I joined a community group at my church this year. We gather on Sunday afternoons to read the Word, discuss the sermon, ask questions, and chase after the Lord together. We think and ponder and eat and laugh and share life, and it’s been an incredible blessing.
But the truth is this: often, I sit on the couch and am silent.
I’m only twenty-one, a college student trying to figure herself out and find her place in the world.
And when I sit in the circle of adults – people with marriages and mortgages, children and careers, real grown-ups living in the real world – it’s all too easy to believe that I don’t have anything to say.
That I am just a college student. That I am just so much younger, and have so much less experience, and therefore have nothing to offer.
When did I start to believe that my words don’t have weight? When did I start to silence myself? When did I begin to take away my own value?
I am not just a college student. I am not just a twenty-one-year-old. I am not just a girl.
And whatever you are – you are not just that.
You are not just a college student, just a single girl, just a businesswoman, just an artist, just an employee, just a wife, just a mom, just a blogger, just a teacher. You are not “just” anything.
Because our God is not just a part-time God. He doesn’t just give wisdom and truth to the people on this side of the pews and then clock out for His lunch break. He doesn’t just love on the people that have it all together. Our God is all-in, hands-on, and He created your life to be a thing of beauty. Whatever path you are walking on right now, He meant for you to be there and this experience is from Him.
You are a woman, made in His image. He put strength in your bones and courage in your heart and love in your hands and words on your lips, and I want you to speak them. I want to hear them.
Your words matter. Don’t discredit your experience because you’re too young, or because you’re a stay-at-home mom, or a working mom, or because you’re single, or because only five people read your blog, or because your testimony looks different, or because of anything.
Your words matter. Your experience matters. Your story matters. Your thoughts matter. You matter.
We’re in different places, you and me. I’m a college student, but above all I’m His daughter, and you are too. And I’m tired of believing that I am “just.” That I am less-than. That I have nothing to offer. Because I have something to offer, and it is but little, yet He has blessed me beyond abundance.
So tell me your story. Tell me the story He’s writing on your heart. Tell me about the beautiful and the broken. Tell me where you’ve been and where He’s taking you. Tell me about your experience and I’ll tell you about mine. They’re different, and we’re different, and we’re in different places. But His image is big enough for both of us to reflect, and whatever you are, you are His.
And there is no such thing as being “just” a daughter of the King.
Hannah, this so resonates with me. I used to sit on the floor, tucked into the sofa at the side so that I ‘disappeared’ in community groups. At age 50 I still have that instinct as a default position, yet I am being called out of that place, I have the offer of a renewed mind and a fresh start each day.
So today I choose to believe that I am not only a single, middle aged woman but that
I ONLY CAN LIVE TODAY AS THE WOMAN I WAS CREATED TO BE AND ONLY HE CAN ACHIEVE ALL HE PLANS TO DO IN AND THROUGH UNIQUE ME.
Thank you for this encouragement, continue to speak those words that bring life.
Hannah, you touched my heart so sweetly. I’m a twenty-one year old girl, too, living in Germany, working as a paramedic, trying to feel God’s fullness of love and try to love Him back in a perfect way.
You made me recognizing that I have to BELIEVE in His love. I’m waiting to feel it but I have to believe that His love is deeper than I can ever imagine.
i love my work as a paramedic but it’s so hard to do God’s will in a circle of men that are so far away from God. And the women around me are acting with less of dignity. So it’s a bit hard to stay as the jewel God made me once.
Tomorrow we have a meeting of our church community with the topic: 1 Corinthians 13. And while I’m young with less experience but loved by God I am able to share my thoughts.
Be blessed for your words.
Oh, sitting silent in group settings is so my mode of operation. I enjoy hearing others share, but I hold back my thoughts. I often think I do not have anything relevant to offer. I feel I am nobody special, so why should I speak?
Lately God has been asking me to grow relationships by sharing me. Being honest and real. At first I thought, There is no way I can do that! But, with His help, I have and am being blessed through it.
Hannah, I understand what you’ve been feeling. I’m a 21 year old college student too and I often feel inadequate compared to the women in my church with careers, marriages, or kids. But this post was so encouraging! You’re so right. God has given us a unique story and voice and there is no age requirement to share it. Thanks for posting this. 🙂
Hannah, thank you for your wise words. The words have encouraged me in the season of being stay at home mom with teenage boys. I retired from career as librarian to mother and then homeschool them. Now, they are in school and I often feel without a purpose. God is working on me though and he used your words to remind me of that. Let me encourage you to open up in your community group. We are in a group like that with mixed ages and it adds is much when the young generation speaks and shares their perspective. I am always touched by them.
Hannah, Thank you for reminding me who I really am. I am not a disabled person with 3 chronic illnesses. I am a daughter of the most high King. Sometimes, I feel so lost and isolated, like everyone is just going on with their lives, and I am just this person who has to stay home and take care of herself, but God had this plan for my life and he still is working in me. I may not be able to do what others do, but to him I am a treasure.
This. Thank you. I too am *just* a 21 year old college student trying to find her way in the world, who also joined a similar group at my church this year. And I’ve been feeling similarly. So, thank you for these encouraging words that I so very much needed to hear.
Crystal Walton says
Yes! So well said. And so needed for others to hear. I’m outside my twenties now. But trust me, we all wrestle with this, which is why it’s at the core of my heart to encourage women with this message. Wish we could get some tea together & share our stories. 🙂
Thank you for these wise words. They were exactly what I needed to hear. God’s timing is perfect! I am about to lead my women’s group this morning, and as the youngest member was feeling very nervous. I was doubting that I had anything worthy of saying. Thank you for reminding me that my words matter. Blessings!
Thank you for reminding me that I am not “just” I am His everything. Thank you very much for the encouragement.
Hannah as I read your words my 19 year old son who is also a college student comes to my heart. We had a similar conversation and those were his exact words. He has taught me a lot in his “young” wisdom God breathed and makes me very proud. Yet I too find myself sitting in a group or meeting praying I don’t get asked my view as it won’t be good enough or that I am not good enough. Then God again uses my son to relay his message that all Gods children are good enough and are loved and the apple of his eye. Thanks so much for sharing..
Zelma Dodd says
Don’t stop sharing your words. They are meant to be said and written. When I went to Allume one of the take aways was this. God dropped into my heart that He was raising up an army of young women to carry the torch to their generation. He said to me, you can safely pass the torch on knowing that when you leave your earthly journey I have established an army of young vibrant women to still carry the message. Be encouraged and never stop. Your words will bring hope, joy and life to those that needed. Even grandma’s like me are encouraged.
Sharon O says
wow that is wisdom and beauty and youth with a voice. Coming from a 59 year old grandma.
Thank you!! I really needed to hear your words today…thank you….
Thank you for sharing this. I think it’s easy to fall into the trap of “I’m just…” no matter what stage of life we find ourselves.
_ from the chick with 5 blog followers. 🙂
Hannah, your words spoke to my heart. I am 54 years old and I so often feel that no one wants to hear me. I feel God urging me to share my vast experiences getting to this place but have yet to find a place to do that. Thank you for your encouraging words for all of us who are “silent” but full of life, love and yes wisdom. xx
Hannah, you are so insightful and spiritual for “just” 21. I love what you say here. “Your Words Matter”. After quitting the blogging scene, well writing anyway, I keep getting these little messages. Maybe He is trying to tell me something.
I like to participate but most people don’t say a word. When I bowled I got all the answers needed to improve as I asked and never stopped asking why. But my team mates were silent.
Silence …… not so good …. you do not get answers ….. a happy discussion is better than a dead one where no one is talking.
I feel that when everyone is talking all at the same time to be heard, then, …… success …..
I teach Sunday School and when they are all trying to tell me their story at the same time and it’s all them talking and me just trying my best to listen to all six stories at the same time …. I’ve won. They feel free to spill their hearts and when they pray even when people are running about and screaming and they are focused ……. Christ has won HIS battle in their hearts.
So, for me, if the others do not talk, I will. There is this very bad perception that talking is like a sin. A mortal sin. Shut up is often used even in our group. You shut up. hahahahaha
That I not only not very nice but very demeaning to the person they are saying your words do not matter to any of us at all.
Silence is not golden. It’s taking lots of step backwards and downwards. A downward spiral.
But then, this is my opinion and my experiences.
Amelia Rhodes says
Thank you for this encouragement! Just today, I was ready to give up on a few things. Your words spoke right to my heart!
Wow! Hannah, well said and wise and truer words were never spoken! Our God is awesome and so are you!!!
Woah! Hannah, how wisdom filled and perfectly spoken for MY ears to hear! You say “who are you?”, you are someone God is using! Though you are young and feel the way you do, I am 50 and have a marriage, almost grown kids, etc…. I still ask myself who am I? “When did I start to believe that my words don’t have weight? When did I start to silence myself?” Thank you so much for reminding me…”But His image is big enough for both of us to reflect, and whatever you are, you are His.”
How can a ” just” 21 yr old student so ever blessed us with this insight? Totally! It’s refreshing for more than 21 yr old + person like me. Very delightful to know & get reminded I am not a “just” person. I am more than “just”. Awww. Unique, Hands-on God! I matter most to Him. I have to recite that everytime & stucked that on my peanut brain. So thankful!!!
I love this. It’s something I’ve struggled with all my life and continue to struggle with even past 30. I read a book once in which God, in explanation to an angry young woman about her crappy friends, said “I used the fish and loaves I had.” He uses what we bring to the table to bless others, even when we think all we’ve got is Nothing, just a few fish and loaves. And when we refuse to bring our Nothing? What happens to the 5,000? Sure God can turn stones into bread, make manna fall from heaven…but mostly, He seems to wait for us to bring our silly fish and bland little loaves of bread. He wants us to share our Nothing.
You write beautifully, Hannah. Thank you.
Joanne Peterson says
Sadly, many of us have come to this point of I’m just……by invalidation, dismissal, attitudes, words spoken to us, and actions displayed to us by other people where it becomes our “truth” where we believe “we are just……..” Thank you for the post where you are reminding us “we are not just……” and are important because we each have unique life experiences and life lessons that we can share and insights we have come to understand because of our own journeys.
Thanks Hannah. We all need to hear this. It can be easy to let our situations choke us. I feel this way sometimes that I’m “just” a 16 year old with a chronic illness who can’t leave her house. I can’t really “do” anything in the world’s eyes, but I have great worth in His Sight, and great use too. I know a couple people who could use this message so I sent it on to them too. Thanks for speaking you heart. It is encouraging.
Patty Muich says
Hannah I am so happy that you have learned that now instead struggling with it at age 58 🙂 You go girl! You are so much and each day you will be so much more! Just keep growing with God!
Well said – always remember it, even in those tough moments.
Being vulnerable is difficult; however, it may be the greatest starting place for service. Sometimes our stories seem overlooked, but God has a plot line that is incredible! Thanks for sharing your heart.
You know what I love most about writing? When I write and God lays love, wisdom and grace before me in my own words…and there I share my words for others, yet there He Himself is using my words…for me, first. It is amazing to be a conduit for His Living Water. And that my friend, is what I see and sense Him doing through you, right here!
Thank you! That was beautiful and I needed to hear it.
This made me cry – because it just rang so true. So often I put myself down and find myself saying that I am not worthy to give an opinion or speak on certain things. So often I doubt who I am in Christ but this just reminded me that God places infinite value on me and I am doing Him an injustice by not trusting Him and relying on His strength and wisdom and stepping out and using the incredible gifts He has blessed me with.
Thank you for sharing this. God knew this is exactly what I needed to hear!!!
Sandy Thomas says
I know how you feel sweet young one. At 68 and having moved to a new community these last 2 years, I sometimes wonder also, what am I supposed to be doing for God! My son and daughter in law are adopting from Haiti and through this journey, I am finding a purpose. Yaaaaa! After a trip to meet Gracie and spend a week there I was in love. There are women in Haiti making jewelry and I have started sharing their story with others so they continue having a job. I need to keep on telling others about their beautiful things, AND we both give God the glory.
Wow Hannah.. your words are incredible. I am 70 years young or old just kind of caught in the middle of what to do with the rest of my life 🙂 .. So many times I have started writing about my life but never continued. God has been such an important part of my life and need to share this if not all then for anyone my family members.. I have loved and lost many loves of different degrees but God has always opened a new window .. Thanks for sharing your words… makes me proud to be a woman with her own words to share.
Thank you so much for this encouragement today, Hannah. Such profound thoughts. I found myself praying as I read it, begging that I would believe it with my heart, not just my head. I love all of what you wrote, but this especially comforts me – “Our God is all-in, hands-on, and He created your life to be a thing of beauty. Whatever path you are walking on right now, He meant for you to be there and this experience is from Him.”
Thanks for sharing this message, Hannah!
It meant a LOT to me because it’s exactly what I needed to hear.
May God bless you and use your voice to impact the world for HIM! 🙂
Beth WIlliams says
I was/am a little “shy” and introverted. Speaking in groups used to be super hard for me. I have nothing to offer or they won’t like my thoughts. God has been working on me and pushing me to do more–get out in front of people and speak up a bit more and share my wisdom. Who knows–maybe something I say or some thing I’ve been through can help someone else in some small way.
Thanks for a thought provoking post!
Hannah, you may be young, but I agree with you that you have something to say(and you say it beautifully). What a blessing for your church group to have you in it. I’m sure they feel that way, too :).
I keep coming back to this, friend. So thankful for your voice. You truly are a gift from the Lord! These words are so infused with His love and mercy.