The message stamped on my key was "SHINE." It is based off the verse Philippians 2:15 which tells us that we are to "become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you SHINE like stars in the universe." This verse has sort of become my life motto; my greatest desire and striving.
To me, it means that I am not supposed to fit in with the rest of the world, but that God made me to stand out for him and to shine His light to others.It is a message to be bold for the things of God.
This summer, a friend of mine asked if I wanted to go to a youth lake retreat with her church. I wasn't sure if I would be able to go, but my parents relented last minute and let me attend. It just so happened that Marisa, a girl visiting from Brazil, was there too and we ended up talking quite a bit, even though she didn't think her English was very good. We immediately hit it off and ended up making plans to hang out with each other again. A few weeks later, we were able to go get lunch and hammock together in Guntersville. While together, Marisa vulnerably shared her story with me, the good and the bad. She told me of a family member who recently committed suicide and how she realized that she missed that opportunity to share God with him. As she talked about how she no longer wanted to be shy about God and wanted to share him boldly with others, I couldn't help but think of one word: shine. God began tugging at my heart to give Marisa the necklace, but I put it off with the excuse that I barely knew her and my selfish desire to keep it for myself. Sadly, the next time we got to see each other was the day before she had to leave Alabama. We got ice cream that night and talked for a while. Before going to meet her, I resolved that if God would only give me some sort of sign, I would be willing to part with my beloved necklace and give it to her. While talking, Marisa shared yet another situation with me of how she wished she had simply been bold for God. God couldn't have spoken more plainly to me.
The necklace was meant for Marisa. So I explained the meaning of the necklace and of the giving keys with her and gave it to her. She sweetly accepted it with tears in her eyes and, to my surprise, told me what a blessing I have been in her life and how much I inspire her. It just goes to show that God can build such beautiful connections between people in the shortest amounts of time. What a wonderful God we serve!! I am excited to hear about the ways Marisa shines for Christ until she finds the next recipient of the necklace and even after she pays it forward!!