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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Don't be afraid to be different - My Faith Story

I received an email from a reader who was curious to know about my faith. She has seen bits and pieces where I speak about God yet also noticed I have only recently gone to church.

 I was simply going to reply to her email and that be it, however, I realised that perhaps if I had have read my story from the outside, I might have been inspired to change things sooner than I did  - so I wanted to tell you my faith story too. 

Please, read this with an open mind - I accept that you may not believe the same and that's perfectly fine, so please respect that my opinion and my journey may be entirely different than yours and there's nothing wrong with that. We are all entitled to our own beliefs just as we are all entitled to choose how we act or what haircut we have or what foods we love to eat. 

I don't come from a Christian family, yet my faith is incredibly strong. My mum, my dad and my sister all do not believe in a God of any form. How can you believe when you're surrounded by non believers? Well, I guess that you remember that it's okay to be different.

I haven't always been so close to God. As a child I went to religious education/scripture classes on Tuesdays - but whilst it made me think a little bit, it didn't make a huge impact, they just weren't getting all the way through. It wasn't until I got to high school that I wanted to know more. 

My faith had always been a private thing... I wanted to make up my own mind, I wanted to learn myself, I didn't like how some people spoke about their faith and beliefs in a way that was condescending to others. So I started to read the bible and I started to investigate. I've always been that way. If I hear something mumbled in conversation but don't know what it is, I'll go home and research it - I just like to know things and this was the same. 

My biggest turning point came at the absolute hardest point in my life. I was struggling with crippling anxiety, I was become withdrawn and depressed - I was told by doctors that I would never be a normal functioning human being without medication. So I got that script filled - and I never took a single pill. 

It didn't feel right - I knew there was another option. My heart and my soul needed healing and medication wasn't going to fix that. I remember that night, curled up in bed, I cried out to God. What I said probably wasn't entirely comprehensive but I poured my heart out. I asked Him for answers, I asked him for protection, I wanted a fix - and then I remembered something: 

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me" 
Psalm 23:4 

I remembered that we weren't created to fear and that God will handle our fears and insecurities. So I prayed, I asked The Lord to take my anxiety and my fear, I asked him to walk with me and show me the way because I didn't know where to go. 

Now it sounds incredibly cliched and I agree with you, but things started to turn around. Things changed. I changed. 

But that's not all of the story. Whilst my faith continued to grow and strengthen - I wanted more. For years I had kept my faith somewhat of a secret, if I spoke of my beliefs to my family and friends they changed the subject or gave me a look that said "yeah, she's lost it". I knew many pushy "Bible bashing" Christians and that wasn't what I wanted to be so I hid my faith, thinking that I could keep it as something just for me. 

But I wanted more. 

I share everything with Jesse and my faith was also something I shared. Jesse didn't share my faith, he was pretty on the fence about God. But I found that some of my blogger friends (you'll know who you are and I love you so much for that!) who shared my faith - and I began opening up to them. 

But I wanted more. 

Gradually, Jesse wanted to know more too. I had never been to a Sunday church service - and to be honest, I was too scared to go on my own. So I prayed about it, I prayed that The Lord would give me an opportunity, I prayed that he might help me to show Jesse His light so that he might want to know more. 

On October 20th, Jesse agreed to come to a church service with me at the church we were married in. But it wasn't the right fit - my heart sank. I thought my opportunity was gone, Jesse wouldn't want to go to church again - but that wasn't the case. My faith has stirred something in Jesse and he wanted to know more. 

We wanted more.

We didn't go back to that church, but we kept on looking. After returning from our honeymoon, on November 24th, we went to a new church closer to home - our church. 

I had been praying for weeks, praying that this church would be the right one for us, praying that something would stir in Jesse during the service. 

And oh how my prayers were answered. 

We immediately felt welcomed in the church - people wanted to talk to us and get to know us, unlike the previous church where the people around us were cold and in inviting. 

During the sermon, Craig was talking about growth as Christians - and also how people can twist the scriptures to mean whatever they wanted. It was then that I saw Jesse's facial expression change - it was like watching someone have an a-ha moment. 

After the service and after coffee, Jesse affirmed my observation - that sermon had spoken to him. He told me he wanted to come back - and my heart couldn't be happier. 

We found our church and in the last 3 weeks we've found made new friends - our brothers and sisters in Christ. We've felt accepted and we've made friends and we've come closer to God - and spiritually we've come closer together too. 

But this isn't just about my faith story - it's about telling you that you shouldn't let fear or anxiety stop you in anything that you do - and you should never be afraid of being different. 

I have created my own faith. I went against what my family believed because I believed different. I went against what my friends believed because I believed different. And being different was the best decision I ever madeNot just in my faith but in my life in general. 

Step outside your comfort zone - take a risk - go with what you believe in, whatever it is. 

This post is probably rambly, and it might not even make sense - but I just wanted to share. I would really love it if you too could share how stepping outside of your comfort zone has changed things for you as you might just inspire someone to do the same - yet I also understand that many readers don't have the time to leave a comment (but be assured we LOVE when you do). If you're a Christian I would love for you to share your own faith too. 

I also know that there are many readers who know they live close to Jesse and I - so if you do and you'd like to come visit our church, please let us know - we'd love for you to join us. If you're not close by, but want to chat about anything please be sure to send us an email at southerninlaw@gmail.com 

And if this post is rambling and incoherent - do excuse me, this is just me stepping outside of my comfort zone because this is something I never thought I'd be able to post. <3


  1. Sorry if you have already explained this, but why did you get married at a church which you do not consider warm and inviting? I really admire the honesty in this post x

  2. Hey Maddi, a totally valid question to ask!

    There were a number of reasons we decided to get married at the church we did - my parents were married there, I was christened there, we loved Father James and felt he truly believed the same things we did about marriage. It was also a decision that was impacted by the visa process, it was going to be almost impossible for us to be married in the church with the requirements of the visa, however, St Paul's at Burwood did everything they could to make sure we could be married there.

    Our church now actually doesn't do weddings (the focus is on coming together as a congregation) and I definitely do not regret getting married where we did. I wish that we had have felt more invited at services there but father James who married us definitely made us feel welcomed on his own. (If that makes any sense at all?)

    Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! Xx

  3. Kristy this post is just beautiful. I actually had tears at one point (kind of stepping outside my comfort zone in admitting that in public!) I'm so glad that your prayers were answered and that Jesse can be there with you for something that is obviously, so important to you. xx

  4. Well done Kristy, different is good xoxo

  5. Hi Kristy :) You don't know me, but I've followed your blog for a few months now! This blog post was so encouraging for me to hear! When you wrote a post about a month ago, when Jesse was ill, and you briefly talked a little bit about your faith, I prayed for you. I wasn't sure exactly where you were at with your Christian walk, but I prayed that you would find a church if you hadn't already, and that God would put fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in your life to encourage you. What an answer to prayer!!!! So awesome, isn't God amazing :) And seriously, good on you for having the courage to talk about your faith! I shall keep praying that you will continue to be welcomed into your new church family, and that both of you would continue to grow in your relationship with God. xx

    1. Jill, thank you so so much for taking the time to write a comment - but more than that, thank you for taking the time to pray for us, it really means so much. I hope to see more comments from you in the future - and always feel free to email us if you need someone to talk to or need prayers yourself <3

  6. Hi Kristy, I also have wondered about your story and I am happy that you shared it. We are all in different places so will always be different and different is good. We would not all want to be in the same place at the same time...we would not grow that way. Good for you for following God's promptings in your life. And I am thrilled that you and Jesse are now sharing a faith that will only grow you closer together but closer to God. I look forward to hearing more about your journey as God reveals more about His faithfulness in your lives. Be blessed and Merry Christmas to you both....

    1. Hi Christine,
      Lovely to hear from you! Thank you so much for reading this post. You are right - everyone's different and that is a good thing, not a bad thing. We'd be so incredibly boring if we were all the same.

      Merry Christmas to you too, lovely xx

  7. It's always so interesting to learn how others come to their faith. I don't believe in God & am not a particularly spiritual person in any way, but I've always viewed "God" (whatever you take God to be/mean) as a manifestation of our deepest strengths & human spirit, especially in those rock-bottom times.
    Religious or not, it's wonderful to find a community you belong with so congratulations on finding a church that suits you both!

    1. Vanessa, you should be praised for how open minded you are - that's an incredible thing and something that many people cannot be.

  8. Hey, we're sisters! So glad you shared...we each have a story and as Dan Allander says, He invites us to co-author our futures with Him! Christ is the best relationship I have and I'm so proud of you for this step of faith! Praying for you and Jesse!

    1. Thank you, Abigail, for your sweet comment - and your prayers too! It means the world :) xx

  9. Hi, I just wanted to say that I applaud you. I am not 100% sure of my faith right now, but I am 100% sure that I do not want to just go through the motions. I am the same, always researching things, and when I was in college, I did my first bible study. It was interesting to hear how different people can interpret the exact same words. Sometimes I feel like people just follow in their parents footsteps, I know a lot of people who claim to be a certain religion simply because that is how they were raised. I was raised catholic but I have always tried to find whats right for me, it has been difficult for me to find a church home around here because I also am afraid to go alone. Also, I really don't know where to start. The last church I felt was "home" was one I went to about 10 times before I liked it, but it just took once after my grandfathr's death to know I needed to be there every week (and actually spent about 20 hours a week there) I hope I can figure out what it is I believe and keep going... thank you for your honesty!

    1. Hey Becki, thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment - and I'm really glad that this post made you think a little bit.

      It's always hard finding somewhere where you find that you "fit" so I totally understand that. When you say "to know I needed to be there every week (and actually spent about 20 hours a week there)" - do you mean that you felt that you had to be there every week in order to keep up with everyone else?

      I totally understand being afraid to go alone as I was the same - but then again, I've also felt the same about going other places alone so it's a very normal thing. It might just take one time of going to find a friend. If you live close to friends and family - does anyone you know also go to a church that you can tag along with?

  10. Hi Kristy,
    Just wondering what church you and Jesse belong to? I'm in Sydney and your situation is similar to mine! I didn't grow up in a religious family, but I'm definitely a Christian now, thanks to my wonderful fiancee. We have had trouble finding a church that speaks to both of us. My fiancee's church seems quite solemn and stern and we are nothing like that!
    Good luck with your marriage and everything that comes!

    1. Hi Toni,
      We go to Oatley Anglican Church, it's about 1/2 an hour out of the Sydney CBD :)

  11. I thought I was reading my very own story when I read your faith journey. Although we may have ended up in different spots at the end, I can wholeheartedly understand your first beginnings and the exploring of faith, growing out of seemingly nothing.

    Oh and I have just this morning clicked over to your blog for the first time, and I'm very inspired by your story =)
    God bless, all the very best to you and Jesse.

    1. Hi Mick, first of all - welcome to Southern In-Law - and thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment!


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