OUR DELIGHT STORY: AUBURN UNIVERSITY
We’ve all been there. One moment we’re on our best friend’s Instagram page, we see someone we don’t recognize (who PRAISE isn’t on private) and find ourselves two years deep in their Instagram feed within minutes. We see someone else we think we recognize only to find out we don’t actually know them but hey, no harm in creeping a little bit longer, right? One thing leads to another, you end up accidentally liking that picture from two years ago, following the blog they write and knowing their life story in its entirety. This mindless scavenger hunt is how I found myself scrolling through Delight’s Instagram page the spring semester of my freshman year. Now, you should know I am not a huge fan of the color pink, I am more of a neutral girl myself, so it’s no surprise that when I found myself on Delight’s Instagram page I immediately wrote it off as another “pink, feel good, flowery” ministry. I didn’t know it then, but that one glance would plant the first seed in my heart for a college women’s ministry that is everything but feel good and flowery.
If I have learned anything through the process of bringing Delight to Auburn University, it is that the Lord is faithful. HE is faithful to provide, faithful to complete and faithful to be more than enough. That little seed He planted the day I stumbled upon Delight’s Instagram page is the same seed HE would continue to grow and care for until it came to fruition. During my time at a camp the following summer, the Lord would place a dear friend in my life who had just gone through the process of bringing Delight to Samford University. It was through our conversations about Delight that I would begin to understand the structure, heartbeat and mission behind this ministry. Over the course of that summer, I began to wrestle with what it looked like to lead and pour into girls as a sophomore in college. My freshman year was amazing. It was a year of growth and a year of some major heart change, but it was also a year filled with fear and confusion, a year of believing lies about myself, and wrestling with doubts and loneliness. It wasn’t until the end of my freshman year that I realized I wasn’t the only one who bought into the lies of social media, the fears of a future that suddenly rested in my hands, or doubts of a God I had placed my trust in without ever really asking what that meant. I wanted girls to know that they were not alone; I didn’t want them to have to learn the hard way or think that they were crazy as they walked through freshman year unsure of who they were or what they wanted.
Reflecting on thoughts I had that summer and the amount of times Delight came up in conversation, it was obvious that the Lord was softening my heart towards this ministry, but all I could see was a gigantic mountain and no way to reach the top. When I returned to Auburn the following Fall, I found myself occasionally scrolling through Delight’s website and playing the “what if” game: “What if we brought Delight to Auburn?” “Who would “we” even be?” “Auburn doesn’t need another ministry, why on earth does this one keep coming up?” So I continued to pray and continued to wrestle and continued to back away from the giant mountain in front of me. But, as I mentioned before, the Lord is faithful to provide, faithful to complete, and faithful to be more than enough, even when we don’t see how on earth there could be a way.
One night that semester I found myself on the floor of my best friend’s bedroom, dreaming about the year ahead of us. We were talking through our experiences freshman year when she mentioned a women’s event I had been a part of that summer geared towards girls getting ready to embark on their college journey. She asked if there was a way we could do something like that for the freshman girls at Auburn and immediately my heart jumped and all I could say was “Delight.” I explained what I knew of the ministry and the dreams and visions the Lord had been placing on my heart for what this could be for women on Auburn’s campus. As we sat there talking about our hearts for these freshman girls and our excitement for this new ministry, we began to pray for what this might meant—and that night we said yes to taking the first step towards the mountain in front of us.
That semester, we went to Samford to visit the friend of mine who had introduced me to Delight. As she explained what each week looked liked for their leadership team and the weekly Delight meetings, we sat in awe and excitement, taking it all in. We watched as girls from all different backgrounds, each with a unique story, met in a campus classroom to worship together and talk about what the Lord was doing in their hearts. Leaving that night we began to pray for a leadership team that would exemplify the diversity that we desired in Auburn’s Delight. What we quickly realized was that the same doubt and comparison that filled our hearts freshman year was also ever present in the context of a ministry in our sophomore year. High on emotion and enthusiasm for our new ministry we were ready to hit the ground running the very next day, but the Lord had a different plan. Our sophomore year would be filled with tiny steps forward and big steps back. As we sought out guidance for what it would look like to bring Delight to Auburn’s campus, we continued to hear “Auburn doesn’t need another ministry.” This phrase began to take a toll on our hearts towards Delight and set us back even further in finding a leadership team.
It was easy to look at Samford’s finished product and compare it to our far from perfect start. Our slow steps forward led to doubt and questions, but with each step we were reminded that hard doesn’t mean bad, it just means hard. Slowly but surely our leadership team began to form. I found myself praying to the Lord for guidance but still trying to have my hand and my wants met within our leadership team. It wasn’t until we received the seventh “no thank you” that I realized this was only going to work if we chose to do it God’s way. After months of searching, praying, and a ton of help from the Mackenzie’s at Delight headquarters, we finally established a leadership team and set a date for our Kick-Off. We were half way through spring semester but decided better late than never. With only 5 weeks left of school, we had our kick-off and began to meet in our student center and the crazy thing was, girls showed up. Every week we went in unsure of what it would look like or how God was going to move, but each week He did. Girls desiring community were experiencing answered prayers and girls on leadership grasped for the first time what it truly meant to walk in the freedom Jesus died for us to have.
Coming back to Auburn in the next Fall, we had a better understanding of what worked and what didn’t. We began spreading the word to incoming freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Kick-Off was a blast and throughout the semester we continued to see the Lord form community, tear down walls, and open up a place for women of all ages to come, share their stories and experience redemption and restoration. Throughout this whole process, I have been reminded over an over again that the God we read about in Scripture, the One who was SO incredibly faithful to His people is the same God who continues to be SO incredibly faithful to provide, faithful to complete and faithful to be more than enough today.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” // Hebrews 13:8
We still have a lot to learn and have our fair share of imperfections, but if I have gained anything through this process it is the truth that Delight rests on; when we Delight ourselves in the Lord daily, His desires begin to become our own and He makes a way for those desires to become a reality. When I began to Delight myself in the Lord, His desires for this ministry became my own and He was faithful to see those desires to completion.
If you are wondering if that little tug on your heart is the Lord, chances are it is. We as believers walk by faith and not by sight. Starting Delight on your college campus might look to you like it did to me… Mount Everest. If you are staring that daunting mountain in the face, my encouragement would be to take the Lord’s hand and faithfully take the first “yes” step, trusting that He will lead. Begin your journey of seeing the impossible become possible. Where the Lord says go he makes a way to get there and gives you the strength to see it through. Because I said “yes” I now know girls on Auburn’s campus that I would never have met otherwise. Because I said “yes” I not only know those girls, but I know their stories. Because I said “yes” the girls that we know as our leadership team are now some of my best friends. Because I said “yes” I have seen the Lord show up, show off and change lives. Because I said “yes” I know Jesus all the more.
Now is your time to say yes, will you take that first step?
The Girl who now wears pink