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Embracing Courage and a New Life with Christ

“Did you sign up for Bible study yet?” my sister-in-law, Kyra, asked me a few times prior to the start of the women’s Bible study at Stones last winter.

I had even been thinking to myself, even without her prompts, that I needed to sign up. Was it a case of forgetfulness at signing up? Or was I dragging my feet because I had not truly committed to go?

Do I really want to commit to getting ready every Wednesday morning and going to this? That was my surface doubt, but I doubted the commitment for so many other reasons. (Like the fact that I am an oversharer of information.)

Who I am

I’m Alesia. I’m a wife and mama. I own three small businesses. I am creative, love crafting, love being a mom, and am a relentless crier. AND I am an oversharer.

In my mid-30’s, I am only just beginning a fully committed and surrendered walk with Jesus. Sometimes figuring out life and getting to know myself as a follower of Jesus has looked or felt messy, but I’m working on it. Part of my story also involves how I’m learning to enjoy and study the Bible, as I bravely began attending Bible study at Stones.  

I was raised in another denomination and had attended church off and on in my adult life. However, I had been so turned off by the idea of church for many years due to bad experiences. I thought that I would never find a church that preached the truth of Scripture and lived it, that I’d never find a church full of people who would truly love and care about me without judgment.

A tragic event leads her to God

In 2017, my sister-in-law (who happened to be my best friend) came to live with us after a bad break-up that left her with nothing. This story tragically ended with her taking her own life in our home.

With Emily’s passing, I questioned a lot and had such despair that I knew only God could help me. So, later in 2017, I put aside my judgments on church and came across Stones Crossing Church. I immediately knew Stones was our home, and that was solidified when, after service, I walked right up to Pastor Scott. I told him what had happened and asked for prayer. Not only did he make himself available to a stranger like me, but he didn’t rush me as I shared. He was sympathetic and genuine.

There are many more reasons why we grew to love Stones. We loved that the messages were biblical and that the pastors were personable, empathetic, and never rushed you when you wanted to speak with them. We loved how friendly everyone was, and mostly that we felt God’s presence when we were there.

Over the years, we attended off and on. I eventually went back to work full-time and, in the process, gave in to many sins. Some of those sins almost ended my marriage and had me in a dark place for a long time.

Finding hope again

In spring of 2022, my husband reached out to Pastor Scott Luck at Stones, because he knew how much I had loved Stones and how much I respected Pastor Scott. Getting me to come back to church was not easy. But I did decide to come back and after my first service back, I jumped in fully. If God was going to change my heart, I needed to be 100 percent in.  

Back to my thoughts about Bible study. How was I going to get anything out of it when I had no clue how to even study the Bible? I grew up in church but never understood the King James version we were required to use. I had just gotten back into church, and even when I was in church before I had never been to a Bible study. Besides, wasn’t Bible study for a group of really “good” Christians? The ones who don’t mess up? And what if by some miracle I did actually get something out of it? I would have to share with them (cue the oversharing).  

I would overshare, and they would most definitely think differently of me. How could they not? How could I really be myself? These thoughts ran through my mind every time I thought about signing up for Bible study.

I still hadn’t signed up, and time was running out. The sign-up deadline arrived, and I saw the reminder in the Stones Women Facebook group. I reminded myself of the commitment I made to really give this my all, so before I knew it, I clicked “submit” to sign up.  

Soon after, my group leader contacted me with info, telling me that she was excited to meet me. I immediately texted Kyra and learned we were not in the same group. This made me a little nervous.

At our first Bible study, I felt anxious and awkward, and, you guessed it—I overshared! To my surprise, no one seemed to judge me. And others were sharing too.

I left that first week feeling a lot better. Maybe I could get something out of this.

Growing in confidence in Christ

Week by week, I dove into the weekly reading and assignment. When I answered the study questions, I sometimes realized I had a lot more work to do in understanding what it meant to live each day as a Christian. But other times it also made me realize how far I had come in my relationship with Jesus.

A few weeks into Bible study, God revealed something to me: I was studying my Bible! Not only that, but I was understanding it and applying it to my own life! Just months back, I was the girl who was on the completely opposite side of the tracks: I had earmuffs and blinders on when it came to God speaking to me, and I was completely wrapped up in and controlled by a life of sin. My marriage was in complete shambles. I was working a job that bred sin and blocked God in my life at that time. I wasn’t even thinking about going back to church anytime soon. To put it simply, in all reality, I was living in and for the world instead of for Him.

I never thought I would sign up or attend Bible study—and now I felt like I was a part of the study! And at some point, I stopped viewing myself as someone who didn’t belong. I realized I was just like all the other women at Bible study—eager for Wednesday to arrive and excited to study and discuss the Bible.

So, whether you just started attending church again (or for the first time) or if you’ve been a regular attender for years, I hope your doubts or anxieties won’t keep you from attending a Bible study or class. God is always working in our lives. He wants to know us, teach us, and draw us closer to Him. He’s just waiting on you to respond to that invitation.
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