Living in the Light

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“When I saw sin in my life, my reaction was to hide it. I thought if I did good, I would be considered good, and people would love me. My family was in church every week, and my parents raised us to know and love God. But I relied on morals rather than biblical truth to lead my actions. I loved Jesus, but I didn’t think I needed Him. I wanted to obey His commands, but I didn’t view Him as my Savior.

“After high school, I participated in a five-week discipleship program at Pine Cove Camp. While I was there, a counselor named Catherine asked me to explain the gospel to her, and I told her exactly what I’d been taught from the Bible. She pressed in, ‘But what is the gospel to you?’ I remember looking at her with uncertainty, and at that moment, the Holy Spirit revealed to me that in my heart, I really didn’t think I needed Christ.

“I also shared with her my frustration with my hands. My hands didn’t form correctly when I was born, so I had problems opening and closing my fingers and hands growing up. While I had brokenness and sin within me—like pride, selfishness, insecurities, and lust—my hands showed a very outward physical part of me that was imperfect.

“When I would show or tell most people about my hands, they would quickly respond, ‘Oh, you’re fearfully and wonderfully made!’ But Catherine challenged me to talk to God about it. I realized I’d been angry at Him for 17 years, and I didn’t want to talk with God at all. My sin and anger toward my physical imperfections were barriers between me and true intimacy with God.

“As the discipleship program continued, the Holy Spirit kept showing me ways I needed Christ. One of my main roles was to clean camp dishes – a task I hated. One night, I walked all the way to the dining hall, and someone had done all the dishes for my team. It’s a gross, time-consuming process, so I couldn’t understand why someone would do that. As I thought about it and talked with God, I realized it was a small picture of what Christ does for me. He washes clean all my sins and imperfections. Christ makes me new. I realized I could never be good enough, but Christ was good enough for me.

“At the end of the discipleship program, Catherine told me she was conducting an evaluation of my time at camp. She gave me a ball of clay and asked me to make something that resembled my time there.

“I made a cup. Hoping my creation would check the boxes and win her approval, I explained that, in my time at camp, we did a lot of dishes, and I had memorized Philippians 2, a verse that talks about being poured out as an offering.

“She said, ‘Jenna, this isn’t about the cup at all. I hope you see that you made this cup with your hands – the hands God gave you. God is going to use you. He’s going to let you, through your imperfections, make beautiful things for Him to show others that He’s beautiful.’ That was such an impactful and freeing moment in my life.

“I went on to college living in a new confidence and assurance because I knew who I was in Christ, and I believed that He is my Savior. Eventually, I became involved with different ministries at a church in College Station, and there, God really developed my heart for the local church and slowly called me into full-time ministry.

“While my first year working in ministry was a lonely and hard time in my life, I learned the deep importance of community and accountability in my walk with Christ. The same sin patterns from my past developed in my heart, and I started to believe that God didn’t love me. I even doubted His commands, wondering if they were actually for my flourishing. I was working in ministry but rebelling against God in my heart.

“Through believing friends and ministries at other churches, I started to find the biblical community, discipleship, and leadership that I lacked. And then, with my community group and my time in the Watermark Institute, the Lord has shown me how to honor Him, walk in the light, and be held accountable. Bringing my sin before the Lord and fellow believers who can pray for me makes life so much more joyful.

“I'm still tempted to hide my sin or perform for approval, but I remind myself that I am fully defined by the work of Christ. His life, death, resurrection, and ascension give me everything I need.”

“Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” 2 Timothy 2:21