I’m Rebecca Hoverd and I have had the absolute privilege of growing up on Auckland’s North Shore for all my 23 years of life.
I grew up as the baby in my family, a little surprise coming several years after my older siblings were born. This has given me a unique experience of life and for many years now I’ve been the only one still living at home. I’ve been blessed to have lots of adventures and fun with my older siblings.
With this family makeup in mind, I am the only Christian in my family. There are a few believers across my extended family, and I was brought up with the knowledge of God and Christian values but actively engaging with faith or attending church was not part of my early life.
It brings me joy to think of the small moments where God spoke to me through others in my childhood. For those of you who know the Little Golden books series, if my memory serves me correctly, I was given one called “My Little Book About God” by an uncle who was a minister. The beautiful illustrations in this book often came to mind in my first years of attending church and the images I had in mind as I thought of God.
My teenage years and coming to Christ
How does the youngest-by-several-years in a non-Christian family come to Christ you may ask? I have one of my best friends to thank for inviting me to youth events and youth group at Windsor Park Baptist Church. I was 14 when she invited me along and I haven’t left since.
While many people who don’t grow up in a Christian household can often have a singular life-changing encounter with Jesus, I think my experience is more one of several smaller moments and choices where I deliberately chose to accept Jesus and to keep moving forwards with him.
I was told by a few people how amazing it was that I had become a Christian in a non-Christian family and how my faith truly was my own. Although I can see how that it is great, it certainly not been without its challenges. While I am grateful that my faith has always had to be my own to claim, I remember looking at friends who went to Christian schools and had gone to kids’ church growing up with a little bit of wishful thinking.
Now, I can reflect upon my journey so far with gratitude, especially for the fact that I can really connect with people who also didn’t grow up with much connection to the local church.
How I became a young writer
Growing up I always enjoyed writing; as a way to reflect, express creativity and to record the moments of my life. I love reading too and I notice that the two hobbies tend to go hand and hand.
Writing allows me to process my thoughts and after sharing blogs online, my senior pastor Grant Harris (who is a senior writer himself) and fellow young writer, Matthew Thornton, suggested I join the young writers group.
Being part of a community of young writers, with the task of writing a monthly column, has been a wonderful opportunity to grow not only as a writer, but also in my faith. Often the material I read or listen to significantly informs what I write about. I also find myself frequently writing articles which I recognise as messages to myself, filled with encouragement and reminders from God.
Where I am now
Now I find myself really come face-to-face with how much I need to push into Jesus. I am in my penultimate year of my Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Science conjoint. University is a lot of hard work and I find myself unsure as to which path my legal career will take. As I worry about the future, particularly in the midst of these challenging times, I see how much I really need to lean into Jesus.
I feel fortunate to have wonderful people, like my boyfriend of nearly three years, Tim, his family and others in my church community, who remind me of how much satisfaction and peace I can find in Jesus when I fully surrender to him fully. Life without Jesus might be stressful, and life with Jesus might be no less demanding, but I can be at peace because of him who is peace.
Where to from here
As an extrovert I have struggled with the lockdowns and extended periods at home. But it has given me the opportunity to really know Jesus more; to reflect upon how I manage through seasons of stress and what I can improve.
I plan to continue to lean into Jesus, to learn more of who he is and to live the full life he said he came to give us (John chapter 10, verse 10). It’s an ongoing story.
Rebecca Hoverd studies law and geography at The University of Auckland and loves writing as a way to communicate with God and to unpack her thoughts. She loves coffee, conversations, and would love to hear your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.