IMG_2265 I was hunting for a post to schedule on Wednesday when Brenna emailed me her Joy Story! I’m so glad you can meet this woman whose whole life radiates her exposure to God’s grace. I met Brenna at the camp in New Mexico she mentions in her post. We were in a ‘Covenant Group’ together and I was always left smiling because of her laugh, her love for life, and her love for God. To know Brenna is to get a glimpse of Jesus.  sig
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P: Who are you, where do you come from, and what do you do?
B: I am Brenna Bostic. I grew up in Atlanta, GA, but moved to Albuqerque, NM, a year ago when I got married — my husband, Tyler, is from NM. I am currently an agent at New York Life Insurance Company where I help families with their financier goals, and my husband is in the Albuquerque Police Academy.

P: When and how did Christ become real to you?
B: I grew up going to church with my family, made a profession of faith when I was 8 years old, and was baptized at age 10. After that, I always had the desire to do good and be close to the Lord, but there was always something missing. The church I went to as a child was very legalistic, so I thought that the way to be close to God was by being good, repenting, and never sinning. And so I struggled. I would read verses in the Bible about how God draws close to the righteous, and I would be so discouraged because all I saw was my sin. I wasn’t righteous, and I didn’t know how to be righteous. No matter what I did, I could not draw close to Jesus. It was not until the summer after my freshman year in college that my relationship with God took a turn. That summer I was working at a camp in NM, and for the first time, I really started understanding the concept and reality of God’s GRACE towards me. That summer was when my relationship with Christ really became deeper and more real. All is grace. And because of the work that Jesus did on the cross for me, I am righteous. My sin is washed away, and when God looks at me, He sees the perfection of His precious Son. I am a daughter of the Almighty King!

P: How does your faith influence your life?
B: Honestly, my faith influences every part of my life…or I am striving for that to be the case. My ultimate purpose and desire is to glorify Jesus, and love people with His love. Everything from what I where, to how I think, work and interact with people are influenced by what the Lord has done and is doing in my life.

P: Tell us three things you have found most helpful in your walk with God.
B: One big way that my walk with God has been helpful in my life is in the way that I act towards my husband. If the Lord was not constantly working in me, my prideful nature would prevent me from serving him, submitting to him, and allowing myself to be vulnerable with him. Another way is in the way that I forgive. Most of the time when I get hurt, my natural inclination is to shut down, board up, and became really bitter. Bitterness is the way that my heart blocks out the pain caused by people or just life in general. And bitterness steals joy and destroys hearts. Because of my walk with the Lord, I am learning how to recognize the signs of bitterness in my heart, and lay it down at Jesus’ feet. And finally, another huge way that God’s work in my life has really helped me is in how I see myself. Ever since I was young, I have struggled so heavily with my body image and self-esteem. When I was a sophomore in college, the Lord started uncovering this struggle in my heart, and revealing to me how big of a deal it was to me, and how it doesn’t have to be that way. I always knew I had low self-esteem, but then Jesus started showing me that I should not esteem myself, but Him. This has been a hard road, a constant battle, but more and more I can see God’s healing, restoring, and redeeming power in my heart and life through it all.

P: If you could sit down over coffee with girls across the world, what advice would you give?
B: Like I said before, I have really struggled with my body image. There are times that I look in the mirror and hate what I see, or times when my heart and mind were at the point of having an eating disorder. But, by God’s grace, He is working in me, and has pulled me from the darkness of my own heart. So the advise that I would give is this: Don’t belittle the struggle with body image. It is a serious battle, and it has the potential to destroy your heart. But don’t settle in it. You don’t have to be enslaved to the mirror and counting calories. You are FREE in Jesus! You are free from the sin of vanity and the messages that have been written on your heart telling you that you aren’t good enough, pretty enough, thin enough, or curvy enough. You are made by the hand of God, and He doesn’t make trash. You are treasured beyond your wildest dreams, and you are lovely, precious in your Father’s eyes. Know the freedom you have. Know the grace you live in. And know the eternal love with which you are loved.

P: What aspect of God’s character has been most influential in your life?
B: Over the past few years, ever since that summer I spent in NM, the Lord has been showing me more and more that He is my Father. In the Bible, Jesus refers to God as “Abba” which actually means “Daddy.” Isn’t that awesome?! God is our Daddy! So I think that has been the biggest thing lately. I am a daughter of the King! Abba!

P: Let’s get practical. What are three ways young women can live out their faith in today’s culture?
B: Get in the Word. That is first and foremost. And I say this, too, because it is an area that I really need to work on! What better way to know what God is speaking to us than reading His literal Word? Another way is to surround yourself with Christian community. I’m not saying only hang out with Christians, but I think is it SO important to have a community to pour into and be poured into.
And finally, I think it is so important to serve. Whether that is serving at church, or in the community, get out of your own world and do something that benefits and blesses someone else. That’s how Jesus lived out His ministry.

P: Many young women struggle with insecurity about who they are and what they look like. Will you speak to this?
B: I already went into this a lot, so to re-cap, I say remember who you are because of Jesus. Remember His grace and love for you. Remember that you are not defined by what you look like, what your struggle is, or what other people say you should be. You are defined by God’s unconditional love for you. So find freedom and joy in that. You are beautiful. You are treasured. Your Abba does not make trash.

P: How would you encourage young women in their walk with God?
B: I just want to encourage young women by saying that you are not alone. I know a lot of times when I am struggling with something, I keep it to myself and end up feeling very isolated and alone. And that is straight from Satan. I guarantee it, there are other women who are battling the same things you are. Get in community and be encouraged and poured in to. And once again, you are a daughter of the King. Keep looking to Jesus and seeking after Him. It’s all about Him!

 

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