Name: Maureen Jefferson
Occupation: Advertising Account Executive
Favorite verse: “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.” – John 15:1-4 (NLT)
Why this verse is important to Maureen:
I grew up believing in God and following all the rituals of a “good” Christian, which eventually became exhausting. I was thankful for the freedom to slack on my rituals once I entered college, but I never stopped believing. I just stopped acting like I believed. So much so, that when I decided to marry a self-proclaimed agnostic, I knowingly shelved my belief in God – only to be secretly visited in emergencies.
I hadn’t exactly had a relationship with God; more of a cerebral understanding that He existed, which seemed fine. It wasn’t until my daughter was born, quickly followed by the death of my mother-in-law, that I wanted God’s love and comfort I’d only heard about. I wasn’t sure what it felt like or how to get it, and I certainly wasn’t in a life open to it.
I didn’t know the intention of this Bible verse, let alone that it existed, until a friend shared it with me at a time I needed it most. I’d been focusing on being the best version of myself during my divorce, but it was at that moment I realized it had a purpose. I was free to experience God’s love and share it with my children. I wasn’t forgotten and He knew what was in my heart the whole time.
In retrospect, I can see the light inside me was dying and I was losing a bit of myself through the years. I was no longer the child of God I was intended to be and my children were not going to be the fruit I was meant to bear. It’s not fair to those around you to be anything but your true self, even if that means losing what feels like the most important people in your life. I’m not afraid to be me anymore, someone in a heartfelt relationship with God, and I have some of the most amazing people in my life today. Funny how that works!
I’m pretty sure my friend doesn’t realize how much she helped me open the door to my relationship with God. She wasn’t afraid to let her light shine that day in the coffee shop, and the darkness of that time in my life cowered away. When you let your light shine, everything around you is brighter and darkness has little place to hide. It’s a beautiful thing watching my kiddos build their own relationship with Jesus and I’m thankful to God for giving me a role in that.