• on February 4, 2019

My Testimony – Jane Westwood

If someone asks you why you go to church, what do you tell them?

When I was a kid I used to just tell people I went to church because I had to go with my family, but overtime that’s changed. The answer I would give now is that I go to church because it’s a good way for me to learn about, and worship God. Plus I actually enjoy church and the community that comes out of it! Sometimes it can be hard for me to tell that to people who might not understand why anyone would go to church, but I think it’s really important to be able to be honest about my faith and church attendance.

What are the keys parts of your life that are different now that you identity as a Christian?

I find it quite difficult to answer this question because there hasn’t really been a time in my life that I haven’t identified as a Christian. I was born into a Christian family so it’s kind of always just been a part of who I am. However as I’ve gotten older I’ve been able to mature in my faith and own it a lot more. I’d say that one major difference is that I am able to make conscious choices for God, rather than just deciding things for myself. Through being more mature in my faith and identifying as a Christian I want to be a better person to show God’s love through my life.

What were the turning points that lead you to a relationship with him?

As a kid, going to Sunday School and doing RE were helpful in giving me an understanding of who God is and giving me a foundation of faith from a young age. But I think going on ESA camps were probably some of the biggest turning points in making me really serious about my faith. From my first camp in year 9 to my last camp in year 12, I was able to experience genuine worship, gain wisdom from leaders and make amazing Christian friends; things that have all been huge in my journey.

Another key point was my decision to take a year after year 12 to study theology through a program called NEXT. This year I’ve already been able to learn so much about God and myself. Every day I’m learning and experiencing things that are genuinely strengthening my relationship with Him.

What are the challenges you face when it comes to sin?

One struggle I’ve recently become more aware of is my tendency to fantasize about my own idealistic future, while both idolizing others and losing sight of God’s plan for my life in that. It might not sound like you’re doing anything wrong to plan out who you’re going to marry, the house you’re going to live in or the perfect job you’re going to have, but if that dream starts to constantly occupy your mind I think it can really draw you away from God, and I know it definitely can for me.

It can also sometimes be a challenge to stick to my choice in not wanting to drink very much alcohol, especially when I’m in a space where all my friends are doing that. In those times when it is hard I just try and remember why I have decided that is not what God wants for my life, and cling to that when I might be tempted.

What bible verse or passage symbolizes best to you what you have in Christ?

One bible verse I’ve drawn upon many times has been Philippians 4:6-7.

“6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

This passage helps us see how caring God is, and helps remind us that His peace means we don’t have to worry about anything in our lives! He has everything under control and He knows all our concerns. That seems pretty cool to me and I think it’s definitely a truth about who God is and what we have in Him.
Another verse that I think gives another great look at what we have in Christ is Romans 8:39.

“39 Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

There is nothing we can do to lose or earn God’s love because his love is eternal. In Christ we are loved and I think this verse is really important to help us remember that and hold onto it throughout life.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years I’d like to be married (is 28 too young for a kid?), and in a job that I really love that’s hopefully useful for others in some way. I also see myself still being really involved in Church life.

If you didn’t have God with you, how would your future look differently?

If I didn’t have God with me I imagine my goals of wanting to be married and enjoying my job would be similar, except I might be slightly more focused on the money rather than helping other people in what I’m doing. I probably wouldn’t have as much hope in life without God, and I can say that I would have a lot more anxiety about the way my life is going and where I’m going to end up. In general I would have a much more materialistic view on life, probably trying to get super rich or something like that. I would be doing everything in my life for my own gain rather than to give the glory to God.

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