I am a believer in Jesus Christ. I love testimonies of God's love and faithfulness. Being an empathetic person - they get me every time.
One of my favorite verses is Revelation 12:11.
They triumphed over him (Satan)
I love this verse because it reminds me that even a testimony as simple as mine can be used to defeat Satan. Let me clarify what I mean by simple. My story lacks a definitive before and after Christ moment. My story is more one of progression than sudden or radical transformation. There has been a lot of transformation and will continue to have a lot more, but it has been slow and steady, probably because the Lord knows the pace I can handle.
One of my earliest memories, around four, is praying with my mom to accept Jesus. I was raised in a missionary family so from an early age I witnessed countless miracles. We were taught to pray for and expect them. The God I grew to know was and still is magnificent! It amazes me how God cares about the tiniest, most intimate details of our life. Yes, even close parking spots!
My parents did deputation and by age seven my family was living in Zagreb, Croatia but at that time it was Yugoslavia. We simply did life as we learned the language. My parents modeled how to be a friend first before sharing the friend, Jesus.
When the war broke out we briefly stayed in Vienna. My brother had scarlet fever and I learned how God is our healer.
Returning home to Massachusetts we had a year to reconnect with family in the States, raise puppies and build forts in the yard by the parsonage. By opening the doors in hospitality, my parent's made the scripture about entertaining angels without knowing real to me. I know one of our guests was an angel for certain!
From there my family went to Moscow for a two-year assignment. My parent's had met on the Russian floor at Colorado University so this would be an easier assignment at least linguistically speaking. My siblings and I learned Russian by playing in the courtyard with other kids and watched my parents work really hard. They were always being called to translate for everyone involved in the team. After two years we came back to the United States to help family in need of healing. It took us all a while to adjust, but it was a break we all really needed.
At this point in my life, I started to ask harder questions. I wanted to understand God deeper. I was starting to see the difference between loving Jesus and what some people said you had to "do" for Jesus. I needed to know that God wasn't just there for my parents but if He was there for me.
When I brought my doubts to my parents they weren't disappointed or angry in any way, actually, they were quite the opposite. They encouraged me to take all my questions to God and seek out my answers. What I didn't really understand at the time was that they were also doing the same thing in their own lives. (Now, I see this should be a constant in the life of a Jesus follower!) They showed me where David cried out to God, how David wasn't always polite. Despite David's lack of respect or reverence, God didn't strike him down with lightning like he may have deserved.
God wants an authentic relationship with us. I was assured that He was big enough to handle anything I could throw at Him, so I started my own search into what God was really like. This is where I deepened my relationship, from God being my Savior to Him being my Lord.
After a season of helping family back home and some soul searching my parents signed on with a different organization who had us going back and forth to mainly Ukraine for the next few years. My heart fell more deeply in love with the Lord but also with anything Slavic. By the time I graduated high school my heart was set on moving to Ukraine and studying the language. Living in America and doing the 9-5 Monday through Friday desk job literally terrified me. I saved and saved so I could afford to do it. I'm not sure if I would have heard God if He had said no to my plan. I think the majority of my prayers were begging Him to allow me to have the life I wanted. I was also infatuated with a Ukrainian boy at the time, so that didn't help my clarity of thought either.
God is good. He gave me exactly what I asked for and it only took me about three months to determine that it wasn't everything I dreamed it would be. I loved aspects of my life in Kiev. My studies were going well. I had even found a job at another University, but my heart was incredibly homesick. I had always had my family bubble in the midst of a different culture, being completely alone in it was a lot harder. Plus, being on the outside of the US when September 11th happened was terrifying. To hear that America was closed and you are on the outside of it didn't feel good. I wanted to go home.
Once I returned to Massachusetts, I was finally able to see how I hadn't really allowed God much room to speak into the decision. Maybe I had to knock my Slavic idol off the shelf so God could have his spot back, but God was a total gentleman about it. I had been so blinded by what I thought was best instead of trusting Him to know what was best. My family moved to Florida, so I came too. I still find it funny that now I live in Palm Coast where there is a nice sized Russian community and I get to hear Russian every time I am out at Walmart.
So, I struggle with perfectionism. Nope - so not perfect, but wish I was! Sitting still and waiting is also so hard for me. It is tempting to get the plan and rush out and do it on my own. God has given me a good head on my shoulders, so I should use it, right? But not without Him. I am trying to learn how to let God have the lead.
God unexpectedly brought a great guy into my life who helps balance me. I think I do the same for him because God is smart like that. My husband speaks his mind and loves God with great passion. I know being empathetic makes healthy boundaries hard for me to set, so I am thankful for the love and protection of a strong spouse. Makes me feel safe, loved and heard! God is still working on my people-pleasing ways. I not so secretly love that being a counselor keeps my husband sensitive to following the advice that he gives out. Ten years and I still like the guy! Our three kids and I pray for protection over Daddy and discernment from the Holy Spirit for the people he sees. It is important to us that they know they can make a difference even at a young age!
I am grateful for being able to stay home, teach our kids, read lots of books and write some as well. Life is busy, but I know God is directing our days. I am beyond grateful for those in our lives who journey alongside us. We now get to fellowship as a family at Celebrate Recovery every Friday night as well. I love watching and hearing how God is setting his people free, so in obedience, I wanted to write out a bit of my story.
Feel free to share a bit of your walk with Jesus with me in the comments below. I would love to hear it!
My Current Mantra
Walk humbly with God and do the work at your hands....