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My Living Letter

Name: Tisha Hall

Occupation: Stay-at-Home Mom, Chauffeur, Cook, Former ER nurse, lover of Jesus

Favorite verse(s): Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you, but do it with gentleness and respect.

-1 Peter 3:15-16

Why this verse is important: When thinking of what my favorite Bible verse would be, this one always comes to mind. It is a constant reminder to me. It isn’t a verse common to many, but for me it holds special meaning.

I grew up in a very faithful household. My mother raised us in the Catholic church where she has been raised by her parents. She worked hard to instill a strong faith in us, and I can’t remember a time where I didn’t believe in God. I just always have. My faith has been an anchor guiding me through life. I have had moments where I have had questions about things, but never doubted God and his work in my life. Being raised in the Catholic church was all I knew and a wonderful foundation, but my Catholic upbringing did not involve a lot of work in the Bible. We talked about our faith and attended church regularly, but as far as looking up Bible verses or knowing certain books of the Bible that just didn’t happen. I attended weekly religious education classes and was a star student but honestly couldn’t tell you much about the Bible. That is an area where I never felt confident. I remember having a friend join the Catholic church as an adult and she knew so much about our faith, the history,  the meaning and reasons we did certain things. Where had I been when they were teaching us that? I was there but it wasn’t emphasized.

As I went out on my own and tried to find my path in faith, I struggled. I attended various churches – Catholic and non – looking for what I was missing. My faith remained strong, but what I was doing with it was waning. I came upon a church early in my marriage that seemed like a perfect fit for my husband and me. This church spent more time in the Bible. I had to go out and buy a Bible. I felt lost and embarrassed that you could come across as someone with so much faith but know nothing about God’s word. I gained confidence as the years went by. I took Bible studies, taught religious education and found that I had a voice for my faith, but only with fellow believers.

Here lies why this Bible verse means so much to me. I have always had faith, but sharing that faith with non-believers is difficult for me. Maybe because I have always believed. Maybe because the Biblical quotes don’t roll off my tongue. Maybe I am afraid they will ask me something that I don’t know.

I know I should share my faith with others – especially when asked. I feel the urge to share what I feel and know, but sometimes lack the confidence to say what I really want to say. That is where this verse constantly reminds me to do so.

I have a great mix of friends – people of different faiths, races, and political views. It makes for great conversations. The problem lies when some of the non-believers start questioning my faith and asking questions. They know I attend church and am a believer. I just never know what to say in these situations. I know God wants me to be strong and fill them with my testimony. He wants me to spread His word and be an encourager, but I instantly want to retreat into my shell and change the subject. I think I am just unsure of what to say. I also struggle with my friends who say, “I believe in God but I don’t need to go to church.”  I know all the things I should say to encourage them, to show them God’s word and bring them closer to Him. I am not a very confrontational-type person so keeping the peace is easier for me. I don’t know what keeps me from saying what I really want to say. These are my friends and they should be the ones I am trying to reach more than ever. Don’t I want them to have the joy I have?

When I ran across this Bible verse a few years ago, I copied it down and put it on my bedside table. It is a reminder to me to be ready. To say something. Something is better than nothing. I also love the part of the verse that says to do it with gentleness and respect. You don’t have to preach to people or shove your religion down their throat. Be kind. Share your joy and hopefully that will be encouraging to them. I think many people question faith because they want to know more. They are searching for something but don’t know where to go. By saying nothing, we might miss a wonderful opportunity to help them find their way closer to God.

I don’t always say a lot. This verse is just the little whisper in my ear that says “Say something” “Tell them how much you love me”. I am getting better with each opportunity. It isn’t so scary anymore and I feel so happy when I do say something. I know God is proud. I am getting more comfortable with my Bible. I definitely don’t quote much of the Bible to people but I know more than when I started. That is ok. I am learning along this journey too.

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