The Seeds Mrs. J Planted

Who has made an impact in your life for Christ?

My good friend posed this question to me the other day, as she was preparing to lead a discussion on this topic. Most of the individuals who first came to mind were those I knew in college, since that is when I became a Christian. Scores more have helped me to grow and mature in my faith since then. However…about eight years before I started walking with God there was Mrs. Jennewein.

As my 8th grade Health class teacher, cheerleading sponsor, and Student Council sponsor, I had the privilege of spending a lot of time with Mrs. Jennewein. In fact, she used to pick me up for our before-school meetings and summer cheerleading practice. Looking back, I see that she took a particular interest in me and went out of her way to serve me for some reason.

Even as a self-centered, immature 13-year-old, I knew something was different about her. For one thing, she was one of the only adults I wanted to be around. Not because she was the cool teacher who cussed sometimes or who told the funniest jokes or who didn’t give us homework. Instead, I wanted to be around her because she was open about her own life and mistakes. I wanted to be around her because I could talk to her like a friend. I wanted to be around her because, unbeknownst to me, she constantly wove godly wisdom into her teaching and conversations. And, I wanted to be around because I knew she cared about me.

I don’t ever remember Mrs. Jennewein telling me about Jesus, though. I don’t even think it really registered to me that she was a Christian, until years later when I was in college. I was home on Spring Break, if I recall, and outside in my front yard one day. Mrs. Jennewein happened to be walking by, since she lived in my neighborhood. I hadn’t spoken with her in years. During the course of our conversation, I told her how I had changed…how I had accepted Christ during college and now wanted to go into full-time ministry. Tears welled up in her eyes as she said, “Rachel, I prayed for you all those years I knew you in junior high. I prayed that God would work in your life and you would know Him in a real way.”

I’m overwhelmed when I think about the seeds of God’s truth and love that Mrs. Jennewein planted in my heart long ago. And, what a gift to have someone like her pleading to God on my behalf so early on. I’m sure Mrs. J didn’t know what He would do through her example, service, friendship, and prayers for a little 8th grade girl. In fact, I’m quite convinced that if she had heard any stories about me while I was in high school, she might have been tempted to think that God wasn’t going to ever work in my life! Praise God, though, that he used her “sowing and planting” efforts as one means to help me grow to know Christ (and, subsequently, have a completely changed life.)

So, I ask again, “who has made an impact in your life for Christ?” Thinking about this question this week has certainly given me a thankful heart toward God and the way He has worked in my life. And, it’s provided more motivation for me to serve, pray for, and love others for Christ, as well. I hope it does the same for you.

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