My Testimony

I grew up going to church. My dad never went (up until a few years ago), he would always say his church was at home, but really it consisted of him and a friend just shooting the breeze while the rest of us went. My mom taught Sunday school; in fact she was for many years my teacher. We went to a small church; which is the same church I go to now. I grew up going to Bible School every year, Pioneer Club, and in High School I went to Youth Group. I also went to Camp Barakel for many years even attending some retreats in High School It was at Barakel, when I was 9, that I accepted Jesus as my Savior. I was surrounded by friends who were Christians all the way to 9th grade. It was about 9th grade that I began to feel alienated from God. I don’t know exactly how things changed and how I began to go the other direction. There were probably many factors.

For one, I didn’t have good self esteem. I remember feeling lost, not sure where I belonged or who I really was. I didn’t really have any direction in my life. I began to find other Christians extremely hypocritical. I started to pull myself away and sort of isolate myself. It was a dark and depressing time.

As the years went on I continued to drift. I became more and more distant from my Christian friends, the church, and even my family. My senior year of High School I went to my first “Party” where I was introduced to Peppermint Schnapps! When I turned 18 I bought my first pack of cigarettes. I was of the mind set if you told me I shouldn’t or I couldn’t then I would show you I would. I am quite the contrary person. I spent more and more time away from home, I had quit going to church all together, and all of my free time was spent cruising town {Mio} and partying. When I was 19 I got an MIP, I felt bad and hated having to tell my parents, but the guilt was short lived. Needless to say I didn’t learn my lesson, because it was only a matter of weeks and I would be in the woods hiding from the cops. I wish I could say that was all I did that was more than questionable, but it wouldn’t be true. I have to say knowing what I know now; God was looking out for me even then, when I didn’t want anything to do with Him.

I met my husband around this time as well. He was my best friend’s brother no less! We hung out with the same friends and were interested in the same things so it just kind of happened. We were together for about two years and it was time for me to finish up my schooling. I had just got my Associates in Fine Art at Kirtland and wanted to get my Bachelors Degree so that meant a move to Grand Rapids.

With or without Nick I was going, but he said he would go too. So June of 2003 we were moving into our Apartment. Even though God was not a big part of my life at that moment I felt this nagging in the back of my mind that we should get married since we were living together. Finally somehow a little guilt got to me and we started talking about marriage. Nick, as old fashioned as he is… ; ) called my dad to get his approval. Needless to say in the Target parking lot after I got out of work not long after, Nick proposed to me. He is so a romantic! ; )

So, we set a date for the following year and finally “tied the knot.”  I have to say at this point we weren’t really partying anymore. Since we were of age we could just go to the bar, so we were still living for ourselves. We bought our first house soon after we married. We waited until after I graduated Kendall to have Wyatt. We certainly had our ups and downs as a couple, I would even say more than most. It wasn’t easy and so often I felt overwhelmed. I was working full time and going to school full time, and my marriage was a roller coaster. Even though I knew I was struggling, I was determined to do it myself, to be the one in control.

After getting pregnant with Wyatt, I began to feel a change in me. I knew only a Creator God could be behind such a beautifully intricate masterful design of such a little human being! I began to think about where my life was and what kind of life I wanted for our son. Of course it should go without saying that I wanted the best for him. I knew all the choices and mistakes I had made over the years and I didn’t want Wyatt to go the same route. Because of what I wanted for Wyatt I knew that I had to change myself. I realized that I had been extremely selfish, careless, and irresponsible not to mention foolish and looking back pretty stupid!

It had been more of a gradual change until we moved back up here we started going back to church. I don’t know if it was because I was older or just ready to hear the message, but it just clicked for me. I had heard the same information, scriptures, and message before for years, but it was like I was hearing it for the first time. I realized that everything I had learned previously was almost superficial, and lacked meaning to me. I was going through the motions because it was what I was “supposed” to do, not because I wanted to. All of a sudden my eyes where opened and so was my heart! There is so much more than saying a little prayer. I realized it was a relationship with God that I was lacking. Without the relationship there is no commitment.

There wasn’t that memorable moment that marks the occasion that I decided to truly live my life differently. All I know is that I have decided. I can’t imagine life any other way, and regret I didn’t realize all that God had to offer me sooner. Everything has changed and I can definitely say it is for the better. It is truly freeing to know that I can trust God to get me through life no matter what is going on. That has been a life saver and a marriage saver!

Over the last few years we have been bombarded with the unexpected, and not in a good way. If it wasn’t for our faith and reliance on God I don’t know how we could have gotten through even to today! It is truly amazing to me how after every “unexpected” God provides! His timing has always been perfect. If money gets tight, we get a check in the mail for excess escrow we have paid, our roof springs a leak, and there is a friend who happens to have just the right amount of extra material to patch us up! Over and over we have witnessed God at work in our life, carrying us through and lifting us up.

As I look back over the years my husband and I have been together it amazes me that even though I decided to take control of my life and turned away from God, he still had a plan for me. Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." I think of my husband, whom I met during the time I pushed God out of my life. We made many mistakes, did things the wrong way, even the hard way sometimes. We got married, although we both believed in God, we were not followers. After I got pregnant with our first, I realized the error of my ways. I recommitted my life to the Lord and at that point on we were "unequally yoked." That made things very difficult. But guess what?! Through all the hard times, all the disagreements, and through all the trials our marriage and relationship faced, God was there, working it all for the good. Happy to say we are no longer "unequally yoked!" Almost four years ago, my husband recommitted his life to the Lord and things have certainly changed! Next year we will celebrate 10 years of marriage. The years that we have had God at the center have been by far the best! 

Jesus said to take up your cross and follow him. {Matthew 16:24} He never said becoming a Christian would mean an easy life. I have learned a lot about myself over the last few years and Jesus has taught me everything that I have learned. All that we have gone through and still go through has taught me that I can’t do it myself. I have to rely God, he is the One in control, He is the One with the plan. Jeremiah 49:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I have learned that no matter what we go through, even though we struggle, if we trust God we will be okay. It is such a comfort not having to worry, to not get overwhelmed or stressed out. We don’t have much money, but our needs are always met. We have gone through so much and yet we have never been closer as a family. I am happier now than I ever was. I am so grateful that we both have found a new life in Christ.

My hope is that anyone who reads this will make a decision if you haven’t already, to make Jesus Lord of your life and follow Him. Thank you for allowing me to share with my testimony.