This summer, Thursday became my absolute favorite night of the week. Not only was it Pilates night for my personal workout routine, but it was book club night. When 7:30 pm rolled around, you could find me posted up in my living room watching the street for cars to arrive, itching to see whom the Lord had brought this week. It was pure joy that filled my heart to create a space that was cozy, comfortable, and inviting for the girls who decided to take the journey with me through Sex and the Single Christian Girl.

But, trust me, I didn’t always feel this way.

Nothing intimidated me more than starting a Redeemed Girl Book Club. Even though RGM provides all the tools to make leading a snap, I still felt unqualified. You see, I had grown up being a part of Bible studies. Even still, I involve myself in small group settings, and I knew how they went. I was always a member, not a leader. I thought to myself: I can’t be a leader when I am always just a member, a follower. The leaders in my lifetime were strong, powerful, and ambitious women of God. Sure, I love Jesus with my whole heart, but I will be the first to admit that I don’t have this whole Christian life thing figured out. How could I lead someone when I failed to do it all right each and ever day?

Self-doubt crept into my heart and mind more like wildfire does on drought-ridden woods. God can’t use someone like you. What will you have to teach people? You’re not worthy. You can’t do this. Who do you think you are?

I had scared myself into immobility. I knew I was supposed to lead a book club, but it seemed like the odds were stacked entirely against me. I felt defeated and stuck. I really wanted to do this, but… my mind kept filling in the doubt-filled excuses. This feeling led me to my journal. I poured out my heart on the next clean page telling God I didn’t understand how my good intentions had been silenced so quickly. During this venting session, a quote I had heard from my cousin came to mind. She was considering going into ministry and doubting her abilities all at the same time. Her pastor told her this: “God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called.”

Game changer. I wrote the quote down in my journal and was immediately confronted with the realization that I had been listening to a lie. I was listening to the Enemy as he whispered doubt into my heart because I was seeking to glorify the Lord. The doubt he spoke had convinced me there was some qualification I needed in order to lead this book study. I felt like I had to have my life in check, my failures figured out, and my perfection shining through and through. But, God doesn’t call the equipped. Let’s be real, who is equipped to teach about the Lord Almighty on their own and by their own power? There should be no hands raised for that one because simply put, it’s impossible!

Now, I may not have been facing a decision about whether or not to go into full-time ministry, but the meaning of the pastor’s words meant the same to me. There are no qualifications to being a child of God other than admitting a desperate need for Him. If I had no need for Jesus, I would not have Jesus. The reality is because I am a child of God, I am equipped to do what He has asked me to do.

I then knew that all I needed to do was ask God to equip me. Hebrews 13:21 says, “(God will) equip you with everything good that you may do His will…” So, I did each and every Thursday of my summer. I let my nerves and my doubts be quieted in prayer. I prayed and asked God to use me as His mouthpiece. Begging God, I asked Him to use my convictions to teach the girls in my group. Lastly, I begged God to give me the confidence to be real. The enemy tried to tell me that I had to have it all together, but God tells me to come as I am, hands open, heart yearning for a healer.

From there, I just began posting about the book study on my social media accounts. I wanted God to press into the hearts of my friends who should engage in this study with me. It took a lot of trust that first night knowing that there was a possibility no one would show up. But He was faithful in bringing girls into my home and eager to learn about God’s design for sex and marriage. I knew that if God asked me to do this and I was obedient that He would be faithful. I know this because my favorite verse in the entire Bible states, “Therefore, let us hold unswervingly to the hope which we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23) The small talks that I gave at the beginning after a fun game were from my personal convictions. I did my best to be open about my struggles, questions, and failures on the topics each week. I knew this was God’s place to show off how much He had done in my life, and not my place to tell how well I had done.

Each week got better and better. I felt that when I shared, the girls in my group became more comfortable, and they began to share more about what they were personally learning, too. I fell in love with their hearts for Jesus. I was encouraged to hear how God was working in their lives. I think to myself now, “What if I had let the enemy win? What if I had let him convince me that I was not good enough?” Sincerely, I thank the Lord for how He rescued me from that situation. His power prevailed because if not, not only would my heart not been changed but the hearts of the girls who attended would not have been changed. Humbly, I thank Him for using me, but more than ever; I thank Him for using them.

I could continue to tell how much I have grown by reading Marian’s powerful words, and how much saying ‘yes’ to God has given me the confidence to be bolder in my life. But, the truth is, He used the girls in my group to bless me beyond belief. Little did I know that these sweet souls, some who I know really well and others who I barely knew at all, would have such an impact on my heart. We “confessed our sins together and prayed for one another,” and as a result just as James 5:16 continues to say we were, “healed.” The friendships formed, comments made, questions asked, and hard discussions created with these girls brought my relationship with God much deeper to a place where He began to teach, reveal, and heal me more and more. Now, looking back at the summer I can say with a full and sure heart that these girls lead me closer to Jesus, and I can only hope that they feel the same about each other.

If you’ve stuck with me this far through this post (God bless you), I want you to know that you can do it. If, at any point in reading this, you had a nudging to lead a group of women in your church, sorority, ministry, or even just in your neighborhood—don’t hesitate. God longs to use you and your story to reach out to others, but more likely than not, He wants to use those girls to lead you more than you need to lead them. Embrace your failures, and forget perfection. Quiet the doubts with spiritual confidence. You are a child of God by grace; let Him lead you through grace. There’s no qualification other than a love for Jesus. And remember: God doesn’t call the equipped; God equips the called.

Click HERE to start your own Redeemed Girl book club.

Caroline Brittingham

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