As I look back and consider my life, my testimony for coming to faith, the word redeemed comes to mind. I think of several defining instances in my life when God took hard things, and used them for good. Ultimately, a deepening of my faith and character because of His gentle hand guiding me through life.
I was around 6 when I first prayed with my mom to ask Jesus to be my Savior. So thankful for my parents telling my brother and I about the Lord, taking us to church, praying together as a family.
However, there was also a lot of unrest and financial stress in our home. This took a toll on our parents, and sadly, their marriage. This, in turn, effected our family dynamics. There was a lot of insecurity, anxiety, manipulation, and depression that impacted the way the four of us did life together. I became the peacemaker in the family. Not wanting to make anything worse, I also became a people pleaser, and did all I could to diffuse any potential conflict. Through all the tears and worry that I experienced as a kid- God used it to develop my sense of compassion and a sensitivity for how someone feels.
I’m thankful He has helped me shed the people pleasing tendencies, but striving for peace has been beneficial in my life- when things gets tense or feel impossible- I believe God trained in me at a young age the ability to stay calm and trust Him, and most importantly, abide in Him for the peace that I need.
Moving forward to college age- my parents eventually went through with a divorce, and I was in my senior year of college. I was engaged to someone I thought I knew, but turned out to have been mistaken. He was this great guy- adventurous, on fire for God- and by all accounts acted like most other Christian friends I knew. We prayed, listened to worship music, went to church… but then, not long after being engaged, I learned he was Unitarian. I had no idea what this meant. All I knew is I suddenly had to decide for myself if I believed Jesus was also God- I had never known any other professing Believer to say Jesus was Savior, but not also God.
So- the redemption of all of this pain and confusion awakened in me the hunger for apologetics. For the first time, I had a desperate reason to know the truth. My faith and basic Bible knowledge was solid, however, I had never been faced with a decision to defend my faith in such a way- that would ultimately end our relationship. As a girl in my 20’s, wanting to be married, and have a family- It was a loss. But, I learned that I could trust God to help me choose Him every time. This was a huge boost to my faith and resolve that would carry me through the years.
A next season in life began just months after the break-up, when I took my first teaching job in Hawaii ! I think God knew I needed to get far away from things at that point! This was a fruitful season in life being on my own, living with a few other teachers- sharing the rent ! I loved and cherished the friendships I made, along with the opportunities to share my faith while living on the island.
And a really unexpected thing happened…I met Scott Get this- he was a guy from my same Christian college- graduated the same year, lived in the same apartment building… never once saw him . Until, we both moved to Hawaii- halfway around the world. It just so happened we had a mutual college friend on the island that introduced us. We started as friends, which was so nice. Then, after he took an 80 foot fall off a mountain (while hiking with a friend) and was airlifted, and miraculously survived (insert his testimony here ! …I began to see him in a new light. Probably a year after his long recovery we were dating- and engaged not long after. God didn’t mind if I didn’t meet this “right” guy for me while we lived 2 floors apart- He can still make it happen by bringing us to a tiny island in the Pacific.
So thankful for another redeeming moment in life- making a choice to walk away from the wrong person, and trusting God to lead me to the right person. I also learned that- and will tell any woman- it’s God who is our Rescuer, not a man. I love my husband with all my heart, but know he can’t be all that I need- only the One who saves can be all things. So, when I tell this sweet story, I’m also wise to know it’s all for His glory- not mine.
Then, marriage life and kids! The Lord has surely redeemed me millions of times in this season of life.
I’ve never known the need for His grace more than being a wife and mother- nothing I’ve ever done felt so out of my own power and control as being a wife and mom. Thankful for the calm trained into me at that young age! God’s grace has gently led me down the path of taking care of kids when they are sick, supporting my husband and his heart, managing the busy schedule of sports and activities, all the while maintaining an edifying Christian upbringing for the kids, and a balance of peace and joy amidst all the crazy. Not to mention the desire to reach our neighbors and the nations for Christ! It all feels overwhelming at times- how can I do all of things well ?
Through the years, I’ve seen God’s hand guiding me through- I’ve seen how my eyes have been open to things at just the right time…and for a reason. I’ve learned that life is a journey- that it’s okay to be a life-long learner. I will never have it all figured out. But, I desire to know Him more. I want so badly for our kids to have a strong faith- and have their own authentic relationship with Him.
This is my story- I hope this snapshot of my life and faith makes some sense- and hopefully, can encourage someone else as they trust God as Redeemer of all things.
Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.