Sundays With Rae

a blog for women by a woman who is trying to get her life together while still loving Jesus

Testimony Tuesday: Jasmin

Jasmin is one of those people you meet and don’t forget. You can tell she loves what she does as a teacher and even when I met her and she had what most would call an “active” class full of first graders, the love of God still flowed through her. Growing up in a Baptist church, Jasmin was always familiar with God. Her grandmother did the work of an evangelist, her mother and sister sung in the choir, and her grandfather cooked in the kitchen. At the age of seven she accepted Jesus as her Lord and savior and after leaving her hometown of Upland, CA, to pursue her undergraduate degree, she still attended church faithfully. But, it wasn’t until after college that she truly cultivated her relationship with God. She began to develop a greater understanding of who God is and who the Holy Spirit is, and the role He plays in her life. The truth of God giving up His only begotten Son so she could live became very real for Jasmin and she started to live like it.

With this new knowledge, life still happened but there was a hope Jasmin continued to cling to. After graduating from college, Jasmin longed to work in the field of juvenile justice, but bills had to be paid so she started working at a car dealership. Within three years, she worked her way up to a Senior Sales Advisor position. Although the money was good, the hours were long and she knew this was not a forever job so she started taking classes to become a teacher. Jasmin always enjoyed working with kids and felt God leading her in that direction.

After completing her Master’s degree, she got a teaching job! Or so she thought. They would later call and tell her they could not hire her as a full time teacher but she could work as substitute due to a technicality. We all know a substitute teacher and a full time teacher is very different pay. Just when it felt like everything was falling into place, her world began crashing down. Thank God for praying mothers. Jasmin called her mother, they prayed, and within the next few hours, the school called back and said they would be able to hire her as a full time teacher. Jasmin knew it was only God that worked the situation out in her favor and it served as a reminder as to how real He is.

Jasmin will be the first to tell you that she spends a lot of time at church. There were moments when she felt as though she could be doing other things with her time but she came to the conclusion that it was more fulfilling to work for Christ than to focus on the things of the world. When faced with adversity, it can become difficult to stay faithful and not grow weary, but God has shown Jasmin time and time again the power of her faith and His consistent faithfulness, so she chooses to hold on.

For fun, Jasmin likes to shop (y’all she’s one of the most stylish people I know), spend time with her god babies, and mentor. She also serves as a youth minister at her church and can often times be found there serving the people of God in some way. She enjoys traveling and going on mission trips. Jasmin is currently a 1st grade teacher in the Atlanta area. You would never know it, but she is a MAJOR introvert.

Jasmin’s heart for God’s people speaks for itself. She has no idea how much she impacts the people around her and I’m grateful I’m one of those people. When I was considering buying my own home I was nervous about taking on such a huge responsibility but I thought about Jasmin. We never had a conversation about it but I remember hearing her talk about getting some stuff done around her house and I was encouraged to move forward with the process. Thank you for shining your light Jasmin!

Testimony Tuesday: Caleb

In today’s world, everyone wants to start something, but not many people are willing to see it through. Insert, Caleb Deas. I’ve met a lot of people on this faith walk, so I’ve had a lot of practice in trying spirits, to know whether or not they are of God and Caleb is definitely of God. Growing up as the son of a pastor in the Atlanta area (Lithonia), he always saw a Godly example in his home, but when it comes to a relationship with God, it takes more than seeing to believe. Caleb learned later in life that nothing compared to experiencing God for yourself. His loyalty to Christ fuels the man he is today. Though difficult times have come in the form of doubt and depression, Caleb has always found rest in God. God has proven Himself to Caleb time and time again. He knows it’s not a coincidence or by chance that prayers have been answered. Caleb knows it’s because God is real.

Lots of people call themselves a Christian, but when asked how many people are living the life of a Christian, the number gets smaller. As Caleb put it, “we’re the minority,” which can make this faith walk difficult at times. You can feel alone and maintaining your commitment to Christ can become a task you no longer want to take on. But then, you stumble and perhaps fall, and grace steps in to save the day. You look around and realize you’re not doing this by yourself. God places people in your life to encourage you to keep going. For Caleb, this is the benefit of being in relationship with Christ.

Caleb is very busy but you would never know because he’s so humble. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in school counseling and he is also a musician (he basically plays everything). He works at a print shop and has a brand called Kingdom Writers. Kingdom Writers inspires creativity through Christ-centered, creative exposure, hosting events that include The Intersection; which features live writing sessions and music where creativity, intellect, and worship intersect. One day, Caleb hopes to merge his counseling experience with his creative endeavors, bringing healing to the world for God’s glory through the arts. In his spare time, Caleb enjoys walking outside, playing music, and writing. A random fact: he doesn’t like stickers.

One of the many things I love about Atlanta is there is always something to do and because of people like Caleb, there is something for saved people to do. There are other things Caleb could be doing with his time and money, but he’s choosing to invest in doing the work of the Lord. Not because he has to, not because it’ll make him rich, but because he saw a need that has become his heart’s desire. I’m grateful for the time he took to talk to a stranger and share his story.

Instagram:

@calebjdeas

@kingdomwriters

Facebook:

We Are K Writers

Twitter:

@WeAreKWriters

Testimony Tuesday: Rebekah

You know the person that always seem so happy and bubbly, like nothing can ruin their day? Everybody who meets them, loves them? Rebekah Evans is that person. The self proclaimed celebrity of her family, Rebekah is the eighth of nine children. She was the good version of preacher’s kids. She explains that as the preacher’s kid you either get talked about for doing all the wrong things or you’re expected to know the whole Bible. So with all the attention on her, Rebekah chose to be the “goody two shoes.” She went to church, prayed, even went to the altar, because of course, that’s what good Christian girls do.

But at the beginning of Rebekah’s senior year of high school, that was no longer good enough. The Christian school she attended would occasionally have speakers come in to motivate students and Rebekah had grown weary of hearing the same old speech, especially from other preacher’s kids. “I had to build my own relationship with God.” “I could no longer live this life for my parents, but I had to experience God for myself.” It sounded so cliche but Rebekah was those people and those people were Rebekah. Not too long after, her church held a conference and Rebekah experienced God in a way she never had before. The freedom in calling on Jesus for herself and not because people were watching or because it was what she was supposed to do, but simply because she needed to. Years of church had told her she couldn’t live a fulfilling life without God and on October 18, 2013, she decided she wouldn’t.

Rebekah had faked being saved for so long, that when God truly did give her a new heart, she took it seriously. She strived to learn more about God by reading His word and she uncovered a lot of truths about herself that weren’t so nice. Although she’s always been outgoing and friendly, she was also prideful and arrogant. Every action required her reaction. It is so easy to overlook these “little things,” and pat yourself on the back for not doing the “big things” (fornication, lying, drinking, etc.), but Rebekah knew all of the above impacted her relationship with God. The Holy Ghost has taught her she doesn’t need to say everything that comes to her mind, she doesn’t have to be the source of everyone’s entertainment all the time, and turning the other cheek may be difficult but it’s necessary. “Being saved comes with more trials but there are also more blessings.” For Rebekah, being saved means giving up complete control of your life to God. His plans overrides everything. Although scary at times, He’s always working for them that love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

Rebekah is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in directing and producing for film and television. In her spare time she enjoys going to art galleries and museums. She also enjoys traveling. And a little known fact about Rebekah: she loves sports! Her favorite teams are Duke, the Minnesota Vikings, and although I had to drag it out of her, she kind of likes the Chicago Bulls.

I’ve only known Rebekah for about two months but I’ve already decided we’re going to be friends forever. I look forward to hearing her name when the topic of great filmmakers comes up. She will be the example people can look to when asked can you serve God and excel in the entertainment industry.

Testimony Tuesday: Sheree

Although she is not very big in stature, after one conversation with her, you find she takes up an entire room with just her smile. She can usually be found with a microphone in her hand and occasionally a guitar. She is only nineteen years old but experience has made her wise beyond her years. Over the past few years I’ve gotten to know Sheree and have been made better through our friendship.

Every time I see Sheree she has a smile on her face. Most people who know her would say the same thing, but little did we know there has been a lot of pain, both physical and emotional, behind that smile. Sheree was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a condition that make her bones very fragile. Although able to walk, she uses a walker for assistance and occasionally a wheel chair. None of this has held Sheree back from living a full life. As a young girl she made the decision to follow Christ. She knew about God and Jesus and the Holy Ghost, but one evening at home Sheree had gotten in trouble and her father told her she needed to call on Jesus when they went to church. She was calling on Jesus because she had been instructed to but at that week night service, Jesus answered. Unbeknownst to Sheree, this decision saved her in more ways than one.

Middle school is rough for everyone and this was no different for Sheree. She would spend many days at home due to her medical condition, but when she returned to school, a certain group of girls would make her wish she had just stayed home. How she walked, how she looked, what she wore; all of it was fair game. The once bubbly, happy girl was falling into a depression that led her to believe death was the only way out. To be twelve years old and think life not worth living, that there is no light at the end of the tunnel, just pain and after that, more pain. In these dark moments, Sheree learned that death would not be the way out, but God and the life He brings through His Son Jesus was the only way she was going to be able to live.

Having grown up in church all of her life, the sanctuary was a safe haven. No matter how much physical pain she may have been in or what had happened at school, she could be herself at church. She could sing the pain away, pray the hurt away, praise the depression away. It may have gotten worse before it got better, but Sheree held on to the belief that better was coming. Friends came. Peace came. Joy came. Freedom came. Every day may not have been sunshine and roses, but it was bearable. Through all the procedures, doctor appointments, whispers, looks and stares, missed events, Sheree knew God was carrying her through all of it.

So that smile we see, the laugh we hear, the song she sings, the chords she plays, is not the product of a girl having grown up in church but it is a reminder of how real God is. Without Jesus there would be no Sheree, certainly not the one we know today, and she lives her life forever grateful.

April 2017

Sheree is currently a sophomore majoring in Computer Information Systems at Emmanuel College. And a random fact about her: She dislikes the summer. She like the breaks, but not the heat.