Today, Elisha speaks to us about trust, clean water, and some books to add to your list!
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I had a wonderful childhood thanks to my amazing parents. My siblings and I were really close in age, so they made great friends (when we weren’t pestering each other lol). We also spent a ton of time with our cousins who would join us when we would stay at our grandparents’ house in the summer or go on family trips to the beach every year. Our parents really made sure to raise us in a loving, Christ-centered home, that was also focused on excelling educationally. They gave us a ton of different travels and experiences, which have definitely helped shape who I am today. My childhood was filled with nothing but laughter and joy and I am ever thankful!
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: Proverbs 3:5 is the verse that God continues to encourage me with at the moment. God continues to remind me to trust in Him with all of my heart and to not lean on my own understanding. It is so easy for me to get discouraged or disheartened from the way that things currently look, but God keeps reminding me to look to Him, not my situation. He reminds me that all I have to do is trust Him, and know that He is working in ways that I cannot see right now, but one day I will. So for me right now, I’m just walking step by step with my eyes on the Lord, trusting Him for what I do not see.
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: Currently, I am at a place where I have no choice but to trust God. As I mentioned, things do not look how I expected them to look at this time in my life, but God is using that as a way to get me to look up to Him and see that He is still working even when I don’t see it yet in the natural. He is teaching me that a part of trusting Him is to obey. So when He speaks something to me, and I don’t understand the purpose of it, I am learning how to just go ahead and do what it is that He instructed me to do. I am often surprised at the result, but God knew all along. It is how He continues to let me know that He is able to be trusted.
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? This is a great question. Probably Marked by Grace, as it is the grace of God that captures me again and again and again. It has truly marked my life and one day I will write the story of how I have seen God’s grace at work in my life over and over again, from the smallest to the largest things.
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? I honestly can’t remember the first time I encountered God. I grew up in the church, so I can remember from a young age the pounding in my chest I would experience during altar calls, which I later learned was the Holy Spirit. However, at the time, I didn’t know what it meant so I never responded.
Other than that, I do remember the first time I encountered God in a personal way and actually responded to His pursuit of me. When I was in high school, I was in my bedroom reading my Bible when Psalm 116:7 caught my attention. “Be at peace again, my soul, because the Lord has been good to you.” Reading this verse really hit me because I was really devastated at that time and in that moment I broke down and cried, knowing that God really loved me and that He would bring me once again to a place where my heart could be at peace.
How has your relationship with Him changed you? Gosh, literally so many ways. One of the biggest has been that I have began to love in ways I previously did not. He has completely shifted my heart to finding joy in leaving everything behind to love His people. Regardless if it means taking me out of my comfort zone here at home, or traveling to different parts of the world to share the love of Christ, He has truly given me the desire to want to do that. He has shown me how much He loves those the world views as unimportant, so it has become my greatest desire to go to them and help them to experience His love in the same way that I have.
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? In this season, I definitely think reading the Word has helped me grow spiritually. And not just reading it, but really taking it in and hearing His voice and listening to what He has to say through His Word. Along with that, constantly playing worship music or repeating phrases of worship, and having a good Christian community that constantly remind me of God’s Truth and goodness.
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): I was reading in Galatians 5 the other day, about the differences between walking by the flesh and walking by the Spirit. What occurred to me was that often times, following Jesus has the appearance that it is hindering you from being able to live your life however you want to live, so to our flesh it appears as bondage. On the other hand, living by the flesh has the appearance of freedom because then we don’t have to follow the commands of Jesus and can live our lives how we desire. However, when you look at the fruit that the two produce, you see that in reality it’s the opposite. So, though following Jesus appears to be bondage, that is truly where we find freedom. And even though living by the flesh appears to be the way to freedom, that is what keeps us in bondage. I am thankful for Jesus and the Spirit in us that leads us to freedom!
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)
“So, though following Jesus appears to be bondage, that is truly where we find freedom.”
Top three essentials: So hard, haha! I will have to go with my Bible, phone, and a warm blanket.
How did God speak to you recently? In this current season of my life, God continues to challenge me to lay down my understanding of things and my expectation of how things will work out, and He tells me to just trust Him with everything I have. As mentioned earlier, Proverbs 3:5 has been a big scripture for me lately. He continues to tell me to worship while I wait and to leave no room for doubt.
“He continues to tell me to worship while I wait and to leave no room for doubt.”
Hobby: I really enjoy writing/blogging, painting, bullet journaling, and reading. All of these are huge stress relievers for me!
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong:
1) I cannot stress this enough: Get in the Word. That’s probably the most important thing. And it’s not enough to just know the Bible, but to really know God through the Bible. That is how He makes Himself known to us. Get in the Word.
2) Prayer/Worship: Often times, I don’t have the words to pray, so I’ll turn on worship music, and they’ll sing exactly the prayer that is written on my heart. And from there I can find the words that I am looking for. But it’s not just about us saying the words, but really using prayer and worship as a way to know the Father’s heart. He is so kind to make Himself known to us, and when we take the time to get in His presence and listen, we can know His heart through prayer and worship.
3) Community: I didn’t realize how important community was until my friends and I all went separate ways after college. I knew I would miss them, but I didn’t know how big of a toll it would have on me spiritually. Without community, it is so much easier to lose sight of who God is in the midst of your circumstances. It is easy to slack on Bible reading and prayer when you don’t have people doing it alongside you. And it is so easy to fall into the trap of sin because you aren’t surrounded with like-minded individuals. Sometimes we don’t have like-minded individuals near us which can be extremely difficult in trying to live for the Lord, so finding an online Christian community in those instances can be necessary and a life-changer.
“Often times, I don’t have the words to pray, so I’ll turn on worship music, and they’ll sing exactly the prayer that is written on my heart.”
Favorite person in scripture? Definitely the woman at the well in John chapter 4. She was trying to hide all of her brokenness from Jesus, yet He saw right through it and loved her anyway. In a response to this great love, she went back to the very people that looked down upon her and became a witness of Christ to them. Jesus changed her life that day, and I cannot wait to have a conversation with her when I get to Heaven!
“She was trying to hide all of her brokenness from Jesus, yet He saw right through it and loved her anyway.”
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? I want people to know that God truly delights in us. I want them to know that it is not a burden for Him to be with us, but He truly cherishes each one of us individually. He delights in the time that we spend with Him, and He loves speaking to us and making Himself known to us. He is not burdened by us, nor is He rushing off to go do something more important (like we tend to do with Him). He loves us and invites us all to be His children, abide with Him, and behold His beauty.
How do you engage with your community? I love volunteering with kids! Currently, I volunteer at my church with our youth group every week, and I also volunteer with kids in different areas whenever an opportunity arises to do so.
Favorite holiday? Probably Thanksgiving! Such. Good. Food. (And an amazing family to share it with!)
A goal you have? My main goal is to live the life that God has created me to live. That I would get to a place where I stop allowing fear to hold me back and go full force into all that He has for me, and that I would see lives changed and people saved as a result!
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: Ever since I was a child, we would take family vacations to the beach at least once a year and stay for about a week. This was always the highlight of my spring break/summer vacation.
Also, every Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve we gather with our entire family (immediate family, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends), eat good food, and have lots of laughs! On Christmas Day, we spend the day playing board games and watching movies. We also spend every New Years Eve in church and bring in the new year in prayer.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven?
To Jesus: How/why do you have such great love for us?
To Moses: What went through your mind when you finally saw the Promised Land? How did it feel knowing you couldn’t enter?
To the Persecuted Church: How did you remain faithful to Jesus through the unimaginable?
Thing you want to raise awareness about:
So I have two.
The first is the number of children who die every day simply because they do not have access to clean water. Clean water is something that I for sure take for granted every day, and I know many others do as well. But not having clean water is a direct cause of diarrhea, which is the second leading cause of death among children under 5 in the world. Organizations like Charity: Water are working hard to change this!
The second is the number of people around the world who have no access to the Gospel and/or do not have a Bible in a language they can understand. I personally do not know what my life would be like if I didn’t know Jesus or have a Bible, so it really burdens my heart to know this is the reality of so many. So many organizations are working to change this, bringing the love and hope of Jesus Christ to unreached people! Some of these organizations are: IMB, Wycliffe, and Joshua Project.
What does your morning routine consist of? When I wake up, I typically pray, check my phone, lay in bed a while longer, eventually get up and turn on worship music while I get ready, sit on the floor and read the Word and journal, get up to drink a glass of water, eat breakfast, and then go about my day.
Define Christianity in a sentence: Living a life in response to the incomprehensible love of God.
For more Elisha:
Until next time, keep witnessing!