Jerilyn, known to her friends as “Jeri,” started growing anxious last year when she noticed a lump below her left ear that had started growing.
As more time passed, Jerilyn began to fear the worst.
“After a year of it being there and slowly getting bigger, I decided it was time to get it looked at,” she remembers. “I went to the ENT and he evaluated it and immediately became concerned and said I needed a CT scan that day. The results came back with a ‘neoplasm about 5 millimeters in diameter.’ The doctor called me to let me know, stating it was likely a tumor on my parotid salivary gland. Understandably so, my mind was in a whirlwind, because no one likes to hear the ‘C’ word thrown around.”
Faced with this uncertainty, Jerilyn received a calming assurance from the Lord.
“I remember crying out to God and praying for His will, even though I felt like I was abandoned in some ways,” says Jerilyn, a dedicated Central Student Ministries volunteer who has attended here for a decade. “I also remember feeling a small voice calm the storm in me by saying, ‘Trust ME.’”
Further testing revealed the lump to have the architecture of a normal, enlarged lymph node, so doctors saw no reason to do a biopsy since nothing abnormal was found.
“God is good,” says Jerilyn. “I see now that I was a young, impatient adult and needed a test so that He could show me that He is in control.”
Around the same time all of this was going on, Jerilyn had started praying about areas in the church where she could best serve as a volunteer.
“I wanted to be involved in some way, but I have always been shy and not fond of stepping up to be a leader, because I have lacked confidence and felt unqualified,” she says.
A few months later, an opportunity came about for Jerilyn to lead a new ministry within Central’s Varsity ministry. This ministry allows high school seniors to step up and lead other students at Central by greeting or volunteering at church events.
“This was just the beginning of the validation I had been seeking,” Jerilyn says. “I have really enjoyed getting to know the students and I am so proud of the ones who have stepped up to be servant leaders. I have taken them out for lunch and led a Bible study about leadership with them. It took me out of my comfort zone but I feel as though if anyone is going to serve, they need to be actively seeking the Lord and studying God's Word. Without that, the Holy Spirit's guidance will become second to the distractions this generation faces daily.
“I believe that God has used this ministry I lead as a stepping stone to teach me spiritual leadership, and I look forward to strengthening my spiritual gifts that I never knew I had.”
Jerilyn, who is 24 and has walked with the Lord since childhood, also wants to let her light shine in her day job as a dental hygienist.
“What is the purpose of being a Christ follower if you can't in turn learn to lead people to Christ?” she says.