I am so excited to introduce you to Briana. She shared with us thoughts on God blessing our hunger for Him, trusting God for our own story, why being vocal with God is so important and how God used her stutter to empower her and make her a worship leader.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: I think I’m definitely learning to rest in Christ and trust fully in His promises. I’m always worried about making the wrong decisions, and I think it’s taken me too long to discover that I’m not powerful enough to shake God’s plan for me. He will bring to pass what He intends, and that’s that. I think it can be too easy for me to read stories about great men and women of faith and the amazing miracles God worked in their lives and somehow think that I’m the exception to the rule – that God wouldn’t come through like that for me. But if God has orchestrated every detail of my past to bring me to where I now am, I can place my future in His faithful, scarred hands with the utmost confidence. As I release my own dreams and plans for His, He gives me the desires of my heart. It amazes me.
“I’m not powerful enough to shake God’s plan for me.”
Profession: I’m a student currently, but I work seasonally as a sales associate at a ski shop and year-round as a transcript proofreader for my super cool stenographer cousin. I keep a blog and write on the side for fun, and I enjoy it very much.
A one sentence bio of yourself: I’m an old soul living in the constant sunshine and awe of Christ’s love for me (and trying to spread that sunshine in every dark corner that I can).
When did you first encounter God? I prayed the sinner’s prayer at seven years old, but as a pastor’s daughter raised in a Christian home, I didn’t realize the importance of making my faith personal and intimate until I was about fourteen. I was at a youth conference and realized that there was so much more to Jesus than I was taking advantage of. The teenagers I saw had a fire for Jesus in their hearts and souls that was just contagious and it was something that I so wanted. There is nothing like the closeness of constant two-way communication with Christ. I’ve had my ups and downs since then, but God has been my constant Rock and has been so faithful to teach and grow me.
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Definitely the in-depth study of God’s word. I’ve been taking the Bible, book-by-book, and pulling commentaries from my dad’s bookshelves and really studying them, and I think God blesses that kind of hunger and desire for Him. Jesus has also grown me immensely through trials and uncertainty and tests of faith, but He always grants me the grace to deal with them. He never tests us beyond what we are able, and He has given me so many wonderful godly people (of all ages and backgrounds) to speak truth into my life, when I need it.
“I think God blesses that kind of hunger and desire for Him.”
Just read/currently reading: I recently finished Just As I Am, Billy Graham’s autobiography. It was such a wonderful reminder that God can use anyone– even if they’re young, even if they’re unsure– if they’re humble enough to offer themselves up for His use. I’m always reading a Bible commentary as part of my personal Bible study (right now it’s H.A. Ironside’s Hebrews and Titus), and I’m reading The Great Gatsby for book club.
Top three essentials: Definitely a Bible, a camera and a guitar. And maybe a little Field Notes notebook? I like to jot down interesting words or musings or things people say to use in my writing. I know that’s more than three.
How did God speak to you recently? Recently, God has been so faithful to speak truth into my life through godly people. I have recently struggled in choosing a career path and have prayed and yearned for a sure answer; I’ve always liked knowing exactly what my plan was and all the necessary steps to get there. A dear friend of mine told me that sometimes, Christ doesn’t light the whole path– just the step in front of me. Peter had to step out onto the stormy water in faith. Noah had to nail the first board of the ark in faith. Abraham had to tie his beloved son to an altar in absolute, incredible faith. And whenever I’m in some kind of struggle or bind, Christ comforts me through bringing familiar Scripture passages to mind, or through my morning devotions, or through a friend, or sometimes through just an unexplainable peace about my situation. He is so faithful.
“[S]ometimes, Christ doesn’t light the whole path– just the step in front of me.”
Hobby: I adore writing, so I often blog and write poetry. I also dabble in photography, and I like to scrapbook and journal with my writings and photos. I also love to read, bake, and spend time outside when it’s warm.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong:
- Praying without ceasing is so important. Exchange whispers with God before you exchange words with anyone else. Vent to Him. Tell Him about your life. Be honest and open. When you read the Psalms, David voiced everything: his pain, anger, anguish, praise, adoration. Give it all to Him. It becomes a habit, and such a vital one.
- Carving a time out of the day dedicated to Bible study is the best thing I ever did. The answer to every problem we face lies within the pages of the Bible. Pick a Bible book and study it daily; Christ speaks.
- Surround yourself with people who also desire to be spiritually strong. Cut out any lies and darkness and then turn your face always towards the Source of all light. Read Christian books, follow Christian blogs. Surround yourself with Christ, and He will surround you.
“Cut out any lies and darkness and then turn your face always towards the Source of all light.”
Favorite person in scripture? I so admire Joseph. He is the ultimate example of faith in God in any circumstance. He trusted in God’s promises, even when he didn’t understand– even when anyone else would feel totally forgotten and abandoned by God. And in poverty and prosperity, in a jail cell or as Pharaoh’s right-hand-man, he knew and had tremendous faith in Whom he believed.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? I hope that people can see how God can truly use anyone, no matter where you are, no matter what your talents, no matter what you think is holding you back. If God can take a stuttering gal like me and make her into a worship leader, believe me, He can use you for His glory as long as you’re willing. Having a stutter helped me to develop my writing and music skills, and I definitely wouldn’t be doing this interview if it wasn’t for that.
“If God can take a stuttering gal like me and make her into a worship leader, believe me, He can use you for His glory as long as you’re willing.”
Favorite season? I’ve grown to love the summertime, when everything is at the height of its growth. I love the sunshine and the flowers and the fruits in bloom; I feel like it’s such a joyous season.
Favorite holiday? I love Christmas! There’s something so familiar about the season that makes an old soul like mine feel at home. It’s such a wonderful time of tradition and kindness and giving as we celebrate the miracle of Christ’s birth.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: Well, on the subject of Christmas, my dad has always read the Christmas story from the Bible before we opened any gifts. It always kept our minds (especially our excited, child minds) on the true meaning of the holiday and the presents under the tree. Another tradition that I suppose I started, around 2015, was taking a trip to North Carolina every summer; we have extended family there, and I absolutely adore them and the community of people and the slow pace of life that I believe in so much.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? I would love to ask the disciples about Jesus as a human. What did He talk to them about late at night when they couldn’t sleep? Did He have inside jokes with them? Did He snore when He slept? I think I could spend a huge chunk of eternity listening to all the stories and the miracles during Christ’s time on earth that the world couldn’t contain. I don’t know if I’d have any questions for Jesus, though. I think I’ll be so in love and in awe of His beauty and sacrifice and majesty and I’ll understand Him so much better than I do now. I can’t wait to hug Him and hear His voice.
Thing you want to raise awareness about: I’d love for Christians to fully realize their identity in Christ. It breaks my heart to see so many people, especially young people, battling depression or anxiety or self-image issues when they are loved with an everlasting, supernatural, adoring love.
I’ve always held Ecclesiastes 11:9-10 close to my heart: Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; Walk in the ways of your heart, And in the sight of your eyes; But know that for all these God will bring you into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, And put away evil from your flesh, For childhood and youth are vanity. Youth is such a gift, and I wish every young person would realize how loved and valued they are so they can use their youth to spread the good news of Christ. Passionate and steadfast young people have so much power when they’re not tied down — people listen to us. We have a platform and a voice. God can use anyone, and he can use one person who is sold-out for Him to bring about His plan. There is no greater purpose than His.
What do you usually do before 9 a.m.? I usually wake at 7:30, so I make my bed and stretch and ready myself for the day until eight, and I spend the hour of eight to nine with Jesus– prayer, Bible study and note-taking.
Define Christianity in a sentence: Christianity, I think, is simply loving Christ because He first loved us.
For more Briana:
Her blog: thypresencemylight.wordpress.com
Until next time, keep witnessing!