Guest Post by Rev. Wendy Brown
I have always believed in God.
As a child, I prayed sincerely and attended Sunday School regularly. I understood that Jesus was born on Christmas day, died on Good Friday, and rose again on Easter Sunday. Yet like a blob of clay on a potter’s wheel prior to the shaping force of the artist’s hand, my faith (although quite real) was simplistic in form.
Looking back, I have to admire the unexpected form the potter’s hand took in my life as he transformed and shaped my faith.
A boyfriend (smarmy, obtuse, agnostic guy) during my freshman year of college helped mold my faith by questioning his own beliefs. Shortly before Christmas he confessed, “I don’t really believe in God.” “Well then,” I opined, “If you don’t really believe in Jesus, you shouldn’t really be celebrating Christmas.”
Soon after I met a classmate (charming, artistic, pentecostal guy) who after our first date asked me to church. After an evening filled with songs I never sang before, clapping along with people I never met before, and hearing about a Jesus I never quite considered before, I left church that night telling myself, “If this is right, this is what I want.”
The West Haven Church of God was certainly no St. Peter’s on the Hill Episcopal Church, but her Jesus-loving, Spirit-filled, happy-clappy people shaped my faith for the next few years and encouraged me to go for God’s best.
After graduating from Southern Connecticut State University, I moved to Florida. Filled with the Spirit and the assurance of God’s calling, I enrolled at Southeastern University (an Assemblies of God school) to prepare for a life of ministry. While there, professors, missionaries, and even long-dead theologians matured my faith.
My story of transformation does not hinge on one moment of prayerful reflection or one spectacular event. Rather, my faith in Jesus transformed from simplicity to maturity through a series of divine encounters, challenging circumstances, solid relationships, and serious study.
I am grateful that my parents initially shaped my faith as a child and the Episcopalians confirmed it through the creeds and the prayers of the Church. I appreciate that the Pentecostals empowered my growing faith by the Spirit and that my Bible professors challenged it through serious theological study. Today, I am thankful that cross-cultural relationships and ministry continue the never-ending transformation process.
And just in case you were wondering, I met and married Stuart (hard-working, athletic, missionary guy) 27 years ago.
Your invitation to Jesus today is to ask to be transformed and shaped by the same Potter’s hands as Wendy was.
Read more about Wendy and the work they do in Mexico City at http://thebrownmissionaries.blogspot.com.