Tell your problems – I’ve a BIG GOD!
My name is Deepa Stephenson… now Deepa Mariadas. I was 16 years old when I had my first Jesus encounter during a Jesus Youth retreat. I had all the regular teenage problems till then which included insecurity, the hunt for identity, anxieties, fear to face people, etc. To top all this I was asthmatic and had been diagnosed as having epilepsy by the time I was in my Class 9. The doctors instructed that I must take medication throughout my life or else there would be a lapse. After a few hospital visits and test results, all my family members became very depressed. We did pray a lot during that time... I did so for the first time in my life and I decided that I have to know the Lord more deeply in case something happens to me.
That’s when my uncle who is a priest gave me the brochure of a JY retreat. That retreat was indeed life changing for me. I asked for healing and I received it. Not only was I cured of epilepsy but every other sickness that I had and I had the most amazing experience of my life during the infilling of the Holy Spirit. It was like God's love was flowing through my heart and body.
After this I have enjoyed every bit of work that I have done for the Kingdom of God with His people. Going for mission became the thrilling aspect of my life and the fellowship of prayer was really encouraging! The most touching part in Jesus Youth is how young people pray for each other that they may grow in holiness…
I took up Fulltimership as I really wanted to give my all to the Lord during that year. I wanted to stay in one place as a missionary. But God took the three of us, Nimmy, Vinod and myself and made us into a team that travelled to many places in India. I came across so many different cultures, faces... all loved by God, made in His image and likeness. During that one year I dedicated to the Lord, He trained me in such a way that He prepared me for my life ahead. I learnt how to adjust to all types of situations, live anywhere that He takes me and to eat anything :).
After my commitment period, MSW and a year's job in Gujarat, I volunteered for a year with Santvana Delhi where I stayed with a few JY families like Alexy-Shiny, Santosh-Saly and Naveen-Jiny and a lot of other singles. I got to see the joys of a pro-life family there. During that time, I started praying for my life partner and was hoping he would be one who worked for the Lord. I also wanted him to know my past before he married me.
It was when I came for the South Asia Conference that the proposal was brought. Again the Lord gave me more than I wished for.
My husband Siby was a part of the Charismatic movement in Bahrain. The one thing which touched me was that not only did he accept me after listening to my whole story but also the fact that his family refused to take any dowry saying that they just wanted a prayerful girl for their family.
My husband is a very committed Jesus Youth now and a very prayerful man which has made it so easy to remain constant in prayer even after marriage. Now we have a baby girl and as a family we get to spend a lot of time for His Kingdom.
The one thing that we decided as a family was to give our full tithe for the Kingdom of God and to praise the Lord in all situations. You won't ever realise how much that has changed our life. Earlier, I was not getting a job as I had a gap of almost 2 years. That time we decided that even if we have only 1000 rupees in hand for the month, we will give our tithe. Three days later I got a job… one that I had not even applied for. Malachi 3:10 says: Bring the full tithe into the store house so that there may be food in my house… see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing. The first few times were a little difficult but then we found our life changing considerably. The Lord helped us to manage our household without any troubles.
Now for each and every thing that happens in my life, I am able to see His plan at work. Even when I come across obstacles, I remember Romans 8:28 - Everything works together for good for those who love God and for those who are called according to His purpose. When you are willing to surrender your life trustingly into His Mighty Hands, you will have no dearth of little miracles in your life. I can only praise God that Jesus Youth happened in my life and that He made it in His plan that my family be a part of it. It’s a joy to be in this movement and to be a part of a joyful fellowship where every Christian is a unique victorious Christian.