Sunshine Blogger Award (thank you!)
I am pleased to say I have the honor of being nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award, a peer-recognition award. What an honor, as well as a great opportunity to share a bit more of my faith testimony (see below)!
I love being a part of a community of faith-filled Christian authors, bloggers and all-around Good News-sharers whose verses, reflections, and other writings fill my cup each week as I grow in my own walk as a follower of Christ. It’s a true blessing, and I’m excited through the Sunshine Blogger Award to in return get the opportunity to get to nominate other writers and bloggers who encourage and challenge me.
First, my thanks go to the blogger who nominated me: Melinda V. Inman, who is a novelist, blogger, writer, Bible study author, ministry leader, teacher and inspirational speaker. Her blogs about God’s love for wounded and broken people are constantly inspiring me, and I’m very happy to learn she also has three intriguing novels I’ll soon be purchasing and reading (yay!): Fallen, Refuge and No Longer Alone.
First, here are the rules:
Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog. (Thank you again, Melinda!)
Answer the 11 questions that were presented to you by your nominator.
Nominate 11 bloggers.
Ask 11 questions. (These must be different from the ones you answered.)
List the rules.
Display the Sunshine Blogger logo in your post or blog site.
Next, here are my answers to Melinda’s questions for me:
1. How did Jesus first cause you to fall in love with him?
I remember that I used to catch glimpses of Jesus here and there—in smiles, in rays of sunlight, in sweet moments of joy. But I was always too busy to bask in His love, always rushing on to the next task or diversion. One day, I was alone in my car, and I remember having no place to be and nowhere to go… only this time, instead of scurrying to fill my time with something else, I felt a hand on my soul. Wait. Shhhh. And then it happened. I looked to the sky and saw the most beautiful, pure, holy light of heaven bursting forth in the afternoon sunlight! It was so simple, so glorious, and so magical all at once. I realized that Light that always danced with me, that warmth I felt in my heart during prayer and in church, that feeling of being safe, secure, and completely loved to my core…. that and this magnificent slice of heaven before my eyes in the afternoon sun were one and the same. I knew then that Jesus and all the good of the world were one in God the Father and the Holy Spirit. It was the most amazing feeling in the world to have my heart, my head, and my soul align with this intimate and wonderful knowledge. Boom: I fell in love.
2. How did you come to the point of committing your life to Jesus and entrusting him for your salvation?
I always believed in Jesus, but believing and following are (to me) two different things. I was raised in a Christian home, so I knew Jesus and was a believer since I was a small child. However, after I became an adult, I stopped going to church for awhile until I realized there was a (God-sized) hole in my life, so I began attending church again. But in my late 20s, I had a struggle with infertility, and that was a turning point. My experience took me from being a "Jesus-believer" and "church attender" to a woman who wanted to truly follow Christ and do the Lord's will. I came to understand all I had and all I desired were because of God’s grace, not because of anything I did. There was nothing I could do when it came to infertility or anything else I desired. It was all up to God, and if I was going to follow Him, then I needed to surrender my life to Him. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I knew: God was in control, not me. From then on, I made a choice to trust Jesus for my salvation. His will is paramount. All I need to do is follow Him.
3. How has he gifted you to serve him in this world?
I love shining the light of Christ in any way I can, and for me, that typically means encouraging. I love storytelling, teaching, and otherwise communicating God’s wonderful message of all-encompassing love through encouraging words. When I don’t have the words, I try my best to smile, or let that light shine through my eyes. (In fact, I titled my blog “Shining the Light” in honor of that call.)
4. How did you discover your gifting?
I’m naturally very shy and sensitive, and I moved around a lot during my childhood. Books were my best friends for a long time, and I found encouragement, solace and comfort (as well as adventure and excitement!) in words. I wanted to do the same for others. With that in mind, I began to write as a means of encouraging, whether that was letters to the friends I eventually made, poetry to people I loved, short stories for my kid sister, you name it. People always told me my words helped in some way, whether by cheering them up or touching their heart or allowing them to view the world in a different, more positive light. Their feedback, in turn, encouraged me.
5. What’s the most difficult trial the Lord has brought you through or is currently bringing you through?
My struggle with infertility was tough, and later I spent a few years as a single mother, which was incredibly hard and painful. But honestly, every major trial I’ve ever been through all ties into a pride struggle—me feeling that “I alone must handle X or Y” and then realizing that I don’t have a single bit of influence on my own. Humbled, I return to the understanding that God has the reins. God is in charge, not me. Reprioritizing and surrendering to the Lord is always been the answer.
6. How did or how is the Lord using that trial for good, or do you know that part yet?
With infertility, it definitely brought me closer to Christ! As I mentioned above, it humbled me and made me realize He’s Lord of my life (not me). I’ve come to be genuinely thankful for all my trials in life. They’ve all helped me grow closer to God and realize that my happiness is rooted in my intimacy with Him, and my intimacy is strengthened when I rely on the Lord, not myself.
7. When you were a small child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Everything! The president. A scientist. A teacher. A librarian. A detective. A famous author. A lawyer.
8. Now that you’re grown, what have you become?
I’m a writer, which means I get to be all these things through my characters and through the real-life people I write about! I’m the editor and writer of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, which is the oldest newspaper in Methodism (started in 1837!). I’m also a novelist (I write contemporary women’s fiction, represented by Bob Hostetler of The Steve Laube Agency), a freelance writer and editor, a writing coach, and a blogger with a faith blog at https://www.jessicabrodie.com/shiningthelight.
9. How did you arrive at that vocation or calling?
In addition to being an avid reader and writer (the best training in the world for this profession!), I graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in communications/print journalism and I hold a Master of Arts in English (both degrees from Florida International University). And I’ve never stopped reading or writing.
10. What is your purpose for writing and blogging?
Writing is like breathing for me. I cannot NOT write. I express everything better when I write. It’s a way for me to give back, to share the Gospel, to shine God’s light, and to tell great stories. Blogging is a really quick way to shine the light/encourage a lot of people all at once, and I appreciate its immediacy. But I love all writing (novels especially).
11. What do you imagine eternity with Christ will be like?
I imagine eternity with Christ as living in that glorious ray of afternoon sunlight I mention in #1… a beautiful, pure, holy, all-consuming light, the kind that brings a smile so big it hurts your cheeks but you never want to stop!
Next, my nominations.
I look forward to learning more about them from their answers to my questions. Read these people, connect, and subscribe! Here they are:
Here are the questions I’d like my nominees to answer. I can’t wait to read their answers!
Who is the first person who taught you about Jesus?
Who is the last person you recently had a face-to-face conversation with about Jesus?
If you lost your ability to communicate with words (e.g. writing, speaking, full sign language), how would you share the Gospel with someone else?
What are some things you do to find the Light again when you feel like you are in a time of dark or sadness?
What are your three favorite spiritual practices right now?
What is your favorite Bible verse right now?
What do you do for a living/vocation?
Who are three Christian authors who inspire you and why?
How did you become a blogger/writer?
How did you become a Christian?
If you could choose any vocation (other than your current), what would it be?
Thank you for reading! And thank you again, Melinda, for your encouragement in nominating me. I appreciate you!
God bless you all.