Wednesday, June 21, 2023

I've Been Thinking - Part 1

I started writing this post approximately two years ago. I've never shared anything this personal but now feels like a good time to do so. I don't know when Part 2 will be published.

I became a Christian at the age of eight. It was during our church's annual crusade. One particular night the words of Pastor Tom Roberts pricked my heart. At the end of the crusade, all who made a decision to follow Christ were baptized at a local beach. To this day, I still remember being at the beach (I assumed my parents took me) and being baptized. I remember feeling like a "new" person, if that is possible for an 8-year-old. But more than that, I remember the next day at school, a classmate noticed something "different" about me and asked. I told her I was baptized on Sunday, and that may have been the last time I verbally shared my faith for a long time.

At 8 years old, life went on. I didn't have a real understanding of what I was saved from. On top of that, life was uneventful. I grew up in a typical two-parent home with lots of siblings. My mom eventually became a SAHM, and my dad worked. My mom instilled values for living - faith, frugality, and fun; we had our share of fun times, but life was not perfect. My father was a strict disciplinarian, and my mom tried to protect us from his necessary discipline. But then, sometimes (in hindsight), I realized that raising kids and having a large family was a lot for my mom. She would talk to herself (where I heard all about her life), or she would yell at us. But my mom was the fun parent - she'd take us to the fair (i.e., carnival), to concerts, and to parties. I still remember her smile at these times. Life was uneventful, and books became my way of making life interesting.

When we moved to NY, life became more adventurous. I went from being driven to school to relying on public transportation. I vaguely recall my mom riding the buses with me once to ensure I understood the route and then doing it alone. This was a big deal for a tiny 12-year-old - sticks and bones, at most 75 pounds. I started my daily journey by walking to the corner of Church Avenue and Coney Island Avenue. There, I would take the B35 to Flatbush Avenue; then at Flatbush Avenue, take the B41 to Washington Avenue, then walk three blocks to school. I never felt afraid, made friends with the B35 bus driver so that he held the bus for me if he saw me coming, and grew in confidence navigating NYC. 

One day I wore Chinese slippers - a cloth slip-on shoe, to school in the dead of winter (this was a bad decision). On the way home, the bus took over an hour to arrive. By the time it came, my feet were frozen. When I made it home, my mom felt so bad as she massaged my feet back to warmth. Then she bought me boots. This was love - she never said "I love you" until much later, but her actions were borne out of love. Anyhow, those boots were so ugly, but I had to wear them for the rest of that winter, and anytime we had inclement weather. I was teased, but I was warm.

My faith started to mean something as I navigated middle school and my teenage years. I felt that with Christ, I could conquer most things; I need not be afraid; I could recover from dumb decisions; my parents weren't so bad - I was loved. NY will make you tough and strong, but through it all, I was not alone. 

Recognizing that I was never alone was pivotal in my approach to life, and it was all because of a decision I made at eight.


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  1. I'm so glad you decided to share this part of your story, Nylse. What a blessing to be able to look back and see that you were never alone. I'm looking forward to reading more ...

  2. What a blessing to come to Christ so young!

  3. Such a beautiful story, Nylse, I'm so glad you shared it with us today!

  4. An absolute inspiration and thanks for sharing your story Nylse. You were never alone and will never be alone while you have Christ in your corner.
    I visited you via the Linkup Party at Inspire Me Monday – Week 571
    My entries this week = 95+96. If you have not joined us at SSPS yet, come and share your posts with us and you can be our next featured post.
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  5. Interesting insight to you life. Lovely. #WowonWednesday

  6. Loved this post Nylse. Have a real sense of you as that scrap of a girl, 75 pounds, navigating New York, with the confidence of your belief. Thanks for sharing at #WowOnWednesday

  7. Nylse, I appreciate your raw transparency in sharing part of your story. Isn't it something how He touches us with something personal he wants us to talk about then presents us with the right time to do so? I always say to myself, we may never know who our words touch, and that's okay, because God does.
    I'm so happy you shared this part of your story with Sweet Tea & Friends this month.


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