• Sheila Harkins

Teen Tuesday #9 (Joy)

I had not had a conversation with Joy before I interviewed her near the end of her eighth grade year. I remember asking her about her relationship with God and she shared how she had a hard time trusting Him because she had so many fears. Throughout the last few years, I have had the privilege of watching Joy turn from a fear-filled teen into a faith-filled young lady. Her responses below will give you a glimpse of her faith--it made me cry reading it, and I believe it will bless you, as well!

Please introduce yourself...

Hi Everyone! My name is Joy Nicholson!

This year I am a Sophomore in college at Liberty University, and I am 19 years old. I was born in Thailand and was raised there till I graduated from high school. That being said, I am an American and while I lived in Thailand about every two years my family and I would go to the U.S. and visit family for a short time. I grew up as a Missionary Kid (MK), Pastor’s Kid (PK), Teacher’s Kid (TK), and I guess you could say a Third Culture Kid (TCK) as well! I think that growing up in this kind of environment allowed me to grow in so many more ways than I could’ve imagined.

Can you tell us some fun and/or random facts about you?

1. I have 3 younger siblings

2. I am studying Graphic Design

3. I love lettering!

4. I enjoy playing the ukulele

5. I have a Youtube channel!

Please share some of your spiritual journey with us.

Being raised in Christian home, definitely encouraged me to make a personal decision to follow Christ. My faith wasn’t really my own until maybe about 6th or 7th grade when God became not only my Heavenly Father but my friend. I struggled deeply with fear of sickness when I was young. I remember nights when I would try to go to sleep but I was shaking with fear. My parents played a huge role in how I came to know the Lord, because each night they prayed with me and encouraged me to pray. When I prayed to the Lord reclaiming His truth and promises I found peace each time! That began my journey with the Lord.

As I grew up, Satan continued to use fear in my life, through fear of not measuring up, fear of not doing my best, fear of not being enough. I prayed for friendships and I prayed against the fears. God was faithful (LIKE ALWAYS!) and provided friends in middle school and high school that I am still friends with to this day! During High school I learned a lot about friendships and what it means to love people even if you don’t feel like loving them. One of my best friends and I went through a rough patch where there was a ton of miscommunication and hurt. I didn’t think my best friend and I would grow back into friendship, but after much prayer and talking things out with our mentor, the Lord completely restored the friendship. This friendship grew again only because the both of us saw our wrong and realized that when we didn’t feel like loving friends who had hurt us, the Lord gives us His unfailing love that we can draw from which allows us to see others how He does (with forgiveness and grace).

I learned so much more in High School and you will too, but one of the most important things I learned was to spend time each morning with God. I noticed a shift in my attitude and when I spent time in the morning aligning my heart with God’s. To be honest I am still learning how to do that!

What has God been teaching you lately?

This summer, to my surprise, I found out I have a chronic kidney disease. This was not a part of my plan. It’s made a lot of things harder. But. The crazy thing is, the little girl that was restless with fear so long ago grew up and has claimed God’s truth in her heart, so when she found out she had this kidney disease, she was at peace. God had prepared me over the years for this past summer. I have had to boldly remind myself that though science and doctors say my kidney function is non-recoverable, God is the ultimate HEALER and can even bring people back from the dead! It hasn’t been easy and I wouldn’t have chosen this path, but it has shown me that God goes before me, behind me, and beside me at all times!

What words of wisdom would you like to leave for other teens reading this?

For all the teens out there. Take time to get to know God. Ask Him to show you who He is and how that shows you who you are. Read the Bible, because the more you know the word of God the more you know the voice of God. Prayer is one of the most powerful things you can do! Jesus used it to raise people from the dead, to heal people of disease, and so much more! Just talk to the Lord about what’s on your heart.

Thanks for reading! Praying that as you have read this, God has taught you something through my story! Lots of love!

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