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J.J.'s Journal. . .May 10

Jessika Stratton will continue to send periodic entries into "J.J.'s Journal."

Jessika Stratton will continue to send periodic entries into "J.J.'s Journal."

May 10, 2004

Surprise...

And you all thought that it was my last journal entry! I couldn't very well leave you hanging right?

One chapter of my life has closed and another is looming just in the distance. Graduation is most times thrilling but sometimes frightening because the word graduation is frequently attached to the phrase "real world" and the question, "so what are you going to do next?" So my friends, I would like to take this opportunity to joyfully share with you the plans for my next adventure.

As much as I would love to stay in Waco and be close to the Baylor family, I know that it is my time to move on and take another step of faith. Let me take you back to my first months at Baylor. A Colorado gal born and bred, I followed the Lord's calling to the Lone Star State. At first the move away from home was fairly exciting you know, "College, no parents!" Then reality set in. Honestly, the Texas heat did not suit my fancy, nor did the landscape. I couldn't hop in my car for a weekend and get the mom and dad fix I so desperately needed. I knew not one sole in Texas and I found myself utterly alone. My heart ached for the comforts of home. Not just the home cooking, but the hugs from my little sister, the times with my youth group, and the words of encouragement from people who knew me well. Everything that I turned to, whether in joy, sorrow or in need of advice, was stripped away in one 14-hour drive south. My spiritual crutches were gone. I was walking alone, and I was positive that this is not what the Lord had in mind...

In a moment of desperation I cried out to the Lord and in a moment a blanket of peace fell gently over me. I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Everything I thought I needed to survive was gone, but the only thing I truly needed was the Lord and He would fulfill every desire of my heart. And that was that, every time situations seemed to be too much and I wanted to get out, I found solace and peace at the foot of the cross. It was then that I came into my own and truly found myself.

That leads me here, to this point, just a week before graduation, comfortable, happy and truly blessed. I have everything I need here in Waco, friends, extended family, and a wonderful church. I am secure. However, after much prayer I know that it is time for a new challenge. A time to be faced with the same frustrations and feelings I had as a young freshman. I must continue to grow. It is so easy to become stagnant, and fall into the flow. From experience I know the greatest time of growth for me was when I was yanked from my comfort zone. I need to be plucked out and broken down, only to be built up once again.

-Jeremiah 1:4-10

"Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations. Then I said, "Alas, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, because I am a youth." But the Lord said to me, "Do not say 'I am a youth' because everywhere I send you, you shall go, and all that I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them for I am with you to deliver you," declares the Lord. Then the Lord stretched out his hands and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me, "Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms. To pluck up and to break down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant."

I have been called to join Athletes in Action in Prague, Czech Republic, this coming year. I believe that the Lord has prepared my heart to begin a whole new adventure and to share my love of Christ with athletes around the world. As a part of my ministry, I will join Sparta, a professional women's basketball team in Prague. I am so excited to return back to where my spiritual growth began two years ago. It was in Prague, on an Athletes in Action summer tour, where I learned that sport is a doorway to reaching others for Christ. I now get to fulfill His calling when I depart for Prague in September.

In order to make this dream a reality, I must raise my own support for an entire year. On paper it seems like a daunting task, but I am completely confident that the Lord will provide.

I have loved being able to share my thoughts with you all over the past season and I am thrilled to say that I will continue to write a monthly update on J.J.'s Journal to keep you all posted about the happenings in the Czech Republic!

Again thank you to each and every one of you who shared a hug, a word of encouragement or sat down to write me an e-mail. I have been truly blessed by each and every one of you!

-Jessika

 

 

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