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"Born Again in a Biker Bar" by Charisse Tyson
A book review to encourage Sisters of Faith
I’m a big fan of testimonies.
I love hearing how Jesus changes lives, but we often do not give each other the time or the space to share stories in social situations. I feel like we’re missing out on some important inspiration and encouragement.
Everyone’s story is different, but I think every one of them has equal importance in furthering the Kingdom of God. Most testimonies I have read are written by “famous” people, and the stories always end up with some grand call to do big ministries or become public speakers or something. While those stories are inspiring, they have always left me with a sense that my story is not relevant unless something grand comes out of it. Or that I’m not a good enough Christian if I don’t do something big for God.
But then I think, who are we to determine what is “grand” according to God? What if my purpose is not “grand” according to the world but just as important?
Charisse’s story resonated with me because she is someone I would likely meet in my little town. She is someone I can relate to on a personal level, and I can identify with so much of her story. I love how her journey to Jesus did not end with some world-famous ministry but with sharing the love of Jesus with people in her bar. I love her description of the journey with Jesus as a roller coaster, because dedicating one’s life to Christ does not mean we all turn out perfect suddenly. She was brutally honest in talking about her faults and stumbles, and most inspiring was her perseverance in getting back up, asking for forgiveness, and moving forward.
The love story between her and her husband is sweet, and although fraught with difficulty, they stuck it out. That’s what marriage is. It’s working through the dark times and coming out the other side together.
Addiction was an important theme in her story too. The demons of alcohol and addiction can be hard to defeat, but she gives several examples of how the love of Jesus can be harnessed to help someone. We all know someone who has struggled with addiction, and like Johann Hari says in his Ted Talk, addiction is more a disease of broken relationships than anything else. Charisse’s story exemplifies how caring about someone and reaching out to them can make a significant difference. When I was a substance abuse therapist, I saw this time and again, including witnessing people completely transform because of Jesus.
I appreciate her message of hope and that she ends her story by noting it’s just the beginning. Accepting Jesus does not mean everything is hunky dory after that. It just means that now when things get rough, we have a firm foundation to hold onto.
Read Charisse’s testimony and be encouraged.
Check out Charisse’s Substack.
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