Welcome back to our interview series! This week’s interview is with our sister in Christ, Anna Grace.
1. When did you accept Jesus, and what was that experience like for you?
I was born and raised in a Christian family, and I accepted Christ when I was probably three or four, so I honestly don’t remember much.
2. Who or what has had the most impact on your spiritual journey?
At different points in my life, God has placed different people and things right where I need them. My grandma, who, up until two years ago, lived five minutes from me, is always willing to discuss anything spiritual with me, and is also an amazing prayer warrior. I am also very thankful for my eighth grade English teacher, with whom I am still in contact, who related to many of the questions and struggles I was having at that time, and was always willing to listen or talk with me. Another thing that might seem a bit cliche is Christian music. I could go on for way too long about why I love it so much, but in short, it’s basically because it gave my faith and hope something tangible, putting concepts into words.
3. Why do you personally continue to seek Jesus? In what ways has He changed your life?
He’s my hope. To be honest, sometimes I can feel frustrated with Him for not healing me (I have a chronic illness), but I always have to return to Him and Him alone, because He is the foundation of my Hope and my life, both now and eternally.
4. What is the hardest struggle for you about being a Christian and/or believing/obeying the Bible?
Like I mentioned, I have a chronic illness, so sometimes that can be a struggle, especially knowing he can heal me, but praying and crying and praying for long periods of time, and receiving no miracle, no healing. Sometimes, I almost wonder if I need to give up praying for this miracle altogether. Sometimes, I know a clear answer when I pray. But this just feels like nothing. I feel like I would even be okay with the answer “no” if I knew that was what He is telling me. But I’m not finding any answer at all right now.
It’s like grains of sand in an hourglass. With every “amen” I pray, another grain of sand falls, I wonder a little bit more if my answer will always be non-existent. And with each grain of sand that falls, a little bit more of the hope I’m clinging on to (for healing… I am still confident in my eternal hope) falls too.
5. What characteristic of God do you appreciate/connect with the most?
I am still awestruck by the extent of His love for us, that Jesus would die so we could be with Him. I also cling to the fact that He is our healer, even if not in this temporal world, in eternity, and the Hope I can be confident in.
6. What are your favorite books of the Bible and why? Any specific verses that are special to you?
A lot of people tend to find it strange, but I’ve always loved the book of Ecclesiastes. I think so much resonated when I struggled with depression, and it kind of just stuck, I guess. My life verse is also Revelation 21:4, because that is my hope. What a wonderful day that will be.
7. What does spending time with God/reading the Bible look like for you? Any resources you’d recommend or advice you’d give to someone struggling in this area?
My alarm is set to the radio, so I wake up and sing along with some worship for a few minutes. Because getting out of bed takes a very long time for me, I turn on the audio of whatever chapters are in my daily Bible reading plan. If I have enough energy, I may also grab the physical copy of my Bible off my nightstand and follow along with a pen/highlighter. If I have time, I might also take a few minutes to journal a prayer or simply pray out loud as I try to get up and ready. On the days that I miss my Bible reading, I try to listen to it at night, the last thing I do before going to sleep.
I recently found an audiobook of the NKJV Unapologetic Study Bible that I’ve been listening to for my New Testament reading, and it’s been really good.
8. Can you share a time (or two) you’ve experienced an answer to prayer, or seen God in your life? Any particular moments you just knew He was there? Nothing is too small. 🙂
I have so many examples I can think of, but the first one that comes to mind is fairly recent. It takes a little explanation for context, so bear with me. I go to a Christian school, but during worship, I’ve noticed quite a bit of apathy among my peers. For about two years, I’ve been praying for revival, and I know my teachers have, too. About a month or two ago, I was struggling with a lot of frustration with God, and it was longer and more intense than usual. In worship at school that week, I saw the most wonderful answer to my prayers for revival; by the end I was close to tears. In that moment, it was as if God spoke to my heart, saying, “I’m still here, even when you don’t feel it. Even if you can’t pray, I still hear your heart.”
9. In contrast, can you share a time in your life when you experienced great fear/doubt/opposition in your walk with God? If it was in the past, what helped you get through it?
I still struggle with those feelings of frustration at times, and the spiritual battles of it all can, at times, be very real to me. When it noticeably hits me, I often text one or two of my friends, who are kind of my “prayer partners,” just telling them something like “Hey, I would really appreciate prayers right now. I think I might be in a spiritual battle right now, and it’s affecting me physically.” In those times I often struggle to pray myself, so knowing someone else is always helpful. Then, I often try to just turn on audio of the Psalms or worship music or something, but sometimes I just have to stay in silence, whispering to myself all of the scriptures I can recall from memory.
10. What has God been teaching you and/or been doing in/through your life in this season?
There’s so much He’s trying to teach me, and I’m only barely beginning to grasp it all. Trust is one big one, and also just reliance on Him, patience, worship and prayer.
11. Is there anything else you’d like to say to the person reading this? Any words of encouragement or advice?
Hang on. Even when we can’t see, God is still working. He still hears our hearts, even when we don’t think he does. Don’t forget the hope He has promised.
I know something else I’ve struggled with is feeling like I’ve wasted things He has given me. If you feel like you’ve wasted something, be it an opportunity, knowledge, money, or something else, I get it. However, I do know that He can redeem those things, whatever they are. When we choose to surrender ourselves to Him, He can redeem our lives and the things we have, even when we feel we’ve wasted them.
12. Where can we connect with you?
You can find me on my blog, Redeem the Time, or you can shoot me an email about literally anything at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anna Grace is described by her parents as a “born writer,” starting from her toddler years, when she would create new words. You can often find her reading, writing, or listening to audiobooks or worship music. She also enjoys all things craft-related, including wood burning, crocheting, glass melting, and sewing. She discovered a passion for volunteering that she hopes to use to help advance God’s kingdom.