Thank you for visiting my blog and reading my stories.
In this story we return to The Harbor Coffee Shop and Jessica’s story continues. If you haven’t read the first story about Jessica, I would suggest reading that one- Jessica’s Encounter at The Harbor Coffee Shop.
Also there is a first story involving Billy’s Study Group.
Jessica Learns God Empowers Women During Study Group by Matthew Kohrell
Tuesday afternoon and time for Billy’s study group to meet at The Harbor. His students were making a lot of progress and were close to finishing their GEDs or had finished them which meant talk was beginning to focus on what they wanted to study in college. Jose had grown a lot and had overcome his low-self worth due to the bullying he endured. Pah’s confidence level had risen considerably to the point that he did not think of himself solely as a refugee but now began to see himself as God’s child with a future. Justine came in beaming because she had already started the process of getting enrolled in Nursing College after getting her GED. As a teacher Billy was in tune with his students and felt good about how Jose, Pah and Justine were doing and feeling, but he was concerned about Jessica. Something was up with Jessica that he couldn’t quite put his finger on, but he instinctively knew not to pressure her or it might shut her down. Jessica had thrived in her new environment, but the past still haunted her and dragged her down.
They all got their favorite coffee drinks and sat down to start group. To break the ice, Billy threw out a question, “So what do you see yourselves doing in five years? It’s good to have goals.”
Justine jumped in barely able to contain her joy, “I will be starting Nursing School next term. My hope is to be working in a hospital hopefully in pediatrics.”
Pah shared, “I talked with an adviser at the community college about the computer department. I hope to start there and then transfer to the university.”
Jose was smiling widely, “Well, I have seen how much difference a teacher can make thanks to you helping us Billy. I plan to start at the university in the fall and I want to be an education major. Hopefully in five years I will be in my first year as a high school teacher.”
Jessica was having one of those days that she wished she could just curl up and hide. Occasionally the thought that she was freed from her past was more head knowledge that hadn’t sunk in yet and feelings of despair would come over her and today was just one of those days. She just wanted to sit quietly and secretly wished she could just disappear into one of the big chairs on the other side of the coffee shop.
Billy noticed Jessica was having an off day, “Hey kiddo you don’t have to share. It’s okay we can get started on today’s lesson.”
Jessica reminded herself of a bible verse she loved that she could do all things through Christ who gives us strength and spoke up, “It’s okay Billy. I have a few things on my mind. I have a dream but am not sure if it can happen. My dream is to one day be used by God to reach hurting people. I am not sure how it can happen and the other day a man at church told me that maybe I can’t because…..”
A voice from the table next to them interrupted Jessica before she could finish her sentence, “Remember Jessica that you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.”
They all turned to see who the woman was that broke into their conversation. Jessica realized the woman had just spoken the bible verse that she had reminded herself of a few minutes before. “Who are you? What message do you have for me?” Jessica asked while also recalling her encounter with Mary Magdalene.
The woman came and sat at their table, “My name is Deborah. You can call me Deb if you like and Jessica we need to chat.”
Jessica took a drink of her caramel frappe knowing this was another appointment sent by God and mustered the courage to ask, “What do you want to tell me? We can talk here in front of my friends.”
“Very well,” Deb replied, “Jessica I know about your conversation with Mary Magdalene and how that impacted you and your life. I know that you have experienced many positive changes in your life since then, but another thing I am aware of is that you feel inadequate, am I right?”
Jessica held back the tear that was about to trickle out, “Yes, uhm. You are correct.”
“Well my friend, I am here to talk with you about that. As a woman I understand the feeling of self doubt in a world of men but I know something else too. I experienced first hand how God empowers women and works through women.” Deb encouraged her.
“How did you experience that?” Jessica meekly asked.
“I realize the Old Testament isn’t as popular to read as the New Testament but there are treasures in the Old too. Try reading the Book of Judges chapters 4 and 5 and you will see something you would not have thought possible. God raised me up to guide the people of Israel and we ended up having peace for forty years after that.” Deborah explained.
Jessica looked up Judges 4 and 5 on her bible app and read them. Then she looked up at Deborah, “Wow, so at a time only men were supposed to lead, God worked through you.”
Deborah continued, “Yes, he did work through me, but throughout the history of God’s people whether Israel or the church there have been countless women God has worked through. Think of Mary Magdalene who you met. Jesus delivered her from being an outcast and empowered her even making her the first witness of his resurrection. Jessica I know you have been through ordeals most people cannot fathom, but God is greater than your past. He not only can but will give you the strength to rise up to serve him by reaching out to hurting people.”
Jessica couldn’t hold back, “But I still remember what happened to me. I feel like I have scars. I think I can reach hurting people but I don’t know how with all of scars I have on the inside.”
Deborah took Jessica’s hand to reassure her and looked her in the eyes, “Dear one, someone else has scars and his scars are there to heal your wounds. You know who and what I am talking about.”
“Jesus has scars from when he was crucified, Is that what you are talking about?” Jessica asked.
“Exactly,” Deborah confirmed, “and it is by his wounds we are healed, spiritually, psychologically, and emotionally. He frees people from oppression, darkness and traps in life to live for and with him and then to share him. Jessica God has freed you. You are free. God is with you. If God is for and with you, who can stand against you?”
“I guess no one when you put it that way. It is hard to remember being my size.” Jessica responded.
“Your size is not the issue. It is God’s size that is the issue. How big is God?” Deborah challenged her.
“Oh yeah, well God is, well, eternal.” Jessica smiled as she answered.
Deborah confirmed, “Yes, he is eternal and has all power. He will guide you step by step Jessica. First step is finish your GED. The second step he will show you soon. As for me, it is time to go back. Goodbye my dear one.” Deborah left the table and was gone.
The group sat there dazed for a few minutes until Billy spoke up with that sparkle in his eyes, “See kiddos, just as I always tell you.”
The group looked at each other rolling their eyes a bit and went back to studying.
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