Hello. My name is Eva. If you’re a whiteweller you may just know me as Jewel’s daughter or one of Jewel’s girls.
Alongside my sister’s, we were extremely privileged to grow up in this church. We were involved in everything. Our mum ran the East Belfast Sunday School, and for 30 years has run a food bank ministry for Whitewell. We attended church with our mum, my wee granda, uncle, auntie’s, there was a big row of us that sat down there. And for as long as I can remember the whiteweller’s have been our extended family. Because of this, Jesus really was no stranger to me from day dot. I loved Sunday school, GB, church and belting out the old Hillsong albums and the Brooklyn Tabernacle choir on every car journey. I loved Jesus. And was so blessed to be surrounded by people who loved him too.
In my early teenage years my parents separated, and during this time, despite what she had been through my mum’s faith, hope and trust in God just grew. She was not shaken in the slightest. If you know my mum, you probably didn’t know anything happened, or that our family was going through a time of trial, because when we came to church, she let nothing hinder her worship, nothing stopped us from coming to break bread. This example she was setting to me, without realising, would be my biggest encouragement in a few years.
I remember during this period in our lives, my mum, Granda, older sister and brother-in-law consistently talking about Christ. His goodness, grace, perfect timing and love. I’m ashamed to say now I couldn’t see it or feel it at that time. I’d lost all hope, I was really struggling. All I could see was people living a worldly life, and they seemed happy and content, and that’s all I craved. I had given up on God, but little did I know he had not given up on me.
From the age of 20 I stopped going to church after a couple of years of just fading further and further away from God. I attempted to remove myself from all things Jesus. But the real reason I did this was because I knew he hadn’t let me go. I felt a literal tug. But in my selfishness. I was too scared of giving up the life I had created for myself, because I didn’t want anything to go wrong again, although I was so unhappy.
At the end of 2019 I had gotten myself into a tricky situation and desperately wanted a way out. I was craving Jesus and didn’t even know it. From January to march 2020 I attended Bangor Elim with my younger sister and cousin. I just pretended that I wanted to go on a coffee date after. But after my first week, I longed for the sound of worship in that church. In fact, it could have been anywhere, I just wanted to be surrounded in it. And in those moments, I really felt God. But I didn’t want to let on, so I use to shimmy my hair in front of my face, close my eyes and absorb it all. Yet despite these feels, I was still frightened, so I kept pushing God out.
On 22nd march 2020. It was Mother’s Day. That night I went to bed and began to pray, I still don’t know why I did this, but I can’t put into words what happened or how I felt. But I began to feel this overwhelming sense of peace. All the years I spent pulling in the opposite direction, being afraid and bridging the gap with worldly things. That night I cried, and cried, and cried some more, and gave my heart back to the Lord. I couldn’t pull away any longer, I felt confident, and bold in Christ. Because that gap was no longer bridged, it was filled. I felt a literal weight lifted off my shoulders. I’ve never felt anything like that.
The very next day a national lockdown was announced. For me this shows God’s hand in everything because for 7 years prior to this I suffered from serious worrying, panic attacks etc. I believe God knew I would not have coped with a lock down in my previous mental and emotional state. His timing really is so so perfect.
From there I had to make a big decision, one I had previously been putting off and now I was so confident to do so. I knew it’d be difficult but I knew it was right. And I was not letting anything hinder my relationship with God. I remember so many people telling me at this point ‘you’ve honoured God and he’ll honour you’. To be honest, I really didn’t feel like I needed anything in return, I was just so happy. So happy to be back at church, finally involved in our church youth, making Christian friends, I was extremely content. My prayer was just that I’d trust God to bring me anything I needed in his perfect timing.
I don’t know if I’d use the word honoured, but God has blessed me in heaps and bounds. June 2021, in an extremely unexpected and completely random manner, I met my now husband, we were engaged by Christmas and married on the 2nd of August this year. Our first full day date, we just talked about Jesus for 99% of the day. And I remember Dave saying to me, something so simple and used so often. God is so good. It completely floored me and that was the first time he ever seen me gurn. God had been SO good to me, and I just know there is more blessings to come.
I just want to leave you with an extremely well-known verse.
For God so loved the world. The world. You and I.
If you are saved, here’s your reminder you are loved beyond measure by God. Rejoice in it.
If you do not know Jesus. If you are going through something. Let me just reiterate, proclaim it, speak it over you. Jesus loves you. Nothing can stand against his love.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.