NovelSisters

watching, reading, and writing stories

My Story

My church has been encouraging our congregation to think about our story and answer three questions about our life. I thought it would help me if I wrote out my answers and since the whole point is to be able to share our stories with others and listen to theirs, I thought why not share it here? So here’s my answer to the three questions.

1. Why Do I Follow Jesus?
There’s a lot of ways I could answer this, and it might change some depending on the day or what I’ve been reading in His Word or learning at the moment. But one of the biggest overarching reasons that I follow Jesus is because He has promised never to leave me or forsake me. When I was a kid, I was terrified of being alone. I didn’t want to be forgotten or left out. I clung to my family like a lifeline and never wanted to be left somewhere. I had terrible separation anxiety. In fact many times my parents would let me go with them to the adult church services because it was just easier for all of us. But when I learned about Jesus, that He would never forget me or let me down, that I would never be alone if He was with me, it calmed a fear in my heart that nothing else ever has. Because deep down I knew that even though my parents loved me, they wouldn’t always be there for me. One time they forgot me at school, and I know one day they will leave this world and me. But Jesus promises over and over again in His Word that He will never leave us or forsake us. No matter what I’m going through, no matter how I feel, or what I’ve done, He is there. And when I remember that I can have peace.

2. How did you get started following Jesus?
Well my older brother was telling me about Jesus and how if I believed in Him I could go to heaven. And when I found out all of my family believed in Jesus and was going to heaven, well I didn’t want to be left behind. So I prayed and asked Jesus to come into my heart. Even before that moment, my parents had always taken me to church, but this first step started me on the path of following Jesus for myself. And as I got older and began to understand more of who God is and who I am and what He’s done for me, my faith grew and strengthened and matured. I learned how to trust Him, believe his promises, and obey Him.

3. What has changed since you started following Jesus?
Gosh so many things have changed. I used to be terrified of speaking up, like talking to people I didn’t know or giving a speech in front of people. It’s still my preference to listen rather than talk, but I can talk to people now, especially when I feel God prompting me to do it. And I’ve learned to trust Him in my weaknesses and learn that even though I don’t like to speak in public, He can use if for His glory. And if I rely on Him in it, it’s not as hard. I’ve also grown in not worrying as much. I can still get stressed about things, but it’s easier for me to stop and remember that He is in control and has the best plan. I don’t have to do everything perfectly or know all the variables because everything is under His control. I’ve also learned to be more patient. I always thought I was pretty patient and easy-going, but God has stretched me and grown me in it, especially when it comes to helping people with anxiety. My sister went through and continues to deal with panic attacks, severe anxiety and sometimes depression. And in the course of learning how to encourage, comfort, pray for and come alongside her, I’ve learned how to help when other people in my life also get nervous or anxious. I guess I was the anxious one when I was a kid, but as I’ve grown, God’s shown me how I can trust Him in the midst of it and also help others to trust Him. It’s been really cool to see how I’ve changed but also how He’s grown the people I’ve helped and prepared them to be used by Him as well. I love getting to be a part of God’s family. He’s shown me that not only is He always with me, but I also have a family in Christ, even in other countries. I can’t even imagine what my life would be like without Jesus. He is my everything and I couldn’t do it without Him.

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Speaking of Jesus

So on this blog I often write about movies, or the novel I wrote, and occasionally other things that are on my mind. But I also read books. Now I’m not one to recommend books very often. I’ll tell you what I like about a book, but usually just stop at that. I mean I don’t know what kind of books you like, maybe you’re not into youth fiction or historical fiction or whatever. But today, I would like to recommend a book. Because it really made me think, and got me excited and well I just want to share it!

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Image Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11333401-speaking-of-jesus

The book is Speaking of Jesus by Carl Medearis. I received it for my birthday about a month ago, and finally got it off the bookshelf a couple days ago. From the minute I started reading, I was hooked. Carl does a great job of engaging his audience with short stories from his life and giving real life examples of what he’s talking about. He’s also quite funny.

But the biggest reason I liked this book, is because what Carl talked about is something I’ve struggled with all my life. I grew up Christian, went to church, learned about God and Jesus and read my Bible. But I always felt awkward trying to share my faith, or share the gospel, or ‘evangelize.’ It wasn’t comfortable, wasn’t easy, and just never felt natural to me. I kept thinking, well God is just going to have to help me grow in this area, because it is not where I’m gifted.

But almost ironically, I loved talking about Jesus, at least with other Christians. I would get so excited that I’d start shaking when the subject came up. I love hearing stories of how Jesus is working, what He’s doing for people, how He provides, brings love and hope to dark and scary circumstances and just does what He does.

Well, in his book, Carl suggests that ‘evangelizing’ really isn’t what Jesus did, or wants us to do. We’re not supposed to go around telling people you’re wrong, I’m right. Now believe what I believe, repeat this prayer and become a ‘Christian.’ Instead Carl just talks about Jesus, tells people about what Jesus is doing, who Jesus loves, what He cares about and he avoids the word “Christian.” Instead Carl says he’s just trying to follow Jesus.

It seems so simple, yet it’s so freeing. I don’t have to explain all of the problems with Christianity, or make excuses for all the messed up people who called themselves Christians but didn’t live like Jesus at all. Instead I should just point people to Jesus and what He did and said, and try to do likewise.

Carl does a much better job of explaining it than I do, so I highly recommend reading his book, and I hope whoever reads it enjoys it as much as I did.

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