"Where I Am Now" Wednesdays! Pt. 2
This year, Girl Talk Ministries is celebrating our 10th summer!
One whole decade. 12 grades. 21 cities. 4 missionary countries.
Thousands of girls. Thousands of moms. Thousands of families.
Our 8th grade Girl Talk girls who began Bible study with us in 2013 have now graduated from college, began jobs, moved across the country, gotten engaged, started graduate school and so much more taking Jesus with them in every place. Celebrating our tenth summer and leading up to our 10 Years celebration next Spring, we wanted to bring you the lives and stories of some of our "original gang" of "Girl Talk Girls." Here you will find testimonies of what God has done in their lives through Girl Talk and beyond and the ways they are living and serving Jesus with their lives where they are now!
This is Part Two of our newest Girl Talk Blog series, "Where I Am Now" Wednesdays!
Today's "Where I Am Now" series features Anna Clemmons. Anna is a senior at The University of South Alabama studying psychology and she will graduate in December. She then hopes to get her Master's in Mental Health Counseling. She is from Montgomery, Alabama and the daughter of Greg and Leigh Clemmons. She graduated from Alabama Christian Academy in Montgomery, Alabama in 2019. Anna grew up the same church Amy Cate attended and it has been a joy to watch Anna grow. Anna attended the first ever Girl Talk going into 6th grade and has been such a sweet part of our ministry ever since.
We cannot wait for you to hear all the Lord has done and is doing through Anna.
First ever Girl Talk, May 2013 (Anna, front row, third from left) Girl Talk (GT)• Anna, you have been a part of Girl Talk since our very beginning in 2013! You were going into 7th grade when Girl Talk started and you have stayed involved with us ever since. We have loved watching you grow up and see the ways the Lord has used you and worked in and through you. How Girl Talk has impacted your life?
Anna (AC): Girl Talk was the first place I learned how to be comfortable and confident in declaring my faith and the love of Jesus to others. I was in a setting where I had an opportunity to meet people I didn’t know or go to school with. It was a group of girls who genuinely wanted to pursue the Lord and learn more about Him and with that one goal in mind, it was so easy to connect and feel loved by people you didn’t know. I am convinced that is why this community has grown so much. It truly has The Gospel at its core and that is something that is so easy to build on because God is at the center of it.
GT• You are so right! We have loved watching how Jesus has grown Girl Talk with His Truth. The Gospel is so essential to understanding Growing up, we all see Jesus in different ways throughout our lives and understand Him at different levels and pace as everyone around us. When did you receive Jesus into your life as your Savior and when did you really understand Jesus for the first time? AC: I think I really understood Jesus for the first time my freshman year of college. I am a senior about to graduate now and I can look back and truly say my faith was tested and stretched the most in these past 4 years. It’s so funny to me because I thought I knew Him so well before, but I only had a sliver of knowledge about my Father. My freshman year was a very hard one. It seemed like I couldn’t win for losing. I had multiple hardships and tough circumstances hit me back to back, but in them, I decided to truly dig my feet into Jesus. I was at an all time low and I remember going on a trip with the Campus Outreach ministry at my school and being alone in the hotel room. I just started writing out a declaration of my faith to the Lord and letting Him know that I would completely give up control to Him. I think I truly understood Him when I felt the weight I had been trying to carry on my own being lifted. I understood that that was never what He wanted for me. He wanted me to feel the freedom of His Love and that’s exactly what I found in Him.
GT• It truly is so incredible to see Jesus fully when we give Him every thing. When He says to gain your life you must lose it, He really does mean it. We are so thankful you have found His Freedom in the Love offers all of us. You mentioned having a really hard freshman year, anyone reading this can definitely attest to hard seasons and times in our walk with Christ and in life when we come to that low place or crossroad where we choose the world or we choose Jesus. What were some of the struggles you faced in middle school, high school, college as you walked out your relationship with Christ? AC: Honestly, I had a great middle school and high school experience. I had a wonderful family, awesome friends, and I was plugged into a good church community. My biggest struggles have definitely been faced in college. I know everyone says it, but you’re truly never ready to be thrown out into the world like that. I had to learn how to handle starting over in a new city. That was the hardest struggle. In middle school and high school, I was always encouraged to go to church and outreach opportunities by my family and by my good friends, but in college it was completely in my hands to make the decisions about where to dedicate my time. I struggled with choosing God. I had so many fun opportunities put in front of me that I would always put Him on the back burner. I think the toughest but most rewarding part was deciding fully for myself to choose God first always. I am human so I still struggle with that sometimes, but I know that He’s there and that He is always waiting for me to come back to Him. GT• Such a good word for our older girls. We all struggle through different seasons and you are right, we don't think anything really prepares you for that new season of it being entirely up to you on where you spend your time and energy. But you make such a good statement, the foundation you built on going to church, staying involved, plugged into outreach, having the community around you, though you were faced with the obstacle of "will I choose this?" you had that foundation already built through middle school and high school, that you knew you could fall back on that and it would be solid. As you walked with God daily and sought Him in those struggles of college and handling starting over in a new city, how long was it before you saw any breakthrough in those struggles? AC: It probably took me a couple months to really find breakthrough. I say that because I simply turned to everything else first. I turned towards staying busy, hanging out with people, social media, etc. I felt as though I was testing out my level of happiness in each category. I quickly saw that it never lasted though. I’d come home and lay in bed and feel the same weight. That’s when I finally knew where I was supposed to be looking. I think I knew it all along, but as a sinful human, I was being stubborn. I finally started to choose God over everything and that’s when I didn’t find just happiness, but a fullness of joy that didn’t fade.
GT• "A fullness of joy that didn't fade." We love that. Psalm 16:11 is one of our favorite verses "You make know to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your Presence, with eternal pleasures at Your Right Hand." Another great word of your testimony. All of us at times are so tempted to turn to every thing else, even when we know Jesus is the answer. When we finally do, we find that Love and Freedom and Joy He promises us. We pray that all of us, as we continue to walk together in Holy Spirit, we will turn to Him quicker in each day. As you have seen this, turning to Him and finding that fullness of joy, what victories you have seen? AC: I have seen God restore my faith in ways I couldn’t have imagined. He’s brought me the most uplifting and encouraging friendships. He’s brought me to a church home. He’s restored so many parts of my heart that had felt broken and lost for some time. I’ve witnessed amazing victories in the lives of my loved ones as well. I’m seen God work in hearts that were broken. He’s provided so much restoration. GT• God is absolutely always in the restoration process in all of our lives, in these victories, how you have seen God work in your life?
AC: I’m seen Him take away so much of what I had worked so hard to build for myself. When I say that, I mean I had a picture of the life I was shooting for and I had checked a lot of the boxes for it on my own. I think I was almost feeling cocky with how much I was enjoying my life. He stripped away so much that I was choosing over Him. When I let go of my control, He took away things I had seen as so close to perfect and replaced them with even more beautiful things than I could have ever thought up on my own. I pictured Him saying, “Oh you think that’s good! Well let me just show you what can be great!” That has probably been the most beautiful part of the journey with my faith. Getting to slowly see His Plan unfold for my life. Once you put Him first, your plans and His plans tend to mold into one because your heart is centered on Him. GT• Yes!!! Matthew 6:33, "Seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness and all these things [you worry about] will be provided for you." We have absolutely seen that through Girl Talk. Amy Cate and Lindsey both have been the stripping seasons, multiple times, in multiple different ways, and we have seen the Lord bring more beauty that we could ever imagine through Girl Talk and His Plans. He took years of prayers from the closet floor and has brought Girl Talk Ministries. As you see this faithfulness in God's Plan for you, how is God is using you? AC: I believe God is still growing me. I used to struggle with not feeling adequate enough in my faith to be used by God. I thought that if my relationship with Him wasn’t perfect then there was no way I could reveal Him to others without feeling like an imposter. I’ve come to realize that if He truly is at the center of all I do then I am made more than adequate by His Spirit. I believe anyone with the Holy Spirit consuming them can’t help but to be a living, breathing vessel of the Savior. That alone is as useful for His Kingdom as anything could be. I hope that He is using me as a vessel for His Light and Love into this world.
GT• He has absolutely used you in so many ways, and He will continue using you as you continue giving Him your everything. You are right, being consumed by Holy Spirit, we cannot help but be His Vessel. We are His vessel and Holy Spirit empowers us each and every day with every thing we need to live for Him. "His Divine Power has given us everything w need for a Godly life through our knowledge of Him Who called us by His Own Glory and Goodness." 2 Peter 1:3 As you finish your senior year and start this next adventure on your journey with Jesus, how are you are serving now? AC: I am currently working a summer camp with three and four year olds. I often find myself in awe of their joy and I’m brought back to the passage in Matthew 18 about having faith like a child. I hope that I am serving them as much as they’re serving me. I hope that I’m revealing God’s Unconditional Love to them as they do for me every day. I also hope God continues to reveal more ways for me to serve and grow His Kingdom, but I know for certain that no matter where He leads me I have a solid foundation.
GT• We are so proud of you, Anna! You have a solid foundation in Christ and Who He is in your life and and He will always do just what He is able to do.. the Girl Talk verse, ALL GLORY to God Who is able to do IMMEASURABLY MORE than we can ask, think or imagine!