I know some pretty amazing women. These women are driven, filled with faith, and I feel there is so much we can learn from each one and her personal journey. These church ladies break all molds and reflect God beautifully in so many different ways.
I am so happy to share with you Sarah Grace’s thoughts. She has a great sense of humor (you will glean this from her answers), a deep walk with Christ, and Anglophile dreams. On Modern Witnesses, she shares with us her passion for the Christmas season, her goals of being consistent, and why adoption and the refugee crisis are so close to her heart.
Sarah Grace B.
Biblical inspiration of the moment: Does the whole book of Acts count as an inspiring passage? It has always been my favorite book of the Bible because it’s relatable, challenging, and encouraging, all in one.
I refer to Acts 2 as a model of what the Church was intended to be, and any time I need some encouragement in my faith, I read about Peter and John boldly proclaiming the Name of Jesus without fear of imprisonment or death, keeping in mind that they were only teenagers during most of those stories.
Spiritual growth focus, at the moment: There are so many areas of my faith that I need to be focusing on right now, but the one that has been coming up time and time again, over the past few weeks, is consistency. Letting my ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and my ‘no’ be ‘no,’ when I tell someone I’ll do something; consistently praying for people; consistently handing my struggles and weaknesses over to the Lord; and consistently looking for ways I can praise and thank Him. The Lord is always true to His Word and constant in His character, so I want my life to reflect that.
“The Lord is always true to His Word and constant in His character, so I want my life to reflect that.”
Profession: I’m working at a call center in order to save up money to move to England and do church planting. I also volunteer as a small group leader for freshmen girls at my church.
One sentence bio: I’m a worship leader and writer, with a heart for the nations, who is relentlessly pursued by Jesus and recklessly loving Him.
When did you first encounter God? I grew up in a Christian home and always attended a Christian school (college included), so I can’t remember a time when God wasn’t a part of my life. I wouldn’t say that I “owned” my faith and really started growing spiritually until my junior year of college, though. I began actively surrounding myself with solid Christian friends and mentors, actually praying for people instead of just telling them I would be praying for them, studying Scripture (outside of church and my classes) and applying it to my life, and most importantly, asking Jesus every day where He was guiding me and what He wanted to teach me.
Choosing to seek His wisdom daily like that gave me an awareness of how He was working in my life and the lives of those around me, in ways I had never before experienced. I didn’t truly understand why people would tell me that life with Jesus was an adventure, until I let go of trying to control my life and handed the Holy Spirit the steering wheel, instead. No, I don’t have everything in my life figured out, and I probably never will on this side of heaven, but I can rest in knowing that I’m being held, guided, and protected by the One who does.
“…I can rest in knowing that I’m being held, guided, and protected by the One who does.”
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? A huge factor in my recent spiritual growth is my involvement in my church community. The Lord didn’t wire us to do life alone, and there’s something so beautiful and empowering about doing life with others who are running toward Jesus and working to advance His Kingdom, just like you are.
I highly recommend surrounding yourself with believers of all ages because we have so much to learn from each other at each stage of our lives. I’m currently in a Bible study with women who are my mom’s age or older, soaking up their wisdom; being mentored by some girls only a few years older than me; serving and going to church with people my age; and leading high school girls at my church– so, there’s a wide spectrum of ages and spiritual maturity being covered.
It’s important to have people in your life who are at a similar place in their faith that can grow alongside you, some that have been walking with Jesus much longer who can encourage and advise you, and those that are newer in their faith that you can pour into. My model for this is Paul– He was mentored by Ananias, did ministry alongside Silas, Barnabas, and others, and poured into younger men like Timothy.
Currently reading: I just finished reading Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber. It’s her own testimony of how she found Jesus while studying at Oxford University in England, and I figured it would be a great way to prepare for my visit to Oxford in the spring to stay with my best friend who’s going to be studying there.
Now, I’m reading Single, Dating, Engaged, Married by Ben Stuart, of Passion City Church. I’m at the point in my life where I’m ready to get married, so I’ve been trying to take in a lot of perspectives about that from different Christian sources. Ben also released videos of him speaking on the same topic that are great if you’re more of an auditory learner. He’s SUPER energetic, so you definitely won’t be bored!
Top three essentials: A cute journal with a pen that writes super smoothly (Rifle Paper Co. has my favorite journals, and I’m currently using one from their 3-pack “Tapestry” set), Spotify playlists loaded up with chill music to help me focus (Ben Rector, John Mayer, and Lewis Watson are my go-to artists), and a phone charger because my phone is ALWAYS dying.
How has God spoken to you recently? I love that the Lord meets us where we are and knows how to get through to each of us in a unique way. I connect to Him most when I’m talking about Him with other people, so He uses my friends and family to get through to me, quite a bit.
Just yesterday, I was talking to a friend of mine about a problem I was having with someone, and he lovingly but truthfully corrected some things in the way I was thinking that just weren’t looking like Jesus. That motivated me to take a step back and pray about the whole thing before charging ahead and trying to do things my own way.
It may be hard to hear in the moment, but it’s a huge blessing to have friends who love me enough to point me back to the truth of Scripture and hold me accountable.
A hobby? My hobbies include writing, singing, grabbing coffee with friends, buying way too many concert tickets, and daydreaming about going back to England.
Top three tips for staying spiritually strong:
- Don’t put pressure on yourself to say the “right thing” when you pray. Of course, we should always approach the Lord with reverence, but it can be easy to forget that prayer is a conversation with Jesus. Prayer isn’t a chore, a burden, or a religious ritual. It’s a real heart-to-heart with the One who died for you, so you could have that kind of close communication with Him.
- I grew up hearing my mom tell me, “Garbage in, garbage out.” It turns out she was right. If you listen to music, watch movies and TV shows, read books, or play video games with tons of sex, violence, vengeance, bad language, etc., it WILL affect the way you view the world and yourself, and you won’t end up looking or living much like Jesus. The Lord doesn’t tell us to set ourselves apart from the world, renew our minds, and flee from even the appearance from evil because He’s trying to be a buzz kill. He knows that the enemy will try to slip soul-damaging, God-dishonoring things into songs, movies, and other forms of entertainment that the world deems “fun”, “popular”, and “no big deal”, and He wants to protect us from less than His best for us. Does that mean that we can only listen to worship music, read things by C.S. Lewis and Steven Furtick, and watch Fireproof? Of course not, but we need to be wise with our choices. You never know who you might impact by doing your best to live and love like Jesus instead of buying into what the world tells you to do.
- Go to church. It’s as simple as that. I don’t mean that in the legalistic sense of “Never miss a Sunday or God is going to give you a huge slap on the wrist.” Like I mentioned before, serving, learning, and growing in a Christian community is SO important, and the local church is the place for that. It’s worth mentioning that no church is perfect because every church is full of imperfect people, but there’s nothing like being a part of a group of people that support each other, study the Word together, have fun together, and genuinely love each other.
“Garbage in, garbage out.”
Favorite person in scripture: Paul is easily my favorite person in Scripture. I mean, what a story… A murderous religious leader, intent on imprisoning and terrorizing Christians meets Jesus and is transformed into one of the greatest missionaries the world has ever known. His resilience, joy, and boldness in Christ never cease to challenge me and help me to grow in my own faith.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? With Jesus, everyone has a place at the table. Everyone is welcome. I want to extend Christ-like love and hospitality to anyone, regardless of race, gender, age, religious background, or any other identifiers. My hope is that everyone I meet would know that they have a place of belonging, not only with me but with Jesus.
“With Jesus, everyone has a place at the table.”
Favorite season: I love all the seasons for different reasons, so I honestly can’t narrow it down to one, but I CAN give you an exact timeframe of the year that I look forward to more than any other time: Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve, which I suppose you could just call the Christmas season.
That time holds so much joy for me, for many reasons: Carving out time to appreciate my family and share a meal together on Thanksgiving Day; Black Friday shopping with my mom (which always includes an early morning Starbucks run and raiding Forever 21 and Francesca’s for the perfect gifts for my friends); Christmas music (especially the Pentatonix Christmas albums) playing everywhere; decorating our trees at home; going to Christmas parties donned in the ugliest of Christmas sweaters (my personal favorite being my sweater with a sheep on the front that says “Fleece Navidad”); Christmas movie marathons with a big mug of homemade hot cocoa; attending Christmas Eve service with my parents; the big reveal when my friends and family open the gifts I picked out for them; celebrating my birthday the day after Christmas (and I am NOT ashamed to admit it!); reflecting on how good God has been over the past year; and looking forward to all He’ll do in the new year.
Favorite holiday: If you hadn’t guessed from my answer to the previous question, my favorite holiday is absolutely, undeniably Christmas. There’s a pervasive sense of joy and generosity that colors the whole season and make life a little lighter.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: My family has a few traditions, and most of them are related to Christmas. On Christmas Eve, we always go to a local pizza place for dinner after church, come home, change into PJs, and watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, my dad’s favorite Christmas movie. Before we head to bed, I always recite Luke 2:1-20, the Christmas story, from memory because I happen to remember it from when I learned it in 3rd grade.
“I always recite Luke 2:1-20, the Christmas story, from memory.”
Question you will ask when you get to heaven: Can I see Jesus’ life played out in front of me (like a movie), complete with commentary of what the people around Him (the disciples, His family, the Pharisees, other onlookers) were saying and thinking? I’m hoping God has everything tucked away like an old home video that He can whip out.
Thing you want to raise awareness about: I’m really passionate about the refugee crisis. People get so worked up about terrorism, race, and religious stereotypes that they forget that the refugees that are getting kicked out of their homes are REAL people with feelings, hopes, dreams and families.
It breaks my heart that so many people are being told that they don’t belong and are feared simply because of their race or religious background. My dream has always been to adopt (my dad and I are both adopted, so I’ve always wanted to carry on that legacy), and over the past few years, that dream has become more specific: I’d like to adopt a baby that’s been orphaned by the refugee crisis in order to give them a place of belonging that they might have otherwise been denied.
“I’d like to adopt a baby that’s been orphaned by the refugee crisis…”
What do you usually do before 9 a.m. (Mon- Fri)? I use the Bible app every day and have it set to send me the verse of the day at 8 a.m., so, the first thing I do every morning is meditate on that. Next, I read Christine Caine‘s “First Things First” devotional that gets emailed to me, every morning. After that, I turn on a quiet playlist to wake myself up, and before I head out the door, I watch the latest episode of Good Mythical Morning from Rhett & Link, on YouTube, to get a good laugh.
On your nightstand? I keep a lamp, my study Bible, and my phone charger on my nightstand.
For more Sarah Grace B.:
Facebook: Sarah Grace Bloyd
Until next time, keep witnessing!