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  • Writer's pictureCaroline Nelson

Back to School

Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

Going back to school always spurred an array of feelings in me. It was bittersweet. I wanted to see my friends, but I had so many insecurities. I was so fearful of turning people away from me that I kept my beliefs to myself, failing to be a light. I let fear determine who I was in high school. I let fear drive who I talked to and who I didn't talk to. I let fear rule me.

Because of my fear of being disliked, I didn't show I wasn't influenced by the Gospel at all.

Now, I didn't truly understand salvation until the summer before my senior year of high school. I grew up in a Christian home, so I knew the talk and walk of Christianity, but being one was something I didn't really care about. I figured that when I got older, I would have this "experience" and everything would come together and I'd get to know Jesus later.

Because I truly understood salvation at the beginning of my senior year there was a different fear that I had going into it. This time, it wasn't the fear of not knowing what to say, or how to get people to like me... this time, it was the fear of doing something wrong that would drive someone away from Christ, and not doing what I was supposed to do, be a light.

Just having worked at camp, and gone on an overseas mission trip, I was on this "Camp High" thinking: "This is it, this is my time to make God shine." That feeling quickly went away as I was worried about saying the wrong thing, and being scolded for my faith (yes, even in Vestavia Hills, AL). Here I was again, allowing fear to control who I was, rather than being faithful to do what God had commanded me to do.

For this school year, I want to challenge each of you to stand firm in your faith, be a light, and most importantly, remain in Jesus.

Scripture says, " Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me," (John 15:4). When we remain in Christ When we remain in Christ, He remains in us, making His light naturally flows out of us. When His light naturally flows out of us, we better understand what it means to stand firm and make disciples. This school year, I don’t want you guys to let fear control your life, or be hidden with your faith. I want that camp fire you may still have to not be temporary. I want you to have an eternal flame.

I want to encourage you to live in such a way that others see the light of Jesus in you, and it makes them ask the question, “What’s different?” I challenge you to make this school year one that the light of Jesus in you shines in the faces of others.

I want to encourage you to know that you aren’t alone in this fight, you aren’t alone when it comes to this fear. I have been where you are, and I want to encourage you to not make the same mistakes I did.

Remain faithful to the one who is always faithful.

Remain in Jesus, and grow your strength and courage in Him, so that you may be a light to others in this dark world.

It isn’t easy, but it is good.

I love you, and I’m praying over you.

- Caroline

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