Some are pretty average and some are captivating and extraordinary.
Mine falls into the “pretty average” category. But even in my simple little life extraordinary faith, hope, and love have shaped who I am today.
After saying yes to Jesus, my life, a life that I thought was pretty good, got even better. He refines and reforms us. Empowers and engages us. He gives us joy beyond circumstance, faith over fear, hope in the midst heartache and love unlimited.
If you're like me, and you never gave much thought to God, Jesus or the Bible, consider my testimony. I never thought I'd be one of those crazy Christians who never stops talking about Jesus. Yet, here I am carefully typing my story to share with you!
I hope it encourages you to ask your hard questions and also be willing to hear the answers. They may sting and they may be different than you'd expect. But I promise Jesus will grow you in ways you never could have imagined!
Here's my story...
My story begins like many others … I am an only child, born in one state, moved to another, and raised in the middle class suburbs. My parents divorced when I was 10 and my time was split between two houses. I didn't care much about college so, after high school, I started working retail full time. A couple years later, I found a roommate and struck out on my own. Eventually I went back to school, got a degree, and transitioned into the corporate world.
In August of 2007, I got married. Knowing deep down it wasn’t right, I said “yes” anyway and hoped for a fairytale ending. Instead, things quickly turned toxic which left me very broken for a long time. Two years after we were married I filed for divorce. That's when a dear friend, and single mother of two, helped me pick up the pieces and I began to understand what being a grown up was all about.
Though loving and supportive, I was raised with an unwritten rule that opinions about things like money, politics and religion were best left unsaid. So, as an adult, my understanding about God and the Bible was very limited and I viewed church-going, Bible-believing Christians as narrow-minded hypocrites.
Yet, despite my critical lens, I always felt a pull towards the Christian life. I wondered if God was real and admired the lives of people claimed to follow Him.
In 2013, I met Colin and I knew immediately something was different about him. He wasn't like the regular guys that I seemed to meet over and over again. I soon discovered that he was one of those church-going, Bible-believing Christians.
I had so many questions! I wanted to know about Jesus but I was worried my questions would offend him. And, if I'm being honest, I was embarrassed for not already knowing the answers. However, to my surprise, Colin was totally open to my questions! In fact, he encouraged me to ask more.
I've always been what I call a "science girl". Science makes sense to me. It's predictable and orderly. So, I asked Colin to prove God to me through nature. We not only began to read Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel (highly recommend!), we also poured over scripture together.
As both my understanding and curiosity grew - and after several invitations - I even decided to attend a church service with him. That first day in church, again, to my surprise, no one judged me or made me feel ashamed, embarrassed or uncomfortable. On the contrary, I actually felt welcomed! And everyone I met seemed excited that I was asking so many questions.
Soon, my preconceptions and skepticism began to fade and I started attending church with Colin regularly. One Sunday, I clearly remember looking around the sanctuary and thinking, "Wow ....These people actually believe all of this."
Contrary to what I thought of Christians, these people were not a bunch of narrow-minded ignorant sheep. They were highly intelligent people who chose to believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior. They were kind and humble people who followed Jesus by living a deeply rooted, whole-life commitment to God and His Word.
Knowledge of the Bible is one thing, but faith is entirely different. It takes an extraordinary amount of faith to whole-heartedly believe and commit to something you can't see. Yet, that's exactly what God asks us to do.
On September 21, 2013, I made the decision to believe. I chose to accept Jesus' grace. I knelt by my bed and told God I was all in! And then? I felt the Holy Spirt in me. I know that probably sounds weird but I literally, physically, felt Him indwell me. I was kind of scared for a minute to be honest! I didn't know what happened or what to expect!
But now I know that was the moment of my salvation. By His grace, through my faith, I was saved!
In that instant I knew it was all real. Everything the Bible says and everything that Christ followers believe. It is all real! I understood why the song Amazing Grace says, "I was blind but now I see". It's like a light bulb turned on …. I get it now!
On May 31,2014, Colin and I got married. Six weeks later, by a total surprise, we found out we were pregnant. Sadly, four weeks after that, we experienced a miscarriage.
Then, six years later, in January of 2021, after a long and trying rollercoaster of infertility, we experienced a second miscarriage. We both felt a tremendous sense of loss and I felt like a complete failure.
But by the grace of God, we found peace. Not to say that we didn't cry and grieve. We definitely did. And still do! We're still on that infertility rollercoaster and some days it's so so so hard!
There are no promises that a life with Christ will be perfect and easy. But I don't need easy because Jesus offers something better. Hope.
Jesus provides impossible freedom from anxiety in the midst of uncertainty and the confident expectation that everything is going to be okay. He provides peace and hope far greater than any circumstance.
Here's the truth, friends. God's love for us is unconditional, intentional, limitless, steadfast and eternal.
He loves me. He saved me! And I didn't even know I needed saving! Grace is part of love, and being a recipient of God's grace has lead to a total transformation in my life. Oh, the amazing grace I have experienced since that day I knelt by my bed and said. "Yes" to Him!
Because of God's love, my greatest desire is no longer "living my best life". It's honoring Him in how I live and act and speak. It's growing in the knowledge, wisdom, grace and freedom of living according to His word.
In a world that says the Bible is antiquated and oppressive, even hateful, it may seem strange for me to say that submitting to God and living according to His word provides freedom. But, oh friends, I am a living testimony that it does! I never feel more free than when I stand confidently in obedience to the Lord. And it's all because of His limitless love for me.
The best part about sharing all of this is telling you that God loves you with the exact same steadfast limitless love with which he loves me! No matter who you are or where you are. No matter what burdens or shame or guilt you carry. Hear this very clearly friend ... GOD LOVES YOU!
John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
If you are breathing and reading this, you are "whoever" and God loves you! We are all created to be with God. However, the Bible tells us that Adam and Eve chose to rebel against God. That rebellious nature, called sin, has been passed on through many generations to their descendants, to us. Sin is what has led to the brokenness of the world we live in.
Our sinful nature and the holy nature of God are incompatible like repelling magnets. And even our best efforts to "be a good person" are nowhere near good enough for a holy God. But the good news is that Jesus, God in the flesh, came to do what we can never do.
Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born to a virgin. Fully God and fully man, He lived a life of perfect obedience. And through his willingness to be put to death on the cross, Jesus paid the debt that we owe to God for our own disobedience and sin. Three days after his death and burial, He was resurrected from the dead proving that He is God.
Because of all of this, we are assured of reconciliation to God through Jesus forever. This is God's grace. We can't earn it, we can't buy it, we can't wish for it. If we could, it wouldn't require faith to believe! This opportunity for reconciliation is His incredible gift to us. It is also the only way to eternity with God in heaven. The world often suggests that there are many paths to one God. But that's a lie. There is only one way, and that Way is Jesus.
While confusing and complicated it's also clear and simple. All we have to do is believe. The only thing we have to do to be saved, reconciled to spend eternity in Heaven with God, is accept and believe this truth. In the Bible, Romans 10:9 says, "If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." This Gospel of Jesus Christ.