If you’ve ever struggled in your faith or wondered what a relationship with Jesus really looks like, I hope this episode encourages, equips, and challenges you in your own walk with the Lord. A lot of folks have been asking about my personal testimony now that I’ve shared bits and pieces of my story in some of the interviews, so today I’m sharing it all with you (heads up, we’re getting super real + vulnerable!)
In this episode, I share:
- The big event that had me asking a lot of hard questions about God
- Growing up Jewish & how it impacted by faith
- The importance of discipleship
- How my relationship with Pete impacted my faith walk
- Why reading the Bible matters
Find it quickly:
- 2:32 – My hope for you in sharing my testimony
- 5:59 – My Jewish / Catholic background
- 8:59 – The event that started my faith journey
- 15:07 – A pivotal moment and God’s answer to my prayer
- 22:03 – A change in my walk
- 24:18 – The 3 main things that impacted my faith journey
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So without further ado, let’s dive into the chat! You can listen to the full episode with the player below or continue scrolling for a full transcript.
Why I want to share my testimony
Okay friends, this episode is going to be a little different than the last few.
Aside from the first episode of what it means to view our work as worship, I’ve been focusing a lot on sharing other peoples’ stories, wisdom, and experience as it relates to their work and faith.
It’s one of the reasons I wanted to start this podcast in the first place, to have a space for these kinds of conversations that I was missing in my own earbuds. And honestly, I’m having way more fun than I ever really expected to.
I’ve been really honored hearing your feedback and “aha” moments from the episodes and interviews, and I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to everyone who has been listening in so far, thank you to everyone who has shared some encouragement or takeaway with or on social media, and thank you to everyone who has left a rating or review. They really do make a difference in how podcasts are shared and seen, so thank you.
And I also just wanted to say that I really do value your feedback and encouragement and that my inbox and DMs are always open to connect more. I really want these interviews and episodes to foster deeper connections and conversations around work and faith.
Today’s episode is going to be more focused on the faith than work.
A lot of folks have been asking about my testimony now that I’ve shared bits and pieces of my journey throughout the different episodes.
And since I planned to have this podcast fluctuate between some solo episodes and interviews, I figured now would be as good of a time as any to share a bit of my own story and testimony with you.
Before we start, I just wanted to say this: everyone’s story and journey looks different. I used to feel like I didn’t really have a “testimony” to share because it wasn’t this dramatic “come to Jesus” moment. I didn’t have this wild backstory that led to a radical conversion.
And so for a long time, I didn’t share my testimony. I actually created a separate, anonymous instagram account when I first became a Christian to share my faith and devotions and everything, because I felt like me sharing on my personal account would feel like a fraud. Like people wouldn’t believe me. For me in that time, it was a safe space for me to share my faith freely – but looking back, I wish I had had the courage to do so on my own profiles. To show my family and friends just how much of a difference Jesus made in my life.
But again, everyone’s journey looks different – and it took a while for me to realize that my testimony was my own, and it was still worthy of being shared – not because of anything I was doing or did, and not because of how dramatic of a conversion it was or not – it’s worthy of sharing for one reason only: to glorify God.
To share what He has done in my life – and what he can do in yours or in anyone elses – not by my own merit or decisions, but solely through his loving grace and mercy.
So as you listen to this episode and hear more about my own faith journey, my hope and prayer is that you walk away encouraged – not because of me, but because of what the Lord has done and continues to do in my life. And be reminded of what he’s done in your own life.
Like I mentioned before, I didn’t have this radical “come to Jesus” moment.
My journey has been slower – like the peeling of an onion.
And for a while I had a difficult time sharing my testimony, because I had a hard time nailing down the moment in time that I was saved.
My history with Religion
But I’m going to back up a little and start at the beginning. I was actually raised Jewish – I went to Hebrew school, had a bat mitzvah all the things. Even now I can read some Hebrew – even though I have no idea what it says or means – and can recite most of the prayers.
But it didn’t really mean all that much to me growing up. I remember learning about the Old Testament stories, or at least the first five book, which is the Torah in the Jewish religion, and just thinking of them more of folklore. Like they were good moral stories that had a purpose, but Moses obviously didn’t really part the Red Sea.
So while I knew the stories, I didn’t really believe them as history or truth.
And as soon as I was bat mitzvah’d, I stopped going to hebrew school. Growing up, I would’ve told you I believed in God – but I really didn’t have a relationship with him, nor did I really try to. I’d say some routine prayers at night or when I wanted something like a role in a school play or to pass a test, and that was about it.
I will say I felt like there was more… like I was missing something, but it was easy to stay busy and distracted and not pay much attention to what that “more” may be.
For me, religion was more of a heritage and tradition than any kind of relationship or belief. We were Jewish kind of like we’re American – a proud heritage and we celebrated holidays, but it in no way permeated our daily lives. My mom, on the other hand, is Catholic – and so I did experience a little bit of her church growing up on holidays.
But my understanding went as far as saying I was “half and half” whenever someone asked me my religion. We’d celebrate both Jewish and Catholic holidays, but again it was always more of the tradition than anything else for me.
The event that started my faith journey
Then something happened the summer after I graduated high school.
I was stage managing my sister’s show (and if you couldn’t tell by my prayer example earlier, I was a theatre geek) and while I was getting ready for the show I was updating a bunch of contacts in my phone because I had just gotten a blackberry for the first time. Throwback to blackberries, I’m not sure where they went, but I loved that thing.
Anyways, I had gotten to my friend Kristie’s number and I realized I hadn’t really seen her or talked to her in a while. She was a summer friend from the shore town we lived in, and so I made a mental note to reach out to her tomorrow to get together.
Unfortunately, the next morning I got a text that Kristie had died that night.
She was coming home from a concert, the driver had been drinking, and they hit a utility pole where she was sitting. She was minutes away from her parent’s house, and everyone else walked away from that accident. Except for Kristie.
And I just had no concept of how things like this could happen.
Of everyone I knew, Kristie was SO full of life and happiness and love. How could someone like that die so young? How was that fair?
I just didn’t have any way to comprehend how something like this happens. It stirred something in me that realized there are a lot of answers I don’t have – and I wondered I’d find them.
Fast forward a few years, and I came home from college on a random weekend. I didn’t even realize it until the day, but that Sunday should have been Kristie’s 21st birthday – and I was just a mess all over again. She wasn’t one of my closest friends, but she was just such a bright light and it brought back all of those questions I started asking years before.
That day, I wound up going to church with my mom – a habit I had gotten into when I was home sometimes, more out of support for her than anything else.
And I couldn’t tell you what was said or preached, but sitting in that church, I experienced a peace I had never known before. I didn’t have the answers to why Kristie died or why bad things happen to good people – but I felt a peace. That there was a reason, even if I didn’t quite know what it was.
And I wanted more of that peace.
So when I went back to college, I started attending services on campus. I went to Georgetown, which is a Jesuit school, so it was a mass similar to my mom’s Catholic Church.
At the time, that’s really all I knew about the Christian faith. To me, Catholicism and christianity were one in the same and I didn’t really understand that there were differences between denominations or what they were. I just wanted more of that peace, and I thought trying to learn who this Jesus guy was may help me find it.
I wound up going through a conversion class at my mom’s church and skyped in while I was away at school and studying abroad, and that next Easter Vigil I was baptized in her church.
This is when I would have originally said I became a Christian. Now for me, I would say it was the first step of me saying I wanted to know Jesus more, but I truly didn’t know him on a personal level. I had gone through the classes and checked off all of the boxes, and the next logical step was baptism. So that’s what I did. But I wasn’t asking questions and I wasn’t being discipled.
I was simply following a plan someone had set before me of “this is what you do if you want to know Jesus.” So for me, that day is still really special to me, but it was more of the start of saying, “ok I want to know Jesus more. I believe He is real, I think he’s the Messiah, and I want to know what that means for my own life.”
But nothing in my life changed all that much. Except for the fact that I read a Bible on occasion and went to mass, my life in college stayed the same. I still partied, still cursed, still went out just as I had before. And while I wasn’t some crazy party animal or anything like that, I was in no way living a Christian life. I had one foot in the world, and one foot in what I thought was Christianity.
And I actually used to feel a lot of shame about this part of my story – about how I continued to live in sin. About the lack of life change that happened.
And now I look back and see how much the Lord was working in my heart and life at that point. And in the conversations I have had with people, I know that part of my story also resonates with a lot of other people who have struggled with similar things.
A pivotal moment in Pittsburgh and God’s answer to my prayer
So let’s fast forward again, and this time I graduate from Georgetown and start working as a management consultant. It wasn’t really a dream job, but it was coveted at my school and I had worked really hard to get it. It was supposed to be the dream – high salary, great benefits, lots of travel, awesome resume builder. I figured I’d do it for a few years and make a lot of money before figuring out what I really wanted to do.
Except that the job made me absolutely miserable. I was flying to and from Pittsburgh every Monday and Thursday, living out of a suitcase, and investing so much of my time and energy into work that did nothing to fulfill me. I felt like I had worked so hard all my life, had checked all of the boxes and stayed steady on this assembly line of what “success” was supposed to look like – and yet, I felt empty.
Something was missing.
I remember having this moment in my hotel room in Pittsburgh where I just imagined Jesus lounging back on a chair, with his arm hooked over the side, just waiting for me. I felt like he had watched as I tried to find joy and fulfillment in all of these other things – in school, in achievements, in relationships, in this job – and none of it worked. There was still something missing.
And it was Him.
I didn’t know this quote at the time, but when I read it years later it brought me back to this exact moment in the hotel room. It’s by CS Lewis and it says: If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
There was a desire in my heart that nothing else could satisfy. I had tried so many other things, only to be left still feeling unfulfilled. Something was still missing.
I remember praying at that time that I just wanted to know God better. I felt a little lost in my faith and wasn’t sure how to grow or know him better.
And I really believe God answered that prayer, in part, by bringing Pete into my life.
We started dating shortly after I started my management consultant job and that moment in the hotel room. And while it wasn’t his faith that first attracted me to him, let’s be real – he was just a really nice, really good looking guy. But still, I knew there was something different about him.
I remember sitting in his small little apartment kitchen in Hoboken right after we first started dating and he asked if I wanted to read the Bible with him.
And I was suddenly super embarrassed and nervous. I had never read the Bible with anyone – and I felt like I was somehow going to mess it up. So I told him he could read the Bible and I’d listen to him.
Then he asked if I wanted to do a devotional with him – and I had to look up what in the world a devotional was.
But those little conversations were the start of me actually starting to read my Bible on my own.
Then he started asking me questions – and it made me ask myself what I really believe.
Not just what I was taught in a class or someone told me, but to think about what I believe as truth.
It spurred a lot of conversations about truth and God’s Word.
And it started spurring some changes in me.
At first it was little changes like not wanting to curse anymore.
And then it was bigger changes to not wanting to have sex until marriage.
It felt like the peeling of an onion. Like the more I read the Bible, the more God was revealing to me, and the more was changing in my heart and it my life.
I remember a distinct moment actually – it was the conversation about sex before marriage.
I had grown up thinking that while it sounded good in theory, that it just didn’t make sense practically. How were you supposed to only have sex with one person your entire life? It just didn’t seem like the logical answer to me. I had had friends who were having sex since they were 14 – which looking back feels wild and alarming to me – but regardless, it was never seen as that big of a deal. And the people I knew who said they were waiting seemed to be doing it because someone else told them so or because they were “supposed” to for some silly rule, not any real personal conviction or belief.
But that conversation with Pete – and the prayer that followed changed everything. At that time, I was really picking & choosing what I felt was true in the Bible and what I felt was outdated. Like yea sure this probably made sense way back when, but times had changed and the Bible was just a little outdated.
And I remember having this moment with God where He was like “do you believe this is actually my Word? And do you believe it’s true? Because if it is, then it’s all true.”
And it was like a kick in the gut for me. Because until that point, I had been making my own truth. I was trying to make my faith fit into what I felt was culturally relevant or appropriate, instead of letting my faith lead it and change my heart and perspective.
A change in my approach
There’s another moment I’ll mention because while I probably would have considered myself at Christian at all of these points, I never really had a moment with God that I gave my life to him. I feel like I had all of the head knowledge, and I wanted to believe, but I’m not sure that I really fully believed yet.
Around that same time, I had a night that I just sat next to my bed and bawled my eyes out over my sin. It was the first time I really felt the depth of my own depravity, and understand how utterly unworthy I was to be known and loved by God. Like I said before, I didn’t have some radical conversion story or a past that was riddled with trauma. I had a pretty normal upbringing by society standards. And while on the outside I may have looked like a “good” person or that I had it all together, I knew that I was nothing without God. That his love and grace and mercy and forgiveness was the only thing that could save me from my own fleshly desires and sin. I felt this chasm of separation of who I was on my own, and how holy God is – and I knew that apart from Jesus, I’d never be worthy or free or fulfilled or saved on my own.
It was that night that I laid it all out before him – when I was brought to my knees in an understanding of my own depravity, that I confessed all of my sins to Him and declared Jesus Lord and Savior.
It was the first time that I think I truly understand the gospel in my own heart.
And when I look back now, I think there are a few things I’d share about my own journey that really led me to that place of repentance and salvation. That helped me go from just head knowledge to a life-changing moment where I gave my heart and life to Jesus.
The 3 main things that supported my journey
The first and most important thing was reading my Bible. Actually reading God’s Word and not just what people tell you it says. The Holy Spirit did so much in my heart as he revealed truth by truth to me through God’s Word.
And if anyone listening isn’t a believer or maybe you are but don’t feel like you really know God or want to draw closer to Him, the best thing you can do besides prayer is to read the Bible.
It’s living truth – and it’s life-changing.
The second thing that really made a difference was our church, and more specifically, our small group at church. Our church in Philly really prioritized the importance of being in small groups, and I can say that personally it made such an incredible difference in my life and walk with the Lord. It was probably the first time that I was ever around people who I really enjoyed hanging out with but also really loved the Lord and walked out their faith.
Our small group kept us consistent in the Word and in conversation and it challenged me in ways I wouldn’t have experienced on my own. I got see what it was like to really walk out your faith and live what you believe, and I really feel like I was discipled for the first time in my faith journey.
And the last thing that I think made a big impact was my relationship with Pete. I feel incredibly blessed that God brought him into my life, especially when he did, because I think if we met at different times or stages it may not have worked out as it has. We were both wrestling with our faith and what it really meant to be a Christian, and the Lord really brought us together in our relationship with each other and Him. We grew together and it was such a special thing to be able to have these deep, really hard conversations with the person I was dating. It made us talk about really hard and important things before we got married, and it made us actually walk out putting God first in our lives and relationship. We both grew so much in our own faith and relationship with God at that time in our lives, and it was really special to get baptized together in a church and with a community of believers who really led us towards the Lord.
And I will say that Pete really led me in my faith in so many ways. He challenged me and encouraged me. He prayed with me and over me. And that was the first time I ever had a godly man like that in my life – and what a difference it made in our relationship. Knowing He puts God first, even before me, brings me so much peace and contentment. I know He’s leading us well because He’s being led by God. I Know He’s submitting to God, and so I can fully embrace submitting to Him as my husband and head of our family.
Which if you had talked to me in my early twenties before I was a Christian, I would’ve added that idea of “submission” as a very outdated part of the Bible. And now I see it as such a sweet image of Jesus and his church.
Anyways, all that to say, God is still doing a LOT of work in me, and I think sanctification is just a lifelong process of walking it out with God.
He’s continually working in us, speaking to us, revealing truth to us in His word. And in a lot of ways, I still feel like that onion, with God slowly but surely stripping away all of the layers of pride, of sin, of selfish ambition, of all the ways I try to do things on my own.
I’m in no means a perfect person – and I never will be.
That’s why we need Jesus. It’s why He died on the cross for us.
Because on our own, we’d never be able to free ourselves from sin. We are imperfect sinners in need of a Savior.
And Jesus is mine.
And I pray He is yours too.
More than anything, I hope this episode just encourages you to know God better in your own life. To take that next step in your faith.
If you have any questions or want prayer for anything, I’d love nothing more than to connect with you. Just shoot me a DM at @jordanjones.co on Instagram and I’d love to pray with you. And I’d love to do that for you now too before we wrap up.
Heavenly Father, I thank you for each and every person who is listening to this episode. I thank you for their hearts, for wanting to know you better. I pray they leave encouraged and empowered in their faith. I pray for a renewed hunger for your Word. That we’d wake every morning with hopeful anticipation of the time we get to spend with you in prayer and in your Word. I pray that they’d be surrounded by a community of believers – that they’d be encouraged and discipled by brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray Lord that they’d experience your peace that surpasses all understanding. That they’d give their hearts fully to you, that if there’s anything they need to confess or repent of, that you’d put it on their hearts. I pray for revival in our homes and in our communities and in our nation. I pray that you’d pour out your Spirit on us in fresh new ways, and that you’d give us the courage and boldness to speak truth with love our broken and fallen world. I pray that you’d prepare our hearts and hands for the work that you’ve called us to do, and I pray that each person listening would step fully out in obedience to run the race you’ve set before them. We know we can’t do it alone, and I praise you that we don’t have to. Lord God you tell us that your yoke is easy and the burden is light. And I just pray that anyone who is listening who may be struggling right now or feels a heavy burden, that they’d heed your words and find rest for their weary souls. We praise you God, for this time together. We pray that you are honored and glorified in all we do – may your kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus’ holy name. Amen.