The amazing difference of a change of heart
Watch Jessica talk about her salvation, and read the rest of the story ...
It was at college that I first started exploring more of Christianity and what it actually means to be a Christian.
In my sophomore year at USC, I began attending a student ministry called Fellowship of Christian Athletes. My roommate and I would attend weekly to sing worship music and listen to messages from guest speakers and pastors.
I clearly remember that I wrote John 3:16 really big on a piece of paper in my dorm and taped it on the top of my bottom bunk so I could see and read it every night. I memorized it until I knew it by heart.
A lot of people are not sure about their salvation, and they don’t feel a difference.
My husband, Jason, and I on our wedding day in 2004.
More Than Words
I asked for salvation in college but wasn’t aware of anything beyond “saying the prayer.”
Me and my now husband were dating while I was in college, but he was living in Greenville. I would come home on the weekends and attend his church periodically. But the depth of my heart — really going after God and growing in wisdom — wasn’t there.
A lot of people are not sure about their salvation, and they don’t feel a difference. They might go through a period of living without taking any measures of getting closer to God, and that’s how I was for the next decade.
I always “believed” in God, but I didn’t know God.
I was not just attending church but loving church and loving God.
A cute selfie of me and Jason.
Opening My Heart
After we got married in 2004, we would go in and out of churches. Anytime we did go, it was basically just to say we went and nothing more than going through the motions.
I decided to visit NewSpring because of my three children. I knew some family friends who started attending NewSpring and their children absolutely loved it! At this point, I was willing to find a church my children would love, even if I didn’t love it.
NewSpring Greenville is where my walk with Jesus began and my commitment to Him was made. For the first time, I was not just attending church but loving church and loving God, and growing with Him and through Him!
The first time I had ever been to NewSpring was Oct. 7, 2012. I stood up at the invitation to ask Jesus into my life. They had everybody look around and rejoice. I thought to myself, Hundreds of people are looking at me right now! But I was so proud of the step I took to begin a true commitment to God.
The Bible was not the foreign language I thought it was.
Serving in KidSpring revealed my spiritual gifts and helped inspire me to grow closer to God.
I will say that day was the day I got truly saved because of what I experienced and continued to experience from that point forward.
I didn’t want to miss a Sunday. I couldn’t wait to go to church. I wanted to learn. I was listening intensely, and I would take notes.
I wanted to know the Bible stories. I wanted to know the Bible. I would go home and re-read the Scriptures from the message. The message would stick in my mind. I would relate conversations with what I had heard. The Bible was not the foreign language I thought it was.
It was all coming naturally — the Holy Spirit working through me. “Something is happening here,” I would say to myself.
A relationship with Jesus is walking with Him, following his lead, and embracing what he has called you to do.
Volunteering with friends at a NewSpring staff conference.
Stepping Into Growth
Then I started serving. When you realize your purpose is from God, you’re inspired to another level.
First, I served with KidSpring first-time families, hosting many new families, educating them about KidSpring, and introducing them to a ministry I was extremely passionate about. And in 2015, I became a service leader for Kidspring Guest Services.
I realized through serving that one of my gifts was communicating with people, teaching and encouraging them, and my growth in Jesus has continued to expand in many ways as a result.
I've seen the hope and the future that God promises me.
Jason and I with our children, Logan, Brady and Ryder.
A Real Difference
Now I know what the difference is when you are saved. Being saved is partnering with God and taking the steps that allow you to spiritually and personally grow. When you do this, the meaning of Christianity becomes real!
My personal relationship with Jesus evolved into a passion for Him and a desire to spread my wings. I've seen the hope and the future that God promises me. With Jesus, I laugh, I cry, I lead, I follow, I grow!
Having a relationship with Jesus is more than going to church, praying, or simply just believing in God. It’s walking with Him, following His lead, and embracing what He has called you to do.