Getting to Know: Catherine Jessup

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CATHERINE JESSUP // FRESHMAN

One of the goals of this blog is for people in the Watty College ministry to find out more about each other. Here is a platform where voices can be heard, and the untold stories beyond the (freezing) upstairs college room can be shared. I got to sit down and chat with Catherine a few weeks ago, and let me tell you, this girl is on FIRE for the Lord. It was so encouraging to talk to her. I hope her testimony and thirst for the Word of God encourages you to live for the glory of God in everything you do! —McGee, Watty College Communications Director

McGee Nall: Would you mind sharing your testimony? 

 Catherine Jessup: I grew up in a Christian home in Loganville, Georgia. Both my parents were believers and sought God’s will, and believed it was important for the children to do so, as well. I kind of grew up knowing right from wrong, learning how to forgive and love the Lord. When I was younger, I was only in elementary school—it’s not like I was getting into anything of serious danger to myself or others—but I lived a selfish life, thinking of myself constantly.

I remember my mom sitting us down in the living room one day—me, my sister and my brother—and basically sharing the gospel with us and telling what Jesus has done for us. She told us about the relationship she had with Jesus and my dad had, and encouraged us to pursue a relationship with Him, too, if we wanted. From that moment on in May 2010, I decided that was something God was tugging on my heart to do. I accepted Him as a fourth grader and was baptized two years later. As 2 Corinthians says, I was a new creation, and I wasn’t who I was before. I started to begin a daily life with Christ. I had small group leaders that reflected that for me and gave me examples of how that looked in my day-to-day life.

I went through middle school just living a pretty normal life, nothing dramatic happened. I was very thankful I didn’t have to go through anything major, or deal with things most people do, but life just hits harder for some. I started playing softball from about the time I got saved all throughout high school. I always felt God tell me to minister and share Christ’s love with my teammates, because I knew not many of them, if any, were believers. As a freshman, I felt that was something God was calling me to do. I began to build relationships with these girls and love on them. I became really discouraged to be a freshman, practicing with juniors and seniors who I heard stories in the locker room they were not doing very good things. I became discouraged and didn’t know how God was going to use me as a little freshman to impact the girls on my team. I eventually just decided I would build relationships and by the time got to junior and senior year, I would start to pour out and show what it means to live out Jesus’ love. I decided that was what I was going to do, and I did that.

By the time junior year rolled around, I get a text from one of the girls, Maddie, who I was the closest one on the team with. She was the pitcher, had a lot of influence. I continually tried to show her what God’s love looked like. She texted me one day in February and said, “Thank you for pouring into me and giving me a good example of what Christ’s love looks like every day. I just want to thank you for being a good friend.” Then she asked me to do something I didn’t have the courage to do. She wanted me to get a Bible study started with some of the younger girls on the team. That was really cool knowing I didn’t even have the confidence to do that because I felt like I didn’t have enough authority on the team. But her being the pitcher, she did and we started it. We invested in those younger girls, and I just thank God for using me as a vessel for that.

Then she asked me to do something I didn’t have the courage to do. She wanted me to get a Bible study started with some of the younger girls on the team.

So from that moment on in fourth grade when I accepted Jesus into my heart, I was a new creation, but I still mess up every day and fall into temptation. But God’s mercies are new every day. I’m just thankful. I’m just here now trying to make an impact and invest in people that hopefully will advance His kingdom.

MN: Can you talk about your history with Watty?

CJ: I had heard of Watkinsville First Baptist from two older girls I respected a lot. They came here their freshmen year, and told me they got plugged in at Watty.  It was definitely the first church I wanted to try before the others. The first day me and my three other roommates went, and we fell in love. We knew we were looking for a church that preached the truth, and Watkinsville did that phenomenally. We fell in love with the people there, we got plugged into family groups and discipleship groups. We got to know everyone very well and got to build relationships with younger girls and older girls. From the day we tried Watkinsville, we haven’t tried anywhere else because I knew that’s where God had placed me.

    Left to right: Catherine Jessup, Katie Story, Grace Jenkins, Courtney Lovingood, Carly Malkiewicz  

 

Left to right: Catherine Jessup, Katie Story, Grace Jenkins, Courtney Lovingood, Carly Malkiewicz
 

MN: Have you gotten to have any gospel conversations on campus? Any cool stories you want to share?

CJ: This isn’t a gospel conversation I’ve had yet, but there’s this girl who was in my human geography class last semester and is in my same major. Every time I meet someone in my major, I get excited because I know I’m going to have more classes with them in the future. I knew she was lost, and I just wanted to be intentional, just like I was with the girls on my [softball] team, to build a relationship. We go into this semester, and I find out I have two classes with her instead of just one, and I get really excited. But then I found out she was going to drop one of them. I thought, “God, I thought I was supposed to pour into to this girl.”

Well the class she had dropped, she put in her schedule the same class I already had. So when I thought I wasn’t going to have any more classes with her this semester, she filled the class she dropped with an English class I was already in. At that moment, I knew my job wasn’t done with her. I knew I was still supposed to minster to her and pour into her. I haven’t gotten to share the gospel with her yet, but I’m praying that God will provide the right moment at the right time for me to do that.

MN: If there was something you wish kids our age would know or remember, what would it be? Anything you want to say to fellow college students? 

CJ: In high school, it was very easy to get to know people. I went to a smaller high school, so I knew everybody’s name. I could be very intentional because I was with those people for so long. But college, just going to a big university like UGA, it’s very hard to get to know someone unless you’re intentional with them. So often I know I go through my day and realize all I did was wake up, went through the motions, thought about God in the morning, and left Him in my morning. I think a big thing for us as college students is to, yes, study and going to class or whatever we have planned at night, but I think just incorporating God into every single aspect of our day. If you feel like there’s someone in class you need to share with… just make Him a part of every single part of the daily tasks you take on. Don’t just leave Him in your morning.

So often I know I go through my day and realize all I did was wake up, went through the motions, thought about God in the morning, and left Him in my morning.

MN: What is something the Lord is teaching you right now?

CJ: I think one of the things He is teaching me is that I can’t find rest or strength in coffee. Yes, coffee is going to provide me temporary strength, but the joy of the Lord is my true strength. Yes, I can find rest in Netflix or naps, but true rest is found in digging into His Word and meditating on it. What college students really struggle with, especially going through weeks after weeks where they have tests and projects and feeling like they never find a break, is just finding where your true rest and strength lie.

...but the joy of the Lord is my true strength.

If you're interested in doing or suggesting someone for a Q&A to share a testimony, a cool gospel conversation, or just want to write a blog post of your own, please feel free to email submissions to mcgeenall44@gmail.com.