My story starts off like most stories I've heard. I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church. I attended Sunday school and "Big Church" as we called it. My great uncle and great aunt had a lot to do with that. They would pick me and all the neighboring kids up and haul us to church. Granted, the church was within walking distance from my parents' house. It was a small church that only held maybe 50 people. I was little and just enjoyed the stories and activities. I honestly don't remember much about that church. I mainly remember the phone calls from my great aunt that said she was on her way to pick us up for Sunday school. We would be rushing to be ready for when she arrived, which was only 5 minutes after she called. My brothers and I could never be on time. lol
They toted us around every Sunday. There were about 8-10 kids that they ministered to by ushering us to church. Looking back now, I know they were one of the greatest influences in my faith journey. After a time, God changed our plans. He decided that we were needed at a different church. My great uncle and great aunt still shuttled us to church but now it was a longer drive. They didn't mind. They were doing God's work. Our new church was bigger and had more kids my age. I made some really amazing friends and got very involved in their Wednesday night program. It was a blessing in disguise. One girl I met there, Amanda, became a very close friend. We went through their Wednesday night program together. She is the one who walked with me down the aisle when I gave my heart to God. I couldn't walk alone so I asked her to walk with me. That is a memory I will never forget. I was around 13, I think. It's been a while so I'm not 100% sure on my age but I remember walking down that aisle like it was yesterday.
Then came high school. I stayed in church so I never really strayed that far from God. Looking back now, I just wanted what every high school girl wants... to be cool and liked by everyone. Yet I was a "good girl." But I did stray from God. Then, one summer, I attended a church camp called Wild Week. It was uplifting! It brought me closer to God than I had ever been. One night while at camp, this guy was giving a speech about salvation. The entire time he was talking, I was thinking "Am I really saved?" I knew my salvation couldn't be taken from me but I was worried that I hadn't given God my all the first time. So I decided to re-dedicate my life to Him. However, I went back to school and started straying again. Graduation came and went but I wasn't phased. I had my whole life planned out. School, husband, kids... The whole shebang! God had different plans.
A month, almost to the day, I met my husband. I knew he was different from all my other boyfriends. I felt safe and comfortable with him. He didn't push like other boys. He called me beautiful and let me drive his truck! It was so nice to be spoiled! Then he joined the Marine Corp. We got married and moved to San Diego. He was constantly gone on mini deployments and I didn't know anybody. I lost my faith and started slipping into a depression. God sent some friends my way and He allowed Jeff to stay home more. That helped a little but I was still so far away from Him. We didn't attend church. We didn't have any Godly friends. Essentially we did what we wanted to. Then I decided I wanted a baby. God wasn't ready for that part of our life yet so we had to endure some difficult times. Medical diagnosis and therapy made for a long road. Yet on Friday, February 13, two pinks lines changed our lives. We told everyone that weekend. It was a miracle!!!
Jeff deployed the month and was gone almost the entire pregnancy. It was difficult but God knew that was exactly what I needed. I was surrounded by my family and I started going to church again. I remembered what it was like to be close to Him. I moved back to San Diego a month before Jeff returned. By God's grace, I found us a townhouse to live in and had everything moved in by the time he got home. Shortly after Callee was born, I knew we needed to find a church. We tried several different ones but couldn't find one that felt like home. Easter Sunday arrived and we decided to try a church that our friends were attending. As we were walking out the door, our friends called and said they couldn't make it. We didn't want to go without them so we decided to just stay home. Then our neighbor came over and invited us to their church. As soon as we walked in, it felt like home. Rancho del Ray (www.ranchodelreychurch.org) was exactly where God was leading us. It saved our marriage, made me feel whole again, and introduced us to an amazing group of people that we still talk to today! I was able to connect with a group of women that helped me as a first time mom. I knew God saved me and I felt closer to Him than I had in a long time! Then our lives changed again.
Jeff got out of the Marine Corp and we began searching for a new place to call home. We decided Austin was similar to San Diego so we headed to central Texas. After researching schools for Jeff and Callee, we landed in Round Rock, a little north of Austin. God knew His plans for us and within a month, we were at our next church home, The Fellowship Round Rock (www.thefellowshiprr.org). I knew this was home the moment worship started. I felt God moving all around me and for once, I felt calm and steady. Our time at The Fellowship RR is something that I will never forget. I met some amazing people that I will forever be grateful for. God placed me in exactly the right places at the right times so I could grow closer to Him. My faith grew and grew in a way that I could never have imagined. I remind myself everyday that God will do more than I could ever image and I've seen Him accomplished that. My favorite verse is:
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us." Ephesians 3:20
I learned this verse in a Bible study at The Fellowship RR. Priscilla Shirer taught about God going beyond what we could even imagine! That is still my favorite Bible study I attended at The Fellowship RR. I have imagined my life many times but God always surprises me when He reveals His plans. They are so much better than I could have even dreamed of!
My latest step on this faith journey brings me to the present. We moved closer to family when we decided to have another child. God lead us to Grace Community Church (www.gcc.org). Their children's program is amazing and that was what I was mostly concerned about. Callee is thriving in that program and Lexi is getting loved on by women that love God and children. I have started volunteering again and love the people I've been able to meet in the process. I know my faith journey doesn't stop here because I strive daily to be closer to God. I am just extremely blessed that He has placed certain people in my life to help with that journey.
Well, Jeffrey has retreated inside to watch football and Callee is done playing in the sun. Lexi will be up soon to eat so I guess I'm done for the day. I hope this has inspired someone to keep trudging along in their faith journey because God has so many surprises up his sleeves! And if it didn't inspire you, then I hope it was entertaining and not too boring! :-)