This is Susanna! An 18-year-old student from Preston, in the North-West of England. She and her older sister have been serving in a small church led and ministered by her parents ever since they were old enough to do so!
Susanna became a Christian at the age of 13, after struggling with issues of anger and fear for a number of years. She had always been familiar with scripture and the church environment (growing up with parents as ministers I can imagine it’s hard not to!), but she admits, she was never personally awake to Jesus.
“I didn’t know that he was my saviour, my thing. He was very much my parent's thing.”
After attending a youth meeting where the preacher addressed all her anger and fears, as if talking specifically to her, Susanna saw the character of Jesus in a completely different light. Ever since, she has had numerous encounters with Jesus and has come to realise that she doesn’t have to hide her fears, insecurities and worries, “I could be myself with God.”
She lived a very ‘religious’ lifestyle before accepting Christ. She knew she had to go to church and pray but says she “lacked a lot of why”. Susanna couldn’t see much reason and purpose for her actions, but since accepting Jesus as her personal saviour and friend, she has experienced so much freedom and grace, knowing that she wants to pursue Jesus above all else. She has learned to strip away the fear that everyone is watching her as a pastor’s kid, and she now says, “I have learned to live for an audience of one, the audience of Jesus.”
Worship plays an integral role for Susanna, who views it as a raw expression of her feelings in whatever season she’s in. Her group of friends have also proved to be an immense help to her walk with Christ, providing encouragement, prayer and accountability whenever she needs it.
The road hasn’t always been smooth for Susanna, however. There have been a number of times in her life where she very disconnected from God and her faith was faltering.
There was a time in her life where Susanna felt as if she had a dark cloud hanging over her, she wasn’t fully present and wasn’t able to feel any emotion. She came to the conclusion that God didn’t exist, because she couldn’t feel Him. Despite still leading worship and praying for people, inside, she felt like a fraud. After attending a worship meeting with her parents, she received a prophetic word for each person in the room. One prophecy particularly stuck out to Susanna. She felt the Holy Spirit say that there was a mother in the room, who was raising children that weren’t her own. It turned out that this woman did have children, all of whom were fostered or adopted. At that moment Susanna felt as if the Holy Spirit had said to her, “I am showing you that I am real, through your own mouth”. From then on, Susanna has had no doubts about the existence of God.
“The prophetic is so personal. I couldn’t explain it away”
Another struggle Susanna has encountered is that of sexual sin. A taboo subject for so many young people, particularly young girls from a South Asian background, like Susanna.
From the ages of 12-16, Susanna was very aware that she was having impure thoughts, which she knew were wrong, but felt as if there was no escape from. She would receive prayer from pastors at countless meetings and conferences, but the thoughts kept consuming her. Susanna would always remind herself of Jesus' last words on this earth, "it is finished", so she had nothing to worry about.
“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “it is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
- John 19:30, NIV
But one day, she felt the Holy Spirit whisper to her, “yes, it is finished, but you’ve not finished it within your heart”, at which point Susanna realised that she had the power within her to take her thoughts captive every time temptation arose.
She also decided to speak to one of her best friends, after hearing a sermon about the power of confession and receiving an overwhelming conviction from the Holy Spirit. Susanna felt so much shame and fear before confessing to her friend, but the moment she did, she felt as if the enemy had no more power over her and she felt instantly released from the chains she didn’t even realise were still holding her down. Ever since she has been active and open in talking about sexual sin in the hopes to make it less of a taboo discussion in the Asian community.
After stumbling across Hosea Clothing on Instagram in 2018, Susanna felt the designs perfectly fit her style. She had always wanted clothing that wasn’t as bold as a Bible verse on a t-shirt, but something that hinted towards a scripture, and was still cool to wear. Susanna is unapologetically loud about her faith, and sees that people respect that, and so when she came across Hosea’s disciple clothing, she desperately wanted a piece!
Hosea Clothing is “bold, new and needed!”
As a final encouragement, Susanna wants you to know that it’s easy to get swept away and caught up in the super 'religious acts' of being a Christian, but just remember that Jesus is enough. Not the gifts he can give you or the blessings you’ll receive, just Jesus.
“Whatever season you’re in, whether you’ve been a Christian for 10 years or 10 minutes, Jesus has to be enough for you."