‘I can’t imagine doing this without Jesus!’
Deanna’s story | The nudge of the Holy Spirit
“There were a lot of hard things going on in my family – use of substances, mental health issues. I was in my late teens and I was at the point of desperation. And somehow, the Holy Spirit spoke to me really clearly. It was out of the blue – not through contact with any other person, just the work of God’s Spirit, moving in me, telling me that it was possible to have a relationship with Jesus.
I started reading the Bible after that and I realised it was true! I could have a relationship with Jesus! Then I joined a Bible study group with some older women. They were all in their early thirties … and they were reading Job. They kept saying it was great, so I started reading Job with them in the group, and I thought it was horrible. Why were they loving it?
So I went home and I read the whole of Job that night – 42 chapters! It actually resonated with me! It was very positive … one of the most helpful reads – the process of thinking through suffering from God’s perspective. From then on, I threw myself into reading the Bible and praying. It was great, but I wasn’t sure about church. Would it be possible to have a relationship with Jesus without going to church?
One Sunday morning, I was at home by myself and the Holy Spirit nudged me again, to go to a specific church. I went. The service had already started, but there was another couple who met me at the door. They were running late too. They were so friendly and welcoming. I kept going! It’s been a journey since then.
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I trained as a teacher. I met my husband at that church, and we got married and had three children. And the Holy Spirit is still nudging me. My husband is now a pastor, and even though I could be doing more in the church, the Holy Spirit has been pulling me back into teaching. I really love kids and I want to be as much like Jesus for them as I can be. At the moment, I’m teaching my primary class online (in Sydney’s lockdown) and I have three of our own kids at home doing home learning. It’s been a bit crazy. I’m calling the parents of the kids in my class, telling them what they need to do; and the teachers of my kids are calling me, telling me what they need to do. I say, yes, I know!
But I try and make it fun. We’re making videos for the kids at the moment – doing a lockdown song and birthday videos. The kids are writing beautiful messages to each other. Normally, they’d be singing happy birthday to each other in person, but it seems more than that now. They’re expressing themselves so beautifully and we’re talking to each other more – parents, teachers, students, all of us. It feels like there’s more time to have one-on-one interactions.
And it’s actually the same with my relationship with Jesus. There’s more time to be one-on-one with him. I know it sounds crazy (and stressful and exhausting), but there’s more time in the mornings. I can go for longer walks and listen to the audio Bible. I keep Isaiah 41:10 on my phone screen: “Do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God.”
God is with us. There are some days that are really hard – the kids are emotional and we don’t get everything done. That’s okay. God’s mercies are new every morning! Last night, for example, I couldn’t work anymore and I went to bed without finishing all my 50 new notifications. I was exhausted. But then this morning, I woke up and saw that one of my colleagues had done them all for me! She didn’t need to do that, but she did. It reminded me that every day, God is with us. He is merciful. I can’t imagine doing this without Jesus!”
Deanna’s story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, compiled by Naomi Reed. Click here for more Faith Stories.