Today, Stephanie talks to us about how her commute time is time with God, her journey in decision making, and how important it is to know who God really is, forgetting how we defined Him in the past.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: “I have told you these things so that in me, you may know peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
This verse means so much to me that I had it tattooed on my shoulder. Before I had God, I let the troubles and evils of the world defeat me. Now that I have God, I have peace in Him because I know that this is all temporary and there’s so much more waiting for us on the other side.
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: I’m focusing mostly on joy. I’ve always been a pretty emotionally reactive person, so I’m working on consistent joy that comes from knowing and following Christ.
Profession: I’m an assistant at an investment banking firm in downtown Chicago.
A one sentence bio of yourself: I am a flawed, awkward and forgiven child of God, making my mission on earth to spread the overwhelming joy that I found through Him by living out my faith and loving everyone I meet.
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? I encountered God as a young child. My mom was always encouraging my brother and me to seek God in everything and that’s easier to do when you’re a child. I don’t think I ever stopped believing, but when my teenage years arrived, I decided to go a different route. From those teenage years well into my 20s, I made a lot of poor choices. I tried fitting into lifestyles I could never fit into. I made a lot of mistakes and had a lot of bad experiences as consequence to the surroundings I was choosing. I was really lost. It was during a really tough time that I decided I wanted to figure out for myself if God was actually real and if He could love someone like me. So, I started attending a Christian church to find my answers.
Turns out, I had the wrong idea of who God was. I guess to me, Christians were the perfect people who didn’t ever make mistakes and just judged anyone who did. That’s the lie that Satan convinced me of when I started down my path of mistakes. After going back to church and joining a women’s study group, I was able to discover who God really is. A God who created the universe, who has limitless love, patience and grace – a God who loved me at my darkest and never stopped loving me, even when I was the least lovable a person could be.
“Turns out, I had the wrong idea of who God was.”
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? There are a few things that have really helped me grow spiritually in this season:
The first is a group of amazing women who love Jesus and love me. They encourage me and challenge me to continue to grow my faith, and I’m so thankful to be doing life with them. Proverbs 27:17!
The second has been the challenge of leadership. I was recently asked if I’d be interested in leading a women’s study. I am nowhere near qualified and put a lot of hesitation in my “yes,” but it has taken my studying to a whole new level. I can’t fully say if I’m confident in my leadership abilities, but there is undeniable growth in me personally. I can no longer leave questions blank in hopes that someone else can explain it to me. I have to really dig deep, study hard, and pray for guidance along the way. My relationship with God has skyrocketed since this started.
The third thing that has really helped me grow spiritually is writing. It has always been a challenge for me to get my point across in conversations verbally because my mind races about 1000 words a second. Writing forces me to fight through my brain to focus on what I want to say. Through that, I’m able to discover things about myself and about God that I never imagined possible. I used to go to Pinterest and Google to find quotes or inspirational articles to help me through tough times. While I might have found one or two things that had resonated temporarily, I essentially hadn’t been able to get what I needed out of any of them. Now, I’m looking to God’s Word for help and guidance, and the “aha” moments and epiphanies are flowing like crazy.
Finally and probably most importantly, my struggles have helped me grow spiritually in this season. I used to allow my struggles to defeat me and now, with God, my struggles have purpose. Instead of drowning myself in my vices, I’m looking to God for answers, help, and guidance. Instead of allowing myself to go to my unhealthy distractions, I’m facing my problems head on with God, and it’s been life-changing. Don’t get me wrong, I can still allow my struggles to knock me down from time to time, but God ALWAYS picks me right back up.
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): I just finished reading Everybody Always by Bob Goff. It is an amazing read, and I highly recommend it. As a recovering people-pleaser, I was a little hesitant with reading it because I wasn’t sure if it would enable some of those negative behaviors, but that wasn’t a case at all. It’s an amazing reminder of how we are called to love everyone, especially the ones who are the most difficult to love. What’s the point of loving people who are easy to love? (Luke 6:32-36). If we want to make a real impact and show people who Christ really is, we can do that by becoming love in all situations.
I’m currently reading the “Proven” study by Jennie Allen, which studies the gospel of John. So far it’s been really powerful stuff! I’m excited to see how God will move through these next few weeks with it!
“What’s the point of loving people who are easy to love? If we want to make a real impact and show people who Christ really is, we can do that by becoming love in all situations.”
Top three essentials: My Bible, coffee and Chipotle!
How did God speak to you recently? I’ve currently been struggling and going back and forth on a big decision in my life. Unfortunately, it isn’t a clear, black and white decision. I am extremely indecisive and the stress of this has even started to cause physical health issues. I think throughout all of this God is showing me how to be comfortable with the unknown. He’s reminding me that He will use me regardless of where I’m located or what I’m doing, as long as it falls within in His will. He’s showing me how to trust Him, even when I don’t know what my life will look like in the future.
Hobby: In my free time, I like to kayak, transport rescue animals, play piano and write.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong:
- Never lose your eagerness to learn more. Keep studying and growing, especially when it seems hard to do. That’s when you’ll grow the most.
- Never stop praying. Don’t talk to God just once a day – make it a habit to talk to Him throughout all parts of your day.
- Find your “people.” Find at least one person who you can be completely honest with and who will hold you accountable when you slip up. We’re not meant to do this alone. That’s something I’ve had a hard time learning over the past year.
“Never lose your eagerness to learn more.”
Favorite person in scripture? Other than Jesus, I’d say my favorite person in scripture is the apostle Paul. His story truly shows the grace of God and how God can use us regardless of what past we might have had.
1 Corinthians 15:9-10: “For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.”
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? When people look at me, I want them to see God’s love and grace.
Favorite season? Call me “basic,” but fall will always be my favorite season. I love the beauty of all the different colors, the weather, the fashion, and all the fun fall activities. There’s only one thing I don’t like about fall – pumpkin spice. Yuck!
Favorite holiday? Christmas!!!
A dream you have? My dream is to eventually write a book, sharing the struggles I’ve faced and the journey I’m on in hopes that at it can provide encouragement for at least one other person.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: Every Christmas Eve, I spend the night at my brother and sister-in-law’s house. We all wear our jammies, bake Christmas cookies, and get my nephews completely amped up about Santa. When the kids go to bed, we decorate the house as if all of Santa’s elves came by to wreak havoc. My parents did the same for us when we were kids, so we like to keep this tradition alive. We take Christmas pretty seriously in my family!
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? Why did spiders have to exist?!
Thing you want to raise awareness about: I want more adults to embrace their singleness rather than view it as a “holding period.” There’s so much God has done and is still doing in my life that wouldn’t be possible if I wasn’t single. No one is ever going to “complete” you. Only God can, and when we continue to put that hope in other people, we will have failed relationships over and over again. The only way you’ll ever fill that void is through God, and when we can stop putting that expectation on other people, our entire lives can shift from feeling empty to feeling purposeful.
I’d also like to raise awareness for those suffering with anxiety, like myself. I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) several years ago, and anxiety is one of the many un-pleasantries associated with this disorder. I want people with anxiety to know they are not alone, and I want to continue studying scripture and praying to find ways to help myself and others fight against the lies we hear internally and cling to what God says instead.
“No one is ever going to ‘complete’ you. Only God can, and when we continue to put that hope in other people, we will have failed relationships over and over again.”
What do you usually do before 9 a.m.? Before 9 am, you’ll find me attempting to come to life through coffee and Jesus. I commute via train to my job every day, so that allows me to have an hour of “quiet time” with God, and coffee is typically included in that. While you might find that I can complain about my commute, that hour is really impactful on how my days go!
“I commute via train to my job every day, so that allows me to have an hour of ‘quiet time’ with God, and coffee is typically included in that.”
What is on your nightstand? Just my reading lamp. I have two cats (named Bruce and Alfred). For those of you who have cats, you know that there are few things those little monsters won’t knock over. So, I’m forced into living a clutter-free, minimalist life when it comes dressers, nightstands, and counter tops!
Define Christianity in a sentence: Christianity is living a life following Christ and loving everyone, even when it goes against all of our social “norms.”
For more Stephanie:
Facebook: Stephanie Coverick
Until next time, keep witnessing!