rebelling against low expectations

The Girl Who Started A Love Riot for Jesus


My friendship with Sara Barratt is 100% virtual. We’ve never talked over coffee or met up at a conference or worshiped together in church.

I met Sara in the Young Writer’s Workshop—a place where everyone shares a thrill for stories, words, articles, novels, and poems.

Together, we write them.

But as time unfolded and the YDubs community grew, I found more in Sara than a teenager who doodles words. I found a young woman with wisdom beyond her years and a heart exploding with love for Jesus and a God-given talent for writing.

I was inspired, even at the distance of the Internet.

One day last summer, I emailed Sara. It was different than our usual correspondence, which had looked something like:

“Hi Sara, would your team be interested in this article for the Reb?”

No, this email was personal and a little desperate. I was a teen launching myself into the world of serious writing, but I couldn’t find the diving board.

Here’s what I wrote:

I’ll be graduating in spring, and my dream (goal?) is to begin the process of writing a book after graduation. But I’m not sure what I should be doing right now. I had the idea to build a website honing my niche. But I don’t want to jump into anything. 

What are your thoughts on writing and platforming? Should I just keep writing and honing my skills? Should I try launching a website and getting more articles published?

I was wandering in a barren place. Sara’s response soared above and beyond what I needed. She addressed my questions and infused her answers with encouragement like this:

You’ve honed your writing, learned a lot, and cultivated consistency. Now, you can start reaching out and building upwards. I think you’re ready.

She handed me a compass and some tools and sent me on my way. I felt equipped and uplifted.

My purpose isn’t to brag on Sara (or myself). I’m sharing about my friendship with this sweet, smiley Michiganite because teens like her are rare.

Teens who take their calling (like writing) seriously.

Teens who use their skills to serve others.

Teens who genuinely care about their family and friends and even Internet acquaintances.

Teens who don’t just say, “I follow Jesus,” but who live like Jesus has called them from their nets and made them fishers of men (Matt. 4:19).

Before she wrote a book, before she launched a love riot, Sara Barratt impacted me. Her love moved me, and her passion ignited me.

Love Riot is a fruit of that contagious love and very real passion.

I sliced into the package and slid out the book I’d been waiting months to read. I turned Love Riot over in my hands to see a familiar face.

Sara Barratt had written a book. Sara Barratt was a published author.

Here was someone I knew, smiling on the back cover of a book I knew was going to change lives. I felt a stab of thrill.

Love Riot is already challenging me in fierce ways. God is using the words he’s given Sara to stir embers in my heart. In the words of her role model, Jim Elliot, God is lighting “the idle sticks of my life that I may burn for [him].”

Sara Barratt’s book is kindling me, because with her words, her actions, her example, and her life, Sara Barratt has kindled me.

She’s accomplished a hard thing, yes, but it’s just one among many. Published author or not, Sara has lived in a way that rises above culture’s expectations and shouts from the mountaintops the name of her Savior.

That’s what a Rebelutionary looks like. That’s what a “rioter” for Jesus acts like.

Sara won’t hesitate to tell you she’s sinful. But I’m here to tell you she’s worth imitating, because her love for Jesus started a revival long before her book did.

It’s my dream to meet this fiery girl. To share coffee or hook up at an event or worship side-by-side.

But if that isn’t God’s will, I know Sara and I and every Rebelutionary saved by Jesus will meet soon.

We’ll worship together in intense and unending love for Jesus because we lived loving him.

Until then, Sara says it best:

“We have our sights set on the goal, and we’re running the race with our eyes fixed on Jesus. We won’t give up. We won’t turn back. We devoted, wholly committed, and in love with the Savior of our souls.”

Editor’s Note: To get to know Sara and read Love Riot, we’d love if you’d participate in our first summer book study of Love Riot. Click here for more info on joining the study.

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About the author

Bethany J. Melton

writes from her brick home on Edgewood Road, where she reads books and takes walks and plants things that sometimes sprout. You can find her words about Truth, Hope, and Home in a pocket of the Internet called Bethany J's Journal.

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rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →