Friday, June 1, 2012

Guest Post: This is My Story

Welcome to the first guest post of the This is My Story series. Since I'm busy getting married and such...I hope yall enjoy getting to know SimplyB as much as I have! Check out her story below and be sure to swing on over to her blog!

Hi! My name is Beth, and I am so excited to be a guest blogger on Passion, Pink and Pearls today. I blog over at Simply B, and within the past month, I graduated from Duke University AND got engaged to my best friend of four years (you can read more about that here)! I love design, the color aqua, local coffeehouses, and indie music.

More importantly, I love my Creator, and I was thrilled when Veronica shared her guest post theme with me: This is my story. I grew up singing the hymn "Blessed Assurance" in church every Sunday, yet for the longest time, I felt like "my story" was less-than-spectacular. Over the years, however, I have come to realize that "my story" is actually "His story," and I am honored to share it today for the glory of God.

The roots of my faith tree run deep: my grandfather was a pastor and my parents met in their high school youth group. I was raised in a Christian home, less than a mile from my church (which might as well have been my home as often as we were there), and my parents & church family watered my little tree as I accepted Christ at a young age and began to grow in my faith. I attended a Christian school that helped to prune my little tree for 14 years, and my children's department, junior choir, youth group, and various other church-related activities provided the sunlight necessary for growth. For five summers, I worked as a counselor at a Christian summer camp (where I met my boyfriend--now fiancé), and my little faith tree matured and bloomed like never before.

Before I knew it, however, it was time to uproot my tree from the only Christian community I had ever known and move to college. I was eager to get involved with a local church and a Christian ministry on campus...but that proved to be a bigger challenge than I had envisioned. I did end up at a wonderful church with an incredible pastor, but with 6,000+ members (a huge contrast to my 100-person hometown church), I hardly felt a sense of community. Likewise, the relationships amongst the members of Christian organizations on campus were very superficial, and an entire year passed without a meaningful friendship in my small group. Don't get me wrong--I had wonderful friends outside of my small group--but none that shared my faith. Although I was grateful for the opportunity to be a light in the darkness for so many others, my little faith tree still craved a community: a place to dig its roots, a place to receive water and sunlight and everything necessary for growth. Truthfully, I was wilting without it, and I began to face some pretty dark days while I was away at college.

So I began to blog.

I started blogging because I simply needed to share my story -- whatever it may happen to be. College was such a lonely time for me, and I needed to feel like someone was listening. I never imagined that so many people would not only listen, but respond. Encourage. Support. Strengthen. The outpouring of love from friends all over the country -- some I've known my entire life and some I've never met -- was overwhelming. In that moment when I needed it, they stepped up and became my Christian community. They prayed for me. They inspired me. Sometimes they outright carried me. And while it was not a typical community (and I would never advocate having an online Christian community over a personal, face-to-face Christian community), they helped to get me through so much.

I never realized how much I needed a Christian community until I was no longer immersed in one. I am as stubborn and independent as they come, and I would probably prefer to spend the afternoon in the art studio by myself than hanging out with a large group of people. But God used my college years to show me that I can't always go at it alone. We're relational beings; we need fellowship. And I'm so glad that during a time in my life where I was taken away from my Christian community and unable to find another one to call my own, God brought people into my life to encourage and support me -- people much like yourself :) The blogging Christian community is quite wonderful, so keep encouraging and supporting one another... and don't be afraid to cry out for help when you need it, trust me.

That's my story.

"Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble."
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

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