I sat cross-legged in a London park and carefully squeezed the henna paste out of its cone. I manipulated the paste into a pattern as my partner explained the symbols in the design. “And that is the story of how Jesus calmed the storm,” she ended. I instructed the woman whose hand I had just decorated to scrape the paste off when it was dry — by that time the paste would have dyed the design onto her hand. As I turned to the next woman in line, awe washed through me. I was a completely ordinary girl with no spectacular artistic talent, yet here I was, sharing God’s stories with hundreds of women.
Though my family is originally from America, we moved to India when I was young. Summer after summer, my friends and I would sit cross-legged on hot concrete, lazily playing with henna paste. When I moved from India to England, I moved with a henna-stain flower on my hand.
It was in England that I realized God had not asked me to be His witness. He had commanded me, and all Christians, to spread the news about Him far and wide.
But there was a problem. I didn’t feel like I had a talent. My brother led worship, but I couldn’t bring myself to sing in public. My Dad told Bible stories to everyone he met, but I felt awkward each time I started a conversation with a stranger. I didn’t believe I had anything to offer God. But then I read the story of Isaiah.
God gave Isaiah messages to relay to God’s people. Chapter 6 of the book of Isaiah explains how Isaiah got this job. In a vision, Isaiah saw God seated on His throne. He watched as the earth shook in God’s presence. Isaiah was so overcome by his own inadequacy that he cried, “I am ruined!” But then Isaiah was told that his sin was gone. At that point, Isaiah heard God say, “Whom shall I send?” Isaiah answered, “Here I am. Send me.”
Like Isaiah, I was very aware of my inadequacy. So I decided to follow Isaiah’s example. “Lord,” I prayed, “I’m not much, but I am giving you everything I am, everything I have, and everything that I can do. Here I am. Use me.”
A few weeks later, God gently reminded me of a website I had occasionally visited in India. The website, hennastories.org, contained henna patterns that corresponded to Bible stories. Lazy days of playing with henna suddenly rushed back into my mind. I dug out my last cone of paste and excitedly resolved to use the designs to tell Bible stories to my British friends.
I ended up sitting cross-legged in a London park, sharing God’s stories with hundreds of women. I wasn’t perfect at henna, but I didn’t have to be. Just like God used Isaiah, an inadequate man, He used me. He took the little I had, and made it into something spectacular.
The following post was written by Elisabeth Stringer. Elisabeth is an American high-school senior. She currently lives in Redhill, England. She and her family have also lived in India and Africa. Elisabeth shares her story to encourage others to find the unique way God has called them to share gospel.
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