So we all have a story every single on of us in this room, and the neat thing is that none of our stories are the same, they are similar but NOT the same. I've always thought it is so cool how the Lord knows our stories ever before us, and NO ONE else on this earth shares the same story that I do. So I am going to share MY story with you.
As a little girl I grew up in a home with an addict for a father, imagine all of the things you can be addicted too that can mess up your life and my father dabbled there, sex, drugs, alcohol, gambling, you name it. I remember the times my father would come home from a binge and beat my mother, brothers and I until we were black and blue, I remember the times that I looked at my wrong or even asked a question, he would send me flying across the room, I remember the awful ER trips from broken bones and busted ear drums, I remember being held down on a bed as my fathers brother sexually abused me. This might not be the story you expected to hear from me, but it's mine.
My parents were Sunday Christians, meaning that if my dad wasn't hung over my mom would dress us in our Sunday best and off we went to church, when I was seven all of my friends were getting "saved" at my private Christian school and so I thought that was the right thing to do, so I got "saved" too. I went home beaming that day, I was saved, so my life was going to be perfect. WRONG, my home was still a mess, my father was still an addict, my mother, brothers and I were were still getting abused.
As time went on and I got older, I began to question God, God if YOU are so great and my life is supposed to be so perfect, then why isn't my family perfect, why do I keep getting hurt by my dad, why are my parents getting divorced and why is my mother shipping us off to be raised by my grandparents? About the age of 13 I decided I didn't want to be a Christian anymore, I stopped asking to go to church on Sundays, stopped reading my bible and didn't want to even acknowledge that He existed.
I spent the next few years of my life going through the motions, something was missing from my life and I knew but I didn't care. I had a few Christian friends who would invited me to church or youth group activities but I was mad at God and didn't want anything to do with Him. Fast forward a few years, I went off to college still wandering around, lost, missing something. The dorm I lived in was flooded with girls who loved Jesus, girls who would constantly tell me they were praying for me and invite me to church. I finally "caved" one day and went to church with them, but I felt so out of place, I didn't fit in I wasn't ready. I graduated from my two year school and off I went to University, it was a place where I thought all my trouble were going to go away but not in the way that they should. I ended up drunk every night, I stopped going to class and I accepted all the male attention I could get, because I lacked it from my father
Finally in 2001 I woke up, I moved away from Kansas, came to MD and decided it was time to figure out my life, I decided I was ready to give church and God another chance, I found the first church I could and submerged myself, I was being discipled by the pastor's wife, I loved her, I loved the attention and I loved learning about God, however I woke up one day and realized that I didn't fit in, in that church and I set off for the perfect place again. That's when I met my friend Gadget, I will never forget the day I walked in to Grace, he met me at the early service a few days before Christmas and I never looked back. Through him I met amazing friends who became my Christian Family, I began to get involved in children's ministry, began to see that my life had purpose, got even more excited about Jesus and felt truly loved for the first time in a long time.
At this point in my life I was beginning to believe again, and was reguarly attending church, but I hadn't really begun living for the Lord. It wasn't until I began serving in Light Company (a youth ministry) that I really gave it all to the Lord and decided that I needed to not just walk the Christian walk but, I needed to live it. So on a retreat when the kids were praying that prayer of salvation, I found myself praying it as well. I will never forget how my life changed...I began serving with a servants heart, not because I thought it was the “cool” thing to do, I began to pray and ask God to guide me, to take over my life and heart and I began to seek out opportunities to share my testimony, spread God's love and tell people all about how He was life changing.
I went on missions trips and found my calling to work in the inner city. I spent four years praying for God to send me an opportunity to serve in the inner city. Through that time I met Crystal, who’s been my cheerleader, my sister in Christ and my best friend, the one who prayed for this with me, cried with me and finally rejoiced with me when we met Pastor Mike and Company. A year and a half ago, we found
As I look back on my life, I never thought I would be here, proclaiming publicly my love for Jesus, living my life for Him and serving as a missionary. I know without Him and my relationship with Him I would not be where I am today. And I know that as I continue to walk down the path of life, I am NEVER going at it alone.
Please pray for a wheelchair for Anthony, I am attempting to find one for him tomorrow!
Pray for opportunities this week to Praise Him with others, to share my story and to love on others!
Pray that if my story touched one of my girls today, or struck something in her, that she would reach out and I could help her through the pain.