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 came alive with love when I was with my people in our small country church and this love would grow, and I would grow, and my faith would grow and change and expand.
It was there in those pews that I first began to sense the call of something on my life. It had no definition yet but I knew that I loved Jesus and His bride and that somehow He meant for me to be part of building His kingdom, even though I had no idea what that meant. Sometimes when I was together with these people in my little church I would look around, my heart nearly bursting with the joy of them and all their raw glory and also their messy brokenness.
And then there was the Holy Scriptures which I read over and over and I ached to know the Divine the way He said I could, the way others had. I longed for the words of Jesus 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, simple 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 18 years later. I had babies, six of them are living, some have gone to Jesus. I dreamed and gave up dreams. I moved 20 times. I suffered, lost, celebrated and 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 the Divine to show me a new narrative, then I will never be free of the lies I carry with me. I learned how to attach to Love 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 came to teach us how to live as human. 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 the One who is head over heels in love with me. 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