use ordinary in extraordinary ways. It may be a smile, cooked meal or just an encouraging word given to someone that may brighten their day and help lighten their load.

    We must be alert to the various opportunities that God throws at us and realize the world is watching our every move.

    God bless you for following your heart and being such an amazing witness! 🙂