God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! Ephesians 3:20
I have a friend, let’s call her Melissa, who knows first hand the reality of this verse I’ve been talking about. As a beautiful twenty something year old young woman, it would be easy for people to believe that her success is based on how she looks and not on her Christian faith.
But it only takes a few minutes talking with her or hearing her story before you know that Melissa knows that all the success and the doors that have opened for her have done so for one reason and one reason only – she is sold out to God.
It also bears noting that I have known Melissa since she was fourteen years old. I shared with hear several months ago after seeing the bracelet she has with this verse on it that when she was in high school, and I was her English teacher, I prayed this verse, along with the rest of Paul’s prayer from Ephesians 3 over my classroom before my students came in each August.
Coincidence – I think not! In fact, I know it’s not.
In all the time I’ve known her, Melissa’s faith has been one of those constants in her life that has gotten her through good times and bad times.
Through high school heartbreaks and choosing colleges.
From the first after college job, to her first move for a job, to her biggest break which has landed her a national voice.
With her permission, I am sharing her story here, because I believe it is a true example of God’s grace and how He can work in our lives when we are truly sold out to Him. This, my friends is a God thing. And, this is what it truly means to dream big.
As a senior in college, I was plagued by the same doubts and fears we all experience in those crucial times when our future is uncertain. Just months away from graduating with a double major in Communication and Broadcast, I had dreams to conquer the world of sideline reporting. With an internship lined up in Los Angeles, my immediate future was secure as I planned to lay the foundation for my career.
One Tuesday morning at an athletic meeting required of me as a volleyball player, I witnessed a presentation by Kids Across America. The visiting speakers were looking for counselors and staff to serve during the upcoming summer. I watched the video, heard the story, and smiled as the program went on. I was touched, but not enough to give up that critical summer after graduation, however, my best friend and teammate was. I followed her to the back of the room, and spoke with KAA-3 director, Ricky Jimmerson for the first time. I agreed to meet with his staff that afternoon, and a half hour meeting turned into three hours late into the evening.
As the conversation continued, I realized my passion for sports and my love for people could be combined in spending one summer at Kids Across America. Ricky never told me to turn down the internship I had been offered, he simply urged me to take a step toward my dream as I helped others find theirs. Terrified by the unknown, I rejected my internship offer that week and accepted the opportunity to serve at KAA. It was one of the best decisions of my life.
I wasn’t ready… none of us were. Kids Across America is loud. It’s crazy. It’s hype. It’s non-stop action training inner-city youth to be champions on and off the field; and it’s the most fun I’ve ever had. I was blessed to grow up in a family that pushed me to be excellent and believed in my dreams. At camp, it was impossible for me to understand some of the circumstances my campers had been pulled out of for seven short days. I poured my heart into these campers so that when each of my girls left, she knew she was loved. She knew someone believed in her dream. My life was forever changed by the kids I thought I was going to save.
Now, if this were the end to Melissa’s story, it would be amazing, but this is only the beginning for this amazing young woman. Since that week in the summer of 2010, she has gone on to host her own daytime television show where she has the opportunity to share love with her viewers, she has been Miss Capital City USA and third runner up to Miss Florida USA where her platform was all about mentoring young women so that they see their value in God and in themselves. Just three short years later, she is now a morning host on a nationally syndicated radio show.
Melissa, however, is the first to tell you that all this has nothing to do with her and everything to do with God. In fact, she says that she has stopped trying to plan her life because nothing she can dream is anywhere near as where God wants to take her. His grace sees Melissa through every day, the good and the bad, and gives her the strength and desire to be more than she could ever imagine.