I filed into the row of honey colored, wooden benches, second from the front, on the left side of the small sanctuary. My heart soared. From as young as I could remember this was my happy place. It was safe. It was bigger than me and my story. And I belonged. My heart glowed when I was with the people of God and this would grow, and I would grow, and God would grow, for He longs to continually grow larger and closer in the eyes of His child.
It was there in those pews that I first began to sense the call of God on my life. It had no definition yet but I knew that I loved Him and His bride and that somehow He meant for me to be part of building His kingdom. Sometimes when I was together with these people I would look around, my heart nearly bursting with the joy of them and all their God-glory and messy brokenness.
And then there was the Word which I read over and over and I ached to know Him the way He said I could, the way others had. I longed for His words to ring true, not only in my head, but in my daily experience. And I wished to see many men, women, and children experiencing Him in beautiful, radical ways. All. The. Time.
Why wasn’t it happening? Why didn’t I see a church bursting with the fullness of God? Why didn’t I have fullness of God? Joy? Abundant life? Peace beyond human comprehension? The God who claimed the name Immanuel — God with us — wasn’t as visible in my moment by moment life as I wished Him to be. Why?
Life would happen and God was there, connecting dots, orchestrating events, speaking through others, leading me to His bosom. I married a man I am still crazy about these 17 years later. I had babies, six of them are living, some have gone to Jesus. I dreamed and gave up dreams. I moved more than 15 times. I suffered, I lost, I celebrated, I grew.
I learned that I do not change most significantly by what I believe; it is who or what I’m attached to that creates change in my life. I learned that the past is not in the past; that I carry it in my present body and it affects most of the decisions and actions that I live out every single day. I learned that evil re-enacts. He plays the same record repeatedly and if I do not go to the scene of the crime — the event (or events) in my life when he first spoke his curse against me — and find the curse and the vow I made as a consequence, and invite Jesus to show me a new narrative, then I will never be free of his voice in my life. I learned how to attach to Jesus by using simple, practical tools.
I found a new way of living life. Not a pain-free way but a way of walking through my pain in a healthy way. I am learning to hold joy and sorrow simultaneously. I am learning to lament. I am learning to listen to my body. I am learning that Jesus is the best therapist ever. I am learning that healing comes through community. I am learning that it is ok to be a beginner. I am learning to fall head over heels in love with Jesus. He is not abstract or distant but present and aching to be engaged with all parts of my story. I am a woman who wants the Truth, who longs for Life, and who seeks the Way.
Bachelor of Religion Education
Completion of Certificate in Story Sage Series – The Allender Center
Over 500 hours of mentoring women
Teacher and writer of Bible studies