Sweet Sixteen

Eight years ago I wished for a big and fun sweet 16 party (albeit extremely innocent). I wanted everyone to know I wanted to be their friend. I always struggled to feel accepted, yet I had the God-given heart of an inviter.

I wanted everyone to know they were loved, considered, and welcome in my home and my life.

After crafting just the right invitation on just the right paper, I was off to school with a folder full of doorknobs to my heart.

Goodness, was I nervous. I made my way to lunch tables I didn’t know if I was allowed to be within 10 feet of. I snagged a seat in the unfamiliar back of class.

Body shaking, heart pounding, I was wrought with fear each time I attempted to strike up a nearly natural conversation with people I wasn’t sure even knew I existed.

Will they make fun of me? Will they even talk to me? Will they think it’s a joke? Will they think it’s a pity invite? Will they think I’m just trying to make my way to the top? Will they think I’m lame since I just want to play games and watch movies at my birthday party? What do they do for their birthdays?

Each time I reached for an invitation, my throat swelled with insecurities I wouldn’t let overwhelm me.

There was an invitation with their name on it. It was not mine to keep to myself.

After inviting somewhere around 100 people to join me in guilt-free fun and genuine celebration, about 15 people made their way through my front door over the course of the night.

So often that hideously familiar fear revisits me when I am faced with the opportunity to invite someone to come to Jesus.

I want everyone to know they are loved, considered, and welcome in his Kingdom and his sight.

Sometimes I let insecurity get the best of me. I talk myself out of it with self-centered fears and blind doubts.

There is an invitation to a party in a home far better than mine. It is big, fun, all-inclusive, genuine, and endlessly guilt-free. It is an invitation that is not mine to keep to myself.

Not everyone will choose to walk through the door, but how will they know there’s a party or how to get there if I don’t tell them?

“But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, ‘How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!’ But not everyone welcomes the Good News,”
-Romans 10:14-16


3 thoughts on “Sweet Sixteen

  1. Meredith Maxwell says:

    I had a very similar “sweet 16”. I paired up with two friends, printed off our invites on hot pink paper (which I still have quite a bit extra… 10+ yrs later). Although some not-so-spectacular boys came bearing solo cups filled with an unidentified, uninvited alcoholic beverage.
    All too often, 16-year-old insecurities revisit my 28-year-old self. Most often during opportune times to share the gospel. Thanks a lot, enemy.
    I very much so relate to your words in this post.


  2. Mark Weisbruch says:

    You may have been held back in sharing the gospel from time to time, but when I worked with you, I never saw you hold back, even when people rejected what you had to say of the gospel 20 times, you kept coming back at them and kept trying to get people to see truth, impacting me for sure. I am still so new in my walk with Christ, and yet your prayers have already helped to see me through so much and helped me to stay grounded in faith. And yes, they did reject you, but you never stopped loving them. I have pointed out to several of your old coworkers how much you worked while you were here, how kind you were, how patient and understanding you were, and how-ironically- even with all those characteristics some did not treat you well. They responded with, “yea but it was terrible. She always -always- talked about Jesus.” then I got to shoot scripture their way, “the world will hate you because of me, because I came into the world and saw the world live darkness more than light.” I shared that in the review I wrote for your mission field, of the strength Christ Jesus has instilled in you, and the inspiration it has given me, to get to watch you be the cool to the hot for the goodness of God’s work. I hope our paths are not done crossing, but it is nice to know that you are my sister in Christ Jesus. I never knew, when I asked if anyone went to church on my first full day at Sauce, that I would find such a strong role model and I am grateful for that. Your life was brighter than my darkness and in it, Christ overcame me thru you, His instrument. In the word’s of Winston Churchhill, “Never, never, never give up!”


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