Growing up I had known of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. My mom would take my brother and me to church, while we mostly attended at Christmas and Easter there were months of regular attendance and then we would drop off. I liked church, especially when my grandmother would attend too. My favorite part was taking communion. The church we went to didn’t have rules about who could take it, or who could not and if they did I didn’t know any better. I liked knowing we could be close to God at that time and remember that He loved us so much that He died for us, even if my small brain didn’t fully grasp it, somewhere in my being the seed was planted.
My home life was not so great. My dad was an alcoholic which I never fully understood what that was until I moved out and into a household of my own. I suddenly realized that not all families were like mine and Dads didn’t really get drunk and pass out. Some Dads were reliable and came to help when you called. My Dad could function enough to work, at least that was true for my earlier years. Later, it was much worse… it was awful. Having a believing parent and a non-believing parent is tough especially when trying to figure out your own beliefs. My mom is a prayer warrior, even to this day. Recalling back, I cannot remember a time when she wasn’t sitting somewhere early in the morning with her coffee and opened Bible reading and praying. Other than praying for me and my brother, she prayed fervently for my dad. My dad, on the other hand, was not so kind us when he had been drinking. When we would go to church he would make fun, reading the bible was a joke and I can remember the sneer he would make when speaking about God. It was “other-worldly” and frightening. My brother and I both begged her to leave him. We told her that her prayers were good but they would never work, not on him… my mother never doubted and would answer us the same way every time, “This is not what God has asked me to do.” So, she stayed.
A series of events during my early high school years had me once again in church where I met God, accepted His love for me and I gave my life to Christ. I do not remember much about the process, the whole admitting, believing, accepting… but I do remember standing up and being baptized.
I wish I could stay that it all “stuck” at that point, it did not. I left open the door to God when I needed him to perform changes in my life but I did not open the Bible I had. I also left a door open to sin and the things of the flesh. I am not proud of who I was; my desires, being seen, being loved… but not in the right way – life spun out of control. I lost friends, changed groups and became someone I didn’t know.
Once I graduated I met a really good guy; I had been dating a really bad guy — or maybe we were just really bad together. Regardless, in meeting this really good guy I felt God’s nudging to begin praying. I prayed for Him to guide my steps in the relationship, I asked for His direction and confirmation that this guy was the “one”. We were engaged and married within a year. My husband was not a believer and we needed to find a place we could plug in. As a couple, we found belonging to a church wasn’t easy, we couldn’t find one that “fit” or one we agreed with. We tried our best to “be married”, to settle into this new life. I did not understand how marriage was supposed to work, the only one I really knew was broken and marred with secrets.
Before long we were fighting a battle with infertility which lasted 10-years and was almost more than we could handle; there were lots of arguments, one emotional affair, the threat of divorce and one heartbreaking “miracle baby” miscarriage… before we finally, by God’s own miraculous grace were pregnant with twins.
During the years of infertility, my pleas to God on behalf of my empty womb began to look like the women of the Bible who were barren as well. Hannah breaking rules and going straight to the temple for prayer, her earnest plea to God and devotion to give her child back to God became my hearts cry. It was that hearts cry and the birth of the twins lead me to a small Baptist Church where people loved our kids as much as we did… a church which also loved us as parents and invested in us. The kids and I became regular attendees, I began serving in Children’s Ministry and began to grow in the word as I taught 1 and 2-year old’s to love the Bible and hold it with care. All of this gave way to my husband joining us at church. The body of believers helped us understand and love each other, our kids, family, and friends more than before; they showed us why going to church is so important… And ultimately where my husband accepted Christ, was baptized as a profession of faith and I stood beside him reconfirming my decision to follow Christ.
It’s been no turning back since that point… It hasn’t been easy, we remain steadfast and firmly committed as a family to raise our children to know God, to love Him and to serve Him. They are His. As for my father, this same church that mended us hugged my dad and brought him into the fold. My Dad now knows God, loves God and to serves Him well. All those prayers my mother prayed came paid in full… Jesus heard every single one.