GNO with Jamie Stowell: Honesty, Five Weeks, and Mom

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I came to St Louis From Chicago (GO BEARS!) to go to Covenant Seminary for her MDiv, which I completed in May.  I love to laugh and is often known for it, love to cook for guests, and don’t do well in the heat (anything over 85) which makes going to the MUNY an arm-twisting affair. On a Saturday you can find me picking fresh veggies at the Soulard Market, having coffee at the Gelateria and then spending time with friends over dinner or a good game night. Ticket to Ride, anyone?

What has God taught you about trusting Him?
God’s taught me that trusting him requires a lot of honesty. Sometimes I will be doing the dishes and begin thinking about my day or things that are on my heart, people to pray for, or events around the world, and I will flat out break down. As I’m crying into the dishes, sometimes I pray, “I’m not in the mood to pray. I don’t trust you right now. If you were who you said you were, you’d be doing something about this.“ When I get to this point I know I’m believing a lie about the Lord. But it takes honesty and frustration to get me to the point in life where I can see it and I can name it. With out honesty, my faith turns into a blind, loveless and rote task. With honesty it’s alive and active, vibrant and anything but mundane. The fact that God can handle my doubts, my suspicion of him, and my tears, helps me to be grateful and it helps me want to sink deeply into his patience and love for me. God’s patience with me also helps me be patient with others.
How I trust the Lord says a lot about my personality too.  I find myself very reactionary to how things are or are not handled. It’s an insight into my heart as to how I’m wired emotionally. I used to fear my emotions and try to stifle them. Now I embrace them and ask the Lord to sanctify my emotions. I do not want to be anyone else or have anyone else’s personality. I want to be a more sanctified version of myself. 
It’s amazing that when I see what is going on inside of me in all areas of life, I can then see how it transfers over into my relationships, both with humans and with the Lord. God’s been teaching me to develop my “motive radar.” “Why are you doing this Jamie? Why AREN’T you trusting? Why ARE you trusting? What part of my past is playing into how I’m handling this?” The motive radar questions expose my heart and help me to trust more deeply.
What advice would you give a young woman starting college? 
Give yourself five weeks to find your church. Purposefully pick five churches to visit and then choose one where you can serve and where the Gospel is preached. We ask the wrong questions when we look for churches. “What can this place do for me?” should be replaced with, “Is Jesus glorified and how can I use my gifts here”
Going on an endless church shopping spree gives you too much time to become nameless and voiceless and then all of a sudden very lonely. The church should be our primary place of community – it’s just how God designed it. So as awesome as that floor Bible study is or how well your RUF or CRU leaders are, they are no substitute for a local body of believers. It’s really fun to be around people all in the same age and stage as you, but you will not grow the same way and you won’t gain the blessings (for better or for worse) of the local body of believers. Revelation 5 tells us that the kingdom of God is made up of people FROM every tribe and language and people and nation. When we tap into that in churches; getting around people who are different from us, we have a foretaste of heaven.
When I started going to a church in Chicago I asked my new pastor, “There are so many singles here, shouldn’t there be some sort of group for them?” he replied, “When you pick an area to serve in, you will find your community – not the community that looks just like you, but real community based on your heart for service.” That advice has stuck with me.  When I joined a community group there were young and old, children, teens, single, married, and mixed races. It was a mini Revelation 5. When you serve with someone you get to know them at a level that you normally wouldn’t. The service projects that we chose to do together around the city made us a family – and that’s really what you need while you are away at school.
What woman most inspires you and why?
My mom passed away when I was 16. Today, almost 20 years later, she still inspires me. I’ve got her blood in my veins and every day I feel her life woven into mine.
I would come home from school and more often than not I would see her chatting on the phone with women from church for as long as they needed to talk. I observed her way with hearing people, crying with the mourners and laughing with the joyful – never taking herself too seriously. She left no memoir, wrote no book, held no job of “power” and yet she utterly changed my life. From the moment we prayed for Jesus to take control of my life on a sunny day in June, when I was five, to the days she drove me places even in the painful moments in between chemo treatments, her selflessness for her children will never be forgotten. Watching her serve women made me desire to do the same thing. I am proudly my mother’s daughter.
Your friend, 
Jamie

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