A Fresh Perspective

I’ve spent the vast majority of my life in church. My parents were very active in the local church, holding every position possible and serving in just about every capacity. Heck, they even helped with the construction of the building in some form or fashion. When I say, “I grew up in church”, what I mean is that I spent so much time there, not just on Sundays, that I physically grew up in that building.

I wouldn’t change it. It was a great foundation for me. At a very young age I knew Jesus loved me and every song and Bible story that told me so.

Even so, I married a heathen.

I made it clear before we were wed that church was a priority, that I would continue to go to church, and that our children would be raised in church. He already knew that and even agreed he would come with me because it was important to me. And he did. We went to church together every Sunday. Every Sunday that it was convenient for us to do so and actually felt like it.

Fast forward about five years after our vows. We had a one-year-old and had moved to a new town, but one in which we already had friends who invited us to come to church with them. Todd was keen to “try out” this new church because that would make him eligible to be on the men’s softball team as a prospective member.

Why, I never! One did not go to church so they could play softball! But go we did, and play he did, and we fell in love with this little church in the middle of Arkansas. We found ourselves there every Sunday morning, every Sunday evening and every Wednesday night. We built beautiful relationships and Todd began to examine what he thought he knew. He met with the preacher once a week and asked all his questions. Gab showed him where the answers were in the Bible, which created more questions, and on they went.

After a while, when we were in our late 20’s, Todd became a Christian. I was thrilled, but I was also pretty smug about the fact that I had all this Bible knowledge. Between the two of us I was the expert on Christianity. Except that I started seeing discipleship through his eyes, this newbie. He came into his faith with very little baggage and no preconceived notions.

His perspective was fresh and it made me realize how stale mine was.

Our children came to love God with such a beautiful innocence and His presence was nearly palpable. As their parent it was my responsibility to teach them about God, but often I was the student and they were the unwitting teacher. They had a pure, unadulterated understanding of God, bringing a freshness and clarity to their childlike view that oftentimes ends up murky as we become adults. No wonder Jesus said the kingdom of heaven belongs to those like little children (Matthew 19:14).

Funny enough, I recently had a conversation with my now-grown son. He grew up in the church, much as I did, and grasped onto faith at a very young age. But it wasn’t until, as an adult, he noticed the fire and fervor of new Christians that he had a reawakening, if you will.

As mature Christians we are supposed to mentor those who are coming behind. But we should never let ourselves be fooled into thinking there’s nothing we can learn from those new to the faith. I have a tendency to get caught up in the “academics” of Christianity. I love studying the Bible and the customs of the day and how the stories of the Old Testament are intertwined and how they relate to the New Testament, and so on and so on and so forth. But Christianity is a relationship, not a scholarly pursuit. And sometimes it takes someone with a pure devotion, who hasn’t been mired down by all the learning, to give me a fresh perspective and help me focus on what really matters. My relationship with Christ.


Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.
Jennifer Mobley Thompson
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  1. Rebecca Preston on April 28, 2016 at 7:24 AM

    It’s so true. I love being with those new to the faith, or even those who are seeing their faith with “fresh” eyes. There is a new awareness, excitement, and honesty within them that can bring tears to my eyes. They are a faith motivator, because I have had the same experience as you and know of what you are speaking! Thanks Jennifer!

    • Jen on April 28, 2016 at 3:38 PM

      “They are a faith motivator.” YES! Exactly.

  2. Diane on April 28, 2016 at 5:16 PM

    ‘But we should never let ourselves be fooled into thinking there’s nothing we can learn from those new to the faith.’ I have always learned so much from the younger believers in my life. I, like you Jen, get comfortable with the years I’ve been labeled a believer, rather than in the depth of my passion and love for Jesus. Dear God, humble me to not be such a know-it-all senior!!

    • Jen on April 29, 2016 at 12:08 PM

      Yes! I don’t want to be a know it all. But sometimes I act like I am.

  3. Diane Tarantini on April 28, 2016 at 7:50 PM

    This is a great story, Jen. I loved hearing about your journey. I am in the rotation to teach the little kids in Sunday School and they often blow me away either with their Bible knowledge or their fresh perspective.
    Let me tell you a funny story. When our oldest was in grade school or middle school, we used to drive by an “adult entertainment” store on our way to her piano lesson. I would always pray, “Lord, please forge a weapon against that business that will prevail.” One day my daughter said, “I think you should pray instead that Jesus’s kindness would lead them to repentence.” Well, shut my mouth!

    • Jen on April 29, 2016 at 12:09 PM

      Ha! Kids have the craziest ability to put us in our place, don’t they?

    • Gretchen on April 29, 2016 at 1:16 PM

      WHAT?!!!! ?

  4. Gretchen on April 29, 2016 at 1:20 PM

    This is such an encouragement to me on so many levels. Thank you.

    I have often said that my two beloved unbelievers keep me honest in my faith–can’t get too churchy or too pat with Christianese. They’re too smart for that, & also? I think that would cheapen the richness of our relationship/s. So…I try to keep it real, try to listen well, & pray that His kindness, through me or any other believer, would lead them to repentance. ❤️❤️❤️

    • Jen on April 29, 2016 at 6:04 PM

      I’m really glad it spoke to you, Gretchen. And it’s true that we are often kept in check by newbies and non-believers! Good points!

  5. Tara on May 4, 2016 at 11:20 AM

    It’s been so beautiful to watch my husband (who was raised in the Methodist church but was definitely a skeptic) and young adult daughter grow in their relationships with Jesus.
    It reminds me of this Steven Curtis Chapman song- Glorious Unfolding.
    Now our son, he’s 17 and a math-science brain type, always questioning. Very logical.
    I have to trust that we’re making an impact on him, by living out our faith, and to take comfort in the foundation we’ve given him.
    In the meantime being willing to let him go to learn and explore what he believes. And as Gretchen said- without being too churchy. Just lead him by loving him, loving God and loving others.

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