The Scariest Thing I’ve Ever DoneJuly 19, 2012
By Jennifer Marsh, ELN student in Olympia, WA, at the Anthem School of Ministry
I first heard about Anthem in a pamphlet that was pinned to the bulletin board of my church. I was 19, going to college, and had been saved for less than a year. That looks interesting. I thought, and paid it no more mind until a family friend asked me to go with her to their preview day. I agreed to go only out of curiosity; after all, I was in college. I didn’t need a discipleship program. And moving to Olympia? With all those hipsters? Totally out of the question.
I remember being amazed from the moment I stepped in the door at the confidence the Anthem students exuded. They were all smiles and, for a girl who was yet to have any coffee, a little confusing. How could anyone be so happy so early in the morning?
The morning began with worship, and I watched in awe as they went all out. I was from a small church where only the super mature adults got into worship. For me, lifting my hands was a huge act of faith. The Anthem students were so excited about worshipping God that it made me feel like I might be missing something. But, I told myself, it wasn’t like I really could worship – I was so guilty over my own sin that I cringed at the idea of drawing close to God. I was saved, but I knew God didn’t like me too much.
The guilt and condemnation were so stifling that I almost left the room. It was easy for those Anthem students, I decided, because they had never really messed up, as I had. I knew that the things I had done were way past forgiveness, and if I told anyone in the room, they’d probably shun me.
Just as I was getting ready to sneak out, I heard the voice of the Lord cut through my frantic thoughts like he was coming in on HD. Jennifer, He said, trust Me when I say that I am big enough to cover your sins.
Before I knew it, I was signing up to do Anthem.
It’s been over two years since that day. Two years spent interning in the most amazing program I’ve ever seen. In those two years the Lord has revolutionized my life. He’s taught me about grace and how to live in it. He’s taught me how to walk with that same confidence I envied on my first day here. He’s taught me how beautiful I am to Him, how my worth is based on what He says, not what I do. He’s taught me that my sin doesn’t disqualify me – it just gives me perspective to speak to others.
Two years later, I can confidently say that the Lord absolutely showed up for me when I put my neck out for Him. I was scared out of my mind to do this program. Over the course of Anthem my fear receded, but God’s love never did. No matter what I was going through, He stuck by me, and every day He reminded me that I was right where He wanted me.
You’ll hear people say that Anthem isn’t easy, and it isn’t always fun. That’s true. But it’s also been the best two years of my life. I’ve gained friends better than I could dream of, a relationship with the God who promised to never leave me, and a second chance at a life that I don’t deserve. The Lord used Anthem to change my life; I wouldn’t take that experience back for the world.
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