I grew up in South West Michigan, a beautiful region right on Lake Michigan, in a home with Christian parents who were both great vocalists. Our house was full of Christian Music playing on the stereo or Mom singing or whistling. We attended church regularly, and my brother and I frequently went with Mom to Choir practice. My foundation was being built through music and church family.
For as long as I can remember, I have been in awe of God, sometimes afraid of Him, and very thankful for sacrificing His son, Jesus, so that I may have eternal life.
Fast forward to my thirties, the teens and twenties were a rough time in my life, married with 3 children and not holding on tight to God and His promises. My marriage ended and I was a single parent trying to stay afloat. One day as I was working in the concession stand at the ball field, a mother of one of my sons friends asked me if I would like to go to church with her. I said yes, and my deep relationship with God began.
I was broken, God knew it but I hadn’t acknowledged my failure yet. We were singing a song during the service that spoke to the condition my heart for God was in. I broke down crying and left the service. Exiting the sanctuary, I was met by Pastor Sandy Wallen, a wonderful woman of God. She was primary in directing me to the path of truly loving and serving the Lord.
My passion for leading women to a deep and abiding relationship with God began. I attended my first evening Bible study and found joy in digging deep into God’s word and the next thing you know; I was asked to lead a woman’s Bible study. I was terrified, I didn’t know enough, I’m shy, I can’t do this, I’ll do more harm than good, I had every excuse I could think of ready, but Pastor Sandy said, we’ve prayed about this and you’re the one. Quit saying I can’t and start saying God can. I can’t remember the number studies that I have shared with women, but I know our lives were greatly and permanently impacted because of our time spent in God’s word.
The next step, Stephen’s ministry. Stephen’s Ministry is a caring ministry where care givers are matched with care receivers. The Stephens Ministry care givers have 50 hours training in a classroom and countless hours of homework. The job of a caregiver is to walk alongside the individual they are assigned to (care receiver) with prayer and biblical counsel, always directing them back to God’s word. The care giver is a listener, not a psychologist, and God does the healing.
The next step, Youth Ministry. All of a sudden my children have turned into energetic teenagers and the youth ministry has blossomed to around 50-60 teenagers. Calling all durable, patient and willing parents willing to commit to 3-4 years as leaders and mentors of a small group. I’m in and committed. So much different than adult women, but I loved teaching and learning from my group of girls.
The move south. In 2003 the economy in Michigan is in the tank and my husband is losing his job. So we go to the to where the jobs are, the south. You never know where God is going to plant you.
I was invited to the Gathering by my daughter and fell in love with the church. The foundational preaching, the music, and the people. Somehow I made it through the Institute class, with my beliefs intact and with a desire to dig even deeper into God’s word. I am very thankful for the opportunities that I have had to lead women’s Bible studies, and teaching the Ladies on Sunday mornings. Now I am serving as a Deacon, and my hope is that I will serve well.
This is my back ground, varied ministries where I have learned so much about God. I’m not a Bible Scholar and never will be. I love the Lord and his word. My hope is that others will see this in me.