I cannot tell you how much fun it was to surprise these girlies with a special appearance by Miss Mississippi's Outstanding Teen, Tori Johnston. When I was asked if Tori could come to "Girls' Day at the Capitol" and interview me about the role of being a Representative, I immediately starting giggling thinking of how much fun we were going to have making these young ladies feel special.
Tori has always been focused on her dreams and has done her very best to make wise decisions throughout her life. From being very diligent in her studies and graduating Magna Cum Laude to holding the position of Senior Class President, Tori is an amazing young lady. She encouraged these young ladies to never allow failure to keep them from "try, try, trying again".
During our interview, I was reminded of how much I love Mississippi. I love the people and places of Mississippi. And this job is a great way for me to give back to her. I often remind myself that “this job is not who I am, it is what I do” and I try and never allow the title of Representative Jill Ford to become my identity. I am a daughter of the King.
And you can just call me Jill.
When Tori asked me to explain my job, I explained to her that I use my fingers as a way to help make it easy to remember. Plus, I talk with my hands so why not incorporate them into the conversation. I explained to Tori, my thumb represents the time that I serve during session at the Capitol during the months of January – March where I author and present legislation, attend committee meetings, and lobby for Madison County to receive as much money as possible.
My pointer finger is the finger that I use to visualize me telling you to "come here" or should I say "please come here" to my constituents as I invite them to the Capitol to see me. For instance, today would have been a pointer finger day. When I invite Tori back in January to pray over the House when we begin session, or when I invite a school to come receive a special award, those are both examples of me using my pointer finger to describe part of my job.
My middle finger, or longest finger, represents the time I spend during the "off months" of April through December. This is the longest period of time when I am able to be out in my district, connecting with my constituents. Examples are speaking at events, attending weddings, funerals, graduations, gathering facts for legislation that I want to present when session starts, and attending "out of session" committee meetings. This is definitely my most favorite part of this job - visiting with my people.
My ring finger represents the commitment that I made with the Lord when I felt Him calling me to this position. I will always make decisions with His kingdom purposes in mind. Always.
My pinky finger is the visual of connecting my constituents with those people who can help solve their problems. For instance, just yesterday I was able to help someone in the hospital get the help they need from Medicaid. And just recently, another constituent needed help getting their passport back quickly. Helping people is truly an honor. Thank you Madison County for allowing me to serve you.
I often times have to use my fist as the last visual because I find myself wanting to punch someone in the nose when they are being ugly to me. This job is actually harder than it appears. Good thing I have thick skin. And good thing I am constantly reminding myself that I have a lot of little girls looking up to me so I should always do my best to show kindness and exhibit self-control. To those of you who I have done just the opposite, please forgive me.
"Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows." - Helen Keller
My path to this job consisted of being a wife, mother, Realtor, Sunday School teacher, and now a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives. I reminded these young ladies that we need to be “change-makers”, not “complainers", and “winners”, not “whiners” because little girls with dreams become women with vision. We need to always do our best to present ourselves as the Bride of Christ to the world. In Revelation 19:16, the Bible tells us that God is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and when we are made new in Christ, we are adopted by the King. That gives us a title/rank as a daughter of the King. Or what I like to call: A Princess.
And we had a house full of Princesses, today!
Happy 7th Birthday to this precious Little Princess.
I love that she wanted to sit in my seat for a picture.
Until Girls' Day 2022, I pray every little girl dreams big.
Much love, Jill