In one word, Meghan Spears’ story is surrender.

The first time I met Meghan, we sat on the rooftop of a brick building overlooking the Washington State University campus. We drank peach smoothies and talked about the friction that had started in her soul. She was becoming less and less content with living the same weekend script the world had handed her and so many girls like her at WSU. The old thrills were becoming duller, the old relationships less fulfilling. She had questions about life, about her purpose, about the bible, about Jesus.

We talked and looked out as students walked to class. They looked so tiny. The people she was exhausting herself trying to impress and fit in with suddenly looked so small. We talked for over an hour that day and then started getting together to read through the book of John. She knew that if she might want to follow Jesus, she needed to figure out exactly who he was, what he did, and why it mattered to her.

It wasn't until weeks later that I realized I had been praying for this girl before I had even met her. Her older sister, Jordan, had shared with me that her little sister was struggling and was pretty resistant to the idea of Jesus. Jordan had tried to bring her to church and constantly prayed for her, but Meghan wasn't interested. I'd been praying for Meghan, but had been introduced to her by her nickname - "Spears" - and didn't make the connection. When Jordan and I figured it out, she was elated. Years of her prayers for her sister were being answered, in God's perfect timing, because "with the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:8-9)

Jordan was patient and expectant in her prayers for Meghan and watched as God relentlessly pursued her. Slowly, Meghan's eyes were widening and her heart was softening to this Savior who loved her more than her boyfriend could, who accepted her more deeply than her sorority could, who forgave her gravest offenses and covered her weakness and sin and selfishness with his blood, declaring her beautiful and not guilty.

Meghan was quickly learning that following Jesus didn't mean just trying harder to be "good" or partying less, but that it would mean surrendering everything to Him, even when - especially when - it cost her.

The first act of surrender for Meghan was the hardest, but it made each subsequent step of obedience easier and easier. She broke up with her boyfriend and moved home for the summer to start serving in her church, leading junior high girls.

Though her heart was changing, her habits were not so easily shifted. She didn't want to do these old things anymore, but didn't know how to be free from those desires. So finally, after a night of drinking and partying, she simply asked God to take them away. She wanted something better, something more. In that moment, God transformed her heart and she felt true freedom for the first time. She surrendered her life to Jesus, the God who had saved her from her sins, from herself, and who had answered her prayers.

Since that summer, Meghan is a different person. Or maybe it's better to say that Meghan is the real Meghan now, the woman that God created her to be: a woman with a life surrendered to the will of God, who knows she is delighted in and forgiven and free, and that she was saved not only for herself but for the world around her. Meghan possesses a contagious joy, a steadfast spirit, and a desire to surrender her old life completely to Jesus.

One of Meghan’s new desires is to follow Jesus in the context of her sorority, and to share the same truth that has freed her with her sorority sisters. She has begun serving in Greek Village with other believers in other Greek houses as they pursue the lost side by side.

This commitment hasn’t been easy. The friends she used to go out with give her a hard time for "not being fun anymore" and "getting too religious," but Meghan is unshaken because she knows how her Savior suffered for her. The honor of being persecuted for his name is an honor that she's taken seriously. She is a steady source of encouragement and support for the girls in her house and is taking strides to reconcile her past. Her life is no longer her own and her joy is unparalleled.

Meghan's name means "pearl" and that truly is what she is. An oyster makes a pearl when a foreign substance gets into its shell, irritating and grating against the muscle until it is smoothed into a beautiful treasure. It's hard and uncomfortable and although the process is not for the faint of heart, the reward far outweighs the pain. Meghan has been refined and renewed by wrestling with the Lord; the old parts of her have been slowly chipped away to uncover a new heart, and now Meghan really is the most beautiful pearl.