Visiting pastors circled around the group of half a dozen people, praying intently for each person. My friend Felix kept slipping out of her chair and moving to a different spot farther from the action. When everyone else had received prayer, the pastors turned to Felix. “Your turn!”

She giggled nervously and sat down looking apprehensive.

She couldn’t run away any more.

IMG_2303 (2)The pastor put a hand on Felix’s shoulder and immediately his face burst into a wide grin. “Wow! I just got an overwhelming sense that God really likes you!” The pastor laughed out loud. “I think Jesus wants you to know how proud of you he is. And you should know that he really likes you. He likes your personality. He likes who you are!”

Tears streamed down Felix’s face.

Later I asked her what she had been thinking. “I didn’t want to get prayer today. I just knew that those pastors were going to tell me how much I’ve messed up, how I still have so much to learn. I didn’t expect what they said.”

Felix has heard that God loves her a million times, but she still needed to hear it again.

So now, I want to tell you. God likes you! He likes who you are. He likes your personality. He’s proud of you. What a great and gracious God we serve.


Ellen BenefieldEllen Benefield

Ellen In Her Own Words: My husband Kyle grew up planning to be a doctor. He met Jesus late in high school. Our first year in college, we went to a church planting conference. He very clearly heard the Holy Spirit tell him that he would be a church planter in Latin America. He argued for a while, and eventually gave in. In the 12 years that have followed, he hasn't looked back. When we told me his new plan, I was thrilled. I never saw myself as a doctor's wife. We got married, finished out degrees, and spent 9 months in training at our local church. In the summer of 2007, we loaded up my grandpa's pickup and moved to Mazatlan, Mexico.

Seven years later, we have three small children and a bustling church in the middle of a low-income neighborhood. We consistently meet women who think they need to be perfect before they can connect with God. Poverty puts people in difficult situations, and many have made choices they aren't proud of as a result. Our church motto is "Imperfect people full of Jesus' love." Over and over again we find ourselves explaining God's wonderful, amazing grace. My favorite part of ministry is watching people hear from the Holy Spirit.

Connect With Ellen Online:

Twitter: @Ellenbenefield