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Apr2TueHow NEON helped me step out of my comfort zone. April 2, 2019 by Rebekah Tillsley
(Above) “Christ has called us all to be his light in this world,” says Rebekah Tillsley
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Light. I have held on to this word for as long as I can remember. Growing up with parents as officers, I lived in many places, including Campbell River on beautiful Vancouver Island. I vividly remember walking along the town’s sea walk with my family and looking out to the lighthouse on Quadra Island across the strait—shedding light and directing the boats. This image is one I’ve held dear in the midst of many changes in my life.
In my second year at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., my parents were appointed to the College for Officer Training in Winnipeg. I knew I couldn’t follow them. This meant that my family would now be a province away. I knew it would be hard, but the emotions that came were even more difficult than I anticipated.
Over these years, I experienced a sense of loneliness and disappointment in others and myself and, at times, frustration with God. Throughout this challenging season, I was reminded that Christ will meet my every need according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus (see Philippians 4:19). Christ is enough for me, and in those moments of loneliness I need to turn to him to fill me and meet my every need. It’s something I’m still learning, but I’m constantly reminded of how great God truly is—even in the midst of difficulty.
So where am I now? How does the image of a lighthouse have relevance to my life today? I am married to a wonderful and supportive husband, Chris Tillsley. We live in Aurora, Ont., and serve in several ways at our home corps, The Salvation Army’s Northridge Community Church. And this past summer, my family officially returned to living in the same province again.
I love using music as an avenue to help young people connect with their SaviourIn addition, I serve as a member of NEON, a worship band based out of territorial headquarters. Throughout my time as a member, this idea of being light has challenged me—especially considering the group’s name.
Growing up in The Salvation Army, I have been blessed to listen to and befriend so many wonderful musicians. It’s easy to compare yourself, or assume that “someone else can do a better job than me.” In this sense, joining NEON has stretched me. I believe God calls us to leave our comfort zones, and being part of NEON has done just that. God has used it to challenge me to lead, even when I don’t always feel equipped, and to further trust him in spite of my insecurities. For this I am thankful.
When I reflect back on the past few years of being in this group, a highlight for me is the youth retreats we’ve assisted across the territory. I love using music as an avenue to help young people connect with their Saviour, and to help encourage them to be a light in their communities, as it says in Matthew 5:14- 16: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
As I reflect once again on the image of the lighthouse from my childhood years, I can’t help but be reminded of the cross of Christ. Not only has he been my source of light in turbulent seasons of life, but he continually equips me to be a source of light for the world around me. The beautiful reminder is that Christ has called us all to be his light in this world, no matter our capacity, and no matter our story. He is our source. He is our light.