Are You Watching From The Sideline?
I came to know Christ when I was 14 years old. I hadn’t really grown up in a “Christian family.” We went to church and prayed before Thanksgiving dinner but that was the extent of God in our home. Honestly, I didn’t know that there was more to Him. I knew He existed and I knew He loved me, but I didn’t know I could reach Him....I didn’t know that He was as close as a friend and that He wanted to completely unravel His heart to me. So why do I say I came to know Him at age 14? Well I’m glad you asked! Although I had always known of God’s existence, I had never once pursued a relationship with Him. I didn’t know it was possible to have a relationship with Him and I didn’t think He really heard me when I talked to Him. I mean after all, there’s billions of people on earth just like me so what are the odds that His 2 ears could hear all of our words at once? But that’s just it, more than anything else (literally ANYTHING ELSE) God wanted a relationship with me and He heard each and every prayer. Not only did He hear my prayers but the Bible tells me that He knows the number of hairs on my head, holds all of my tears in His hands, and that He knows my every thought before I even think it! How cool is that!? When I first heard this as a 14 year old girl in the 8th grade, I was immediately drawn in to hear more. When I attended a large youth conference in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the pastor shared about how often times we want to sit on the sidelines and watch what God is doing. When God does something good we are quick to praise Him and say we love Him, but when God does something we think is bad we are quick to turn from Him and lash out in anger towards Him. I realized my relationship (or lack there of) with God was much like this. The pastor then shared with us that if our relationship with God looks like that then we really don’t have a relationship with Him at all. I didn’t have faith in God, I just believed in God, and I didn’t know there was a difference until I heard what the pastor said next. “Did you know that the devil believes in God? Did you know the demons believe in God and they tremble at His name? So you believe in God but what makes you different than the devil and the demons?” That’s when it hit me...it’s not enough to just believe in God. Having a relationship with God is not only believing that He exists, but it is having faith that God is who He says He is, and that He will do what He says He will do. Having a relationship with God is having faith that He loves you and does His absolute best for you. When I understood this and when I put this faith into practice, everything changed. This day for me was December 27, 2008, and on that day, by putting my faith and trust in God the Father, His son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, I became a new creation! I no longer wanted to watch God from the sidelines. I know longer wanted to allow my feelings of God to shift depending on the good and the “bad” that would come my way. On that day in 2008, I decided that no matter the outcome of my life, my faith stands on Christ alone and because I have put my total faith and trust in Him, I know what ever happens in this life is ultimately for my good because He has His best interests in me.
Fast forward 10 years later and I find myself here at iOL, learning from and leading students who are where I once was as a 14 year old. Over the last 10 years I have developed a deep passion for teaching and befriending students and children of all ages. Middle school and high school were pivotal years for me in my walk with Christ. I went from not knowing God at all, to loving God with my entire heart, and it changed my entire educational experience. I found purpose in the pain of heartbreak. I found humility in the gift of singing. I found love in the midst of despair. None of this would have been possible without having God in my life. Being at Smyrna FUMC has reminded me of the first time I heard the faint whisper of God’s voice in my ear. This church has reminded me of why I do what I do and why it’s so important to lead by example and with grace, mercy, and love. I have enjoyed every moment spent with iOL and I will treasure the memories, the people, and the things the Lord has shown me along the way! I love you all! Thank you for allowing me to be a part of the family.
Jenna Lee Fair
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