A core belief of Redeemed Girl is that revelation causes transformation. Today on the RGM blog, our friend Donna Stuart from Passion City Church shares her experience on reading through The Jesus Bible and how she’s been transformed in the process. Oh, and bonus, she’s one of our Institute teachers, so you will get a sneak peak into her heart and passions.
Rebecca: Donna, please tell our readers about yourself. We love your hashtag #thisseasonsmoments! What is your current season?
Donna: My husband, Ben, and my three kids, Hannah (5), Sparrow (4) & Owen (2) and I currently live in Atlanta, GA.
From 2005-2016 Ben was the director of Breakaway Ministries, a college Bible study at Texas A&M University. I was the director of a College Girls Conference called Masterpiece from 2010-2013. My heart was to provide a conference where girls, (17-25), could know who God is, who they are in Christ, and how they could bless Jesus, the church and the world with the gifts God had given them.
In 2011, I had my first baby and then in 2013 my next and my next in 2015. So, needless to say, my life drastically changed where #thisseasonsmoments became my new focus. In this new season, I didn’t do outside ministry as much as I did in-house discipling. I went from spending most of my time encouraging believers to spending all day with little non-believers that I still beg God to save early in life. I try doing all that I can to mirror Jesus to my three kids and soak up every single ounce of “THIS SEASON’S MOMENTS.”
After a few years of prayer, Ben and I said “yes” to Louie & Shelley Giglio of Passion City Church and the endeavor of expansion and planting a church in another city from the original plant in Atlanta. To learn the culture and take it to the next city, we moved to Atlanta for a season so that we could travel to other cities, pray and seek God on whether or not we should plant there. We felt a clear call to Washington D.C., and we’re beyond excited to settle in our nation’s capital and plant Passion City Church in 2018!
I would say my new hashtag is #onedayatatime. I try not to rush ahead to what might come or cling too hard to the past, but take each day, and what it brings as the moment I’ve been given to steward well. The emojis are to remind me to read the love letter I will forever have from my first love – Jesus. They also remind me to love others I’ve been gifted with: my husband, my kids, the church, and the world.
Rebecca: Donna, you are a mom, wife, worship leader and song writer. Can you share with our readers ways in which the Holy Spirit has shown you how worship and the creative arts can glorify the Lord?
Donna: Before leaving College Station, TX, a friend of mine said that she was specifically going to be praying for me to be open to new gifts and utilizing those to their extent. I didn’t quite know what she meant, and honestly, I was a little perturbed because I wanted to use my existing gifts that I had practice for so many years and truly wanted something to come of them. Yikes, if that didn’t show me the nature of my heart. I decided to be open and that “YES LORD” would be my answer from now on. Come to find out I have used my “new gifts” far more than my “old gifts” and it makes me appreciate them all the more in the process. The fun part is getting feedback from people who feel as if they are seen and encouraged by the use of these “new gifts”. Who knew!? 🙂
Though singing and songwriting have been my loves for so long, I had no idea that I really enjoy connecting other singers and songwriters with each other. Facilitating a song game of some sorts has been a way to use my gifts of being a connector, songwriter, and hospitality.
I also want to be healthy and make eating fun and life giving. So, doing a “diet” alongside others and trying to make the presentation something someone wants to eat because it is not only within the ingredient parameters but is beautiful too! Another Encouragement / Hospitality / Creative gift!
I have always doodled but never knew that others could benefit from these doodles in a way to want to read and learn the Bible. So that’s been something beautiful – to see how other artists, nutritionists, cooks, connectors and space-makers have felt seen and also given encouragement to do the same. Not to mention, I have gained a deeper faith as well and also feel more fulfilled as a creative!
Rebecca: In the midst of a busy schedule, how do you intentionally make time to spend with Jesus and what does your quiet time look like?
Donna: It looks different daily. There has to be grace or it will not be life-giving – – – it will be shame-driven and God does not pedal in shame, He brings life. I’ve learned that shame is the best crusher of creativity.
So with that being said, my quiet time has been during nap time or at night for me. I try to read and then draw the concept to what I read. It usually comes to about an hour. But there are times when it is a 5-minute moment or a prayer in the car with no music going while I’m heading to pick up the girls from school.
Rebecca: The Jesus Bible. What is it and why did you choose to begin this journey?
Donna: The Jesus Bible is probably the best resource Passion has ever produced. That reality hit me when we were at Passion 2017, and all those attending got one for free! My heart exploded because all these students just received the greatest gift besides their salvation – God’s written Word! The reason The Jesus Bible is so unique to other study Bibles is that it helps the reader see Jesus as the Author as much as King and Redeemer.
Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the Way the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.” This verse means reading and understanding exactly who Jesus is in the Old Testament and in the New.
If we read the Bible, with Jesus as the Author (from beginning to end), we will better understand His voice and mission in the Gospels and His empowerment in the Epistles.
Originally Passion Publishing asked me if I would Bible Journal so that they could use it for promotion. I didn’t know what that was and I thought that they just wanted to read my journal – heck no! But then they sent me pictures of what Bible Journaling was, and I thought, “Yeah! I can do that!” Funny thing was that I was actually in D.C. when they had the photo shoot, so my actual Bible was never part of the promotion. I had taken it upon myself to do more and do this little “read The Jesus Bible in 2017” thing. It was all just a catalyst for me to get into a better routine, expend some creative energy and hopefully encourage others in the process.
I thought, as a pastor’s wife, reading the greatest resource that I would ever want someone to have would be a wise decision. And for me, the way that would make it fun and fulfilling, beyond just reading, would be to draw! It also became a way to build in accountability since it is so easy to get distracted with social media. I decided I wanted to use Social Media instead to un-distract me.
Rebecca: We are excited to have you with us as a teacher for Redeemed Girl Institute 2017. What are you looking forward to the most, in the realm of teaching women how to use their creative gifts for His kingdom?
Donna: I wouldn’t classify myself as a teacher. I would say this would be one of those “say yes” moments and see what the Lord will do. I am excited however because the Lord has always done way more than I expect when He has called me outside of my comfort zone. I have a heart for women, and I feel the Lord is letting me be a part of an already incredible ministry with Marian and Redeemed Girl. I am excited to get to learn and grow under the other teachers and hopefully be of some help too in women walking with the Lord. I can only speak from my experiences, and I hope that someone will be encouraged to go deeper in their faith with Jesus.
I might be a tad excited about afternoons on the beach too!
You can follow Donna’s journey of journaling through the Jesus Bible on Instagram @Donna_Stuart