A Life Lived Beautifully: Jessica Miller
I am thrilled to begin a new series on Friday's called "A Life Lived Beautifully." The Lord laid on my heart to begin sharing stories of real life women living out the gospel everyday where God has placed them. Each one of these women is completely unique with specific passions, giftings, and most importantly, a heart that is burning for the Lord! I hope you are encouraged through this series to embrace the way that God has made you and follow Him. May we live our live beautifully for the glory of God - together.
I've known Jessica since college. We met in a Bible study led by my pastor's wife and quickly became friends. Jessica is not only one of the most genuine women you will meet, but she has a laugh that will make you all giddy inside and want to experience the same joy of the Lord! Jessica has encouraged me to follow Jesus with reckless abandon as I have watched her live in Mexico as a missionary, move back to the states, and trust God to guide her throughout each season of life. She knows who she is in Christ and stands firm for the gospel. This dear sister will inspire you to live courageously for the things that matter - making much of Jesus!
Introduce yourself like we are having a cup of coffee together. What kind of coffee/tea would you drink?
Hello, sweet friends. I’m Jessica Miller, a twenty-something teacher living the dream in Athens, GA. I love Jesus, my family, my friends, and my job. I am not a coffee girl, but I love a pumpkin spice latte in the fall. If I were to sit down with you and have a cup of tea, chai with vanilla almond milk would be my go-to.
What is your definition of a "life lived beautifully"?
A life lived beautifully is a life that begins and ends with Jesus. It is characterized by joy in the simple things and a delight in the Creator. A life lived beautifully reflects Christ to others and makes much of Jesus.
When did you start following Jesus?
I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home and prayed to receive Christ at the young age of six. However, I did not truly begin to follow Him and place my all in Him until I was in middle school. His Word began to work in my heart and transform me from the inside out.
What are some verses you constantly cling to and bring life to your soul?
Isaiah 43 has been a passage that I have clung to for a few years now. I think my favorite characteristic of the Lord is the way that He redeems. This passage speaks so beautifully of His precious redemption. Verses 18-19 are my favorite:
“Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
A few months ago, I read a quote somewhere that said something like “God is doing about a thousand things in your life, and you are aware of three of them.” The above verses help me to remember that He’s always working.
I also love the Psalms, and Psalm 103 helps me to remember all that God has done and all that He has promised to do.
1 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
When did God call you to the mission field?
When I was fifteen, I went on a short-term mission trip with my church to villages surrounding Mexico City. It was my first time out of the country and my first time traveling without my parents. I knew that it would be incredible but really wasn’t sure what to expect. Our team did a lot of different things that week, and I was able to see people living life completely differently from the way that I saw life in Marietta, Georgia. We worked with a team of missionaries, and I remember thinking to myself, “I want to do this when I grow up. I want to live here.” The Lord placed the desire on my heart and showed me how important it is to take time to understand different cultures and to see how people live in unfamiliar places. He is a God of the nations, and His heart is for all peoples.
What did God teach you in your time as missionary teacher overseas? How is teaching in the States different and how is it the same?
This is a loaded question, but what comes to mind is God’s faithfulness. In moving to Mexico, I had to raise support and go to a place where I knew no one. I had no prior connections to the missions organization I was a part of-I was starting from scratch. It was my first “big girl job” after college, and I felt like I had no idea what I was doing most of the time. But the Lord gave me grace upon grace. He allowed me to teach a wonderful group of children for two years, and then gave me a beautiful church home. I made amazing friends that I still talk to and love dearly. He was so very faithful.
Teaching anywhere is difficult. Kids are so amazing and loveable, but they are people with personalities and needs, just like adults. The Lord has given me the privilege of teaching in various settings that are so unique and unlike each other. I began my teaching career in Mexico at a small private Christian school for missionary kids. When I moved back to Athens, GA in 2012, I taught in the public school system for two years. Now I teach at a private Christian school for inner city kids of Athens. Teaching is demanding and requires a lot of heart. If you do not care for the kids within your daily sphere of influence, it is not something for you. The main differences boil down to the nitty gritty procedures and the methods of teaching. The similarities are that you always have kids that pull your heartstrings and that you want to take home with you, and you always have more to do than time allows.
What advice would you give to other young women seeking to follow Jesus to the mission field?
Know that if there is a desire in your heart to go to the mission field, the Lord has put it there. The journey to the mission field is different for every person. Some people have a wonderful support system of friends and family that are behind them no matter what. Others are going it alone and find themselves without support from various avenues. Regardless of your situation, it is so important to press in to the Lord and listen to His voice. There are many other voices that will vie for your attention, but the voice of the Holy Spirit is of utmost importance. Press into Him and trust that He is Lord over all- He has a place for you that is beyond what you could imagine for yourself.
If you could do anything for the glory of God, what would it be?
I want to raise kids that follow Jesus with a reckless abandon. My heart is for children, no matter their age or stage. I would love to adopt or foster kids at some point and impact their lives in a way that points them to Jesus. To see His kingdom furthered through the lives of others is what I want most.
If you could tell every woman reading this blog one thing God has laid on your heart, what would it be?
Jesus is worth your everything. He is worth it when you are tired and scared. He is worth it when you are the only one who stands for something good and pure. He is worth it when everything in your life is perfect. He is worth it when you find yourself doubting and it looks like all hope is lost. Jesus is worth it, no matter the cost.