When I was in the eighth grade, something happened to me at school that changed who I was as a person until my junior year of high school. I was sitting in my Literature class, and as I was waiting for class to begin, I was reading my Bible. Once class began, I set my Bible on the corner of my desk and left it there until I had a chance to read it again. A boy that sat a couple of seats back on my row had gotten up to throw something away, and on his way back by he knocked my Bible on the floor. At first, I thought it was an accident until I saw him pick up his foot and intentionally step on my Bible. He then bent over to pick it up, handed it to me, and said ‘Sorry, Jesus Freak.” Then, for about a month or two afterwards, he and his friends began to call me names that bashed my faith and my self-esteem.
Today, if you asked me to defend my faith I would do it in a heartbeat. God teaches me to not be afraid, because He is with us. I never shut God out; I just was not the outspoken Christian I should have been during the beginning of my high school career. I was active in church, and when I was around my Christian friends and family everything was okay. When you put me around people who were not Christians or people who claimed to be Christians but did not act in a manner that was pleasing to God, I would just shut down and not try to do anything about the situation at hand. This was until one day my junior year when I was working on my speech for Lads to Leaders. I came upon the passage of the first Christian Martyr (even though I have heard the passage many times, this is the first time I really analyzed it), and that is when I realized that even though Stephen knew he was about to be killed if he did not stop preaching the word, he continued anyway. Stephen was stoned to death, and if he could die doing the works of the Lord, I could stand up to my peers at school that try to bring Christians down with the only consequence of being made fun of.
From the moment I made this realization and from there on out, I decided that I could stand up for what I believed in and not be afraid of what people might think, because I did not care what people thought about me. Isaiah 41:10 states, “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous hand.” God teaches me that no matter what the situation, I have no need to be afraid or sad because He will guide me in the way I need to go. God teaches me to not be afraid, because He is always on my side.
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Rachel Garrison is a sophomore at Freed-Hardeman University majoring in Special Education. She attends Atwood church of Christ. Rachel volunteers with the Special Olympics organizations in West Tennessee. She loves blogging, going home to see her dog (and family), and binge watching Netflix instead of doing her homework.