Written by Emily Gillies
This past summer, a friend sent me the link to Love Is Moving as a place that publishes student poems and articles about God. At first I brushed it off, as I felt I was not Christian enough. But what defines a Christian? This is a question I have been thinking about for a while.
As the summer continued, I swallowed my doubts and sent in a couple of poems about God and a story I wrote for a creative writing class at university. I sent these in thinking, Why not?
One day I checked my email and saw a message confirming they were publishing my story, “Stray Child.” I was ecstatic, but again I asked myself, “Am I Christian enough?” I shook my head and prepared to go to work.
After three long hours of work, it was time for my 15-minute break. I was ready to regain my thoughts, relax, and sit in silence because I was tired of talking to people (if you work in customer service, you can relate).
There was another coworker already in the break room, so I sat down and we asked how each other’s day was going. After our two-minute conversation I sat in silence, trying to recoup while she went back to eating potato chips. Then I remembered the good news from this morning.
“Cheryl, I have some good news,” I told her. She swallowed some of her chips and gave me a questioning look. “Have you started writing our Christmas novel?”
Ever since I told her I was a writer, she was always asking me if I have started writing her a Christmas novel. I have not, due to too many things going on in my life: writing two novels, wanting to get self-published next year, working two jobs, trying to finish a science course, applying to nursing school – the list goes on.
“No. But one of my stories is getting published.”
Cheryl stopped eating and gave me her undivided attention. “That’s great. What magazine?”
My stomach sank. Usually, when I mention religion or God, people automatically look at me differently and start backing away. I swallowed and braced myself. “The magazine is called Love Is Moving. It’s a Christian magazine.”
Her eyes bulged out. That’s the expression I was waiting for. “I’m going to have to stop swearing in front of you,” she said mindlessly, brushing her fingers on her shirt. “Are you a Christian?”
The question is so simple. So easy to answer. But for me, the question is not simple nor easy. And it brings me back.
In my third year of university, I struggled with my religion. Life was not going as good as it could be, and I blamed God. Sometimes I would cry and ask, “Why God? Why are you doing this to me?” Or I would fall on my knees, begging for relief. Sometimes I was so angry with God I wouldn’t pray. At that time, I did not feel like a Christian.
Despite my tears and anger, God gave me a gift because He is full of love and forgiveness. The gift was talking to fellow Christians. After one of my English classes, I walked into my school’s small cafeteria, waiting for my next class to begin. I spotted some girls from my previous course, and they waved me over. We were not the best of friends, but we had good conversations.
They were talking about a formal. This perked my ears, as I loved getting dressed up. “Where’s this formal?” I asked interested.
“Our Christian group hosts it every year at a different Church.” I braced myself, because I wasn’t feeling very Christian. The girl saw my expression and asked, “Are you a Christian?”
At that time, I thought being a Christian meant memorizing the Bible and asking for forgiveness every day. Under that definition, I didn’t seem to be a Christian.
I blinked, coming back to the present. Sitting across from Cheryl. My definition of Christianity has evolved since that day in the cafeteria. It is no longer about memorization. No. For God loves all of his children. All those who accept, love, and share a connection with him are Christians.
“Emily?” Cheryl asks me.
I nod. “I am a Christian,” I tell her confidently.
My name is Emily Gillies, and I am a follower of God. I have just graduated from Nipissing University, North Bay with a degree in the Bachelor of Arts focusing on English studies and two minors in Business also Marketing. I am currently, a student/writer/worker. But my goal is to become a writer and a nurse. You can read my writing on Instagram and Wattpad @E.E.Gillieswriter.
With God anything is possible.