At Nyack College, we’re observing Black History Month 2018 by presenting a series of short profiles written by members of our faculty and staff. The features pay homage to an African American individual who inspired and encouraged their faith journey. These personal experiences are illustrations that affirm the widely adopted practice of mentoring in our campus community. These are our four February features.
Name a person who had a significant influence on your faith journey.
Share how this individual helped shape your life as a Christian.
“Wait. I want to hear what’s on this young girl’s heart.”
Those were the first words I heard Michelle Barclay speak as I sobbed into the palms of my hands. It was the close of what had become my routine visit to women’s meetings, but on this day the Lord’s call to me was louder than usual. Christ was calling me to live a life fully consecrated unto Him and I was terrified. However, the thought of not surrendering to Christ was just as unbearable.
I recall feeling as though no one else in the world could possibly understand my conflict. But as I wept, Michelle’s voice was a gentle surprise. Her presence was calming, but even more satisfying was her willingness to wait and hear what was on my heart. In the weeks that followed, Michelle would invite me to sit with her and her daughter during Sunday service and join them for lunch thereafter. The most humbling part of Michelle’s ministry in my life was the calls she made to me once a week. In her warm Trinidadian accent, Michelle would ask “DeLissa, how’s your walk with the Lord?”
Our conversations though brief, were always enough. My friend’s gestures were a demonstration of exactly what God was offering me. He, through His daughter, was demonstrating that a life lived for Him meant experiencing His tenderness, being a recipient of His loving patience, and developing a relationship that would prove to be richer than any relationship established on this side of Heaven. It has been over five years, and my dear friend Michelle has not ceased waiting to hear the hearts of young women who are being called to a life consecrated unto Jesus Christ.
Master of Social Work Program