Nearly five years ago I published my first blog post. It was short and simple, celebrating God’s faithfulness in not only affirming this desire to write for His glory, but also in giving me an avenue to write for an audience. For five years I’ve written about whatever the Lord placed on my heart being more vulnerable than I ever expected to be.
A lot of my journey over the last couple of years can be found in my other posts, but I’d like to share how Jesus and I met.
While it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where my journey with Jesus began, the closest I can manage is the summer before third grade. I had been enrolled in a new school for the fall that offered a summer program. As I attended, the gospel was presented during daily Bible lessons. I had been going to Sunday school for only a little while by that point, and I can’t say I understood everything I was taught that summer. But when my teacher gave the opportunity for us to pray, I repeated her words.
I remember at a young age wanting to be baptized when the pastor opened up the invitation to anyone in the congregation after the scheduled baptisms had been completed. My spirit urged me forward, but my little body remained planted in my seat. I expected the adults to claim I was too young to make such a decision. Later when I told my dad about the experience, he said I could have gone forward. The decision was made then to pursue baptism and not too much later, I was baptized on the same day as my mom and younger sister.
Whether before the baptism or after, I can’t remember, I was given a children’s Bible. It told all the main stories of both the Old and New Testaments, and once I sat down to read it, I was sucked in. I laughingly wondered how quickly I could read the entire thing. I finally closed the back cover after only cracking it open forty-eight hours before. Leaving the book on a shelf, I walked away exhausted from my reading, yet filled.
God’s story had wiggled its way into my heart and I would never be the same.
Once I was old enough, I got involved in youth group and had my first encounter with the voice of God. The youth group was attending a prayer event and I was trying to decide if I should go or stay home. The only fun in youth group was doing these activities with friends, and I wasn’t sure if any of my buddies were going. While I don’t remember the moment itself, I do recall telling my parents about my decision to go because God had poked at my heart and said, “If you go, go for me, not for your friends.” It was the first time I heard the Lord’s voice in such a clear, soul-stirring kind of way.
A year into youth group my family moved east to follow God’s call to attend seminary. The move was hard for my twelve-year-old self and was a huge test of faith. I was completely uprooted, taken way beyond my comfort zone, away from everything I knew, and the Lord was asking me to trust Him. I started keeping a journal and writing out all my thoughts about the move and how much I hated it. I recorded God’s faithfulness as He provided for our family year after year. I learned how to study Scripture and I took notes about a man named Abraham–a man God had also called away from his family and homeland so that God could give him something better.
Since that first encounter with Abraham, he has been my hero, a man I greatly look up to in matters of faith; someone’s story God repeatedly calls me back to when I need reminded of God’s faithfulness in keeping His promises and bringing about His good plans.
Such simple moments, yet those were the first sprouts of my faith. The seeds sown then, those steps of faith taken when I was young enough to leap without all the answers, serve as the foundation of who I am today. Those are the moments that allow me to reach out now as the Lord asks me, “Jazmin, will you trust me with this too?” Like Aladdin reaching out to Princess Jasmine asking “Do you trust me?” Jesus reaches out to me and as I grasp His hand, He hoists me onto this magic carpet journey called faith with it’s many loops and turns and unexpected beauty.
My story isn’t dramatic. Like many people who have grown up in the church, my testimony is one of little steps and changes and choices along the way. I heard it said once that some testimonies aren’t so much about salvation as sanctification–the continual journey of being made holy.
That’s my story.
It’s about the journey.
I can’t say I’m always happy with it. I’m a get-it-done kind of girl. Tell me what to do, what I need to fix and I’ll do it. But God continually has to remind me that it’s not about the end goal. It isn’t about reaching perfection or fixing myself. It’s about knowing Him in the process and embracing relationship with Him along the journey.
If I’ve learned one thing over the years it’s that stories change us. They break down our defenses and create a place of vulnerability that can usher us into the very presence of God. That’s why I write. Whether through sharing fictional stories or events from my own life, I pray that the people who read my words walk away changed and challenged, having encountered Jesus.
What about you? What’s your story? What is God doing in your life right now? What moments have served as seeds for your faith? Feel free to leave a comment below or send me a message. I’d love to hear from you!
Live in His love!
Related: A Lesson in Waiting Well