I'm a bit insecure about my writing because I'm a pretty disjointed writer. I don't make my sentences sound smooth and elegant. But here goes nothing.
I grew up in a Christian home with a loving family. We were really involved in church and I grew up truly believing Jesus died for my sins. I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was four. Throughout my adolescent and high school years I was involved in youth group where I grew as a follower of Jesus. My desire was to serve and glorify God. Honestly, I had a lot of head knowledge of Jesus, but the deep heart knowledge was lacking. All of my head knowledge of Jesus was an important foundation in my relationship with Him...but it became legalistic for me. I didn't have a heart understanding of grace or why Jesus had to die for me. I was a good girl growing up, so deep down I wondered...why did Jesus need to die for me?
Going to college gave me the opportunity to really make my relationship with Jesus my own. It's not like my parents forced me to go to church, I really did love Jesus, but I needed freedom to find out what it mean to follow Jesus as an independent woman. I got involved in a college ministry called Illini Life (a Collegiate Church Network Church) that God used in monumental ways to grow my relationship with Him. The College Church Network sponsors a summer program called the Leadership Training Program. I went to this LT program one summer in 2008 and (to make an extremely long story short) God used it to break me of my legalism, my pride, my self-righteous attitude, and my self-worth. That summer I met Jesus in a deeper way than ever before. He healed me of deep brokenness and awakened me in ways that have changed me forever. That head knowledge all shifted down to become heart knowledge.
And another thing. I have never heard the audible voice of the Lord; but as clearly as I hear my thoughts in my head, I heard him speak in my heart "full-time ministry." That was the summer He put the call on my heart to be in ministry.
After that summer I also felt the Lord beckoning me to move to Texas to be apart of a College Church Network Church called Fellowship Church. I had met several members of this church at LT and they had made a huge impact in my walk with God and I felt like the Lord wanted me to move to be apart of this community and eventually walk out my ministry with this church. After I graduated from the University of Illinois I moved to College Station, TX. That is the craziest thing I have ever done! When I think about it I shock myself all over again.
I will say this: the first year I was in Texas was probably the hardest year of my life. You can't just pull up deep roots and move far from friends and family and feel perfectly normal. It just doesn't work like that. It was rough. It was like being on a boat during a storm at sea. I just had to hold on tight. I struggled through anxiety and homesickness in an incredible way. It rocked me. And in the midst of this Jesus felt far away. I know he hadn't abandoned me but I just didn't know where he was.
About a year after moving to Texas Rollin and I got hitched. College Station started to feel more and more like home. It takes time to settle in. I started to find my identity in this new place. Jesus still felt far until December of 2010. Jesus revealed a lot of pride I had in me. He stepped back to love me. And he loved me well. Because he stepped back, it showed me how helpless I really am. I am nothing without Jesus. He is everything. He emptied a lot of pride from me and rebuilt my identity in him in a stronger and deeper way.
The pastor of the church I was involved with at the University of Illinois once told me that loving Jesus isn't about having this emotional experience...it's about having a fire in the belly. A quiet, yet strong, and growing passion for Jesus.
That's the best way to describe where I'm at now. The dream of my life is Jesus. It's all about Jesus. Yes, I have dreams of being in ministry and having a family with Rollin. But the deepest dream of my heart is to be with Jesus. I want to be cleansed by the Holy Spirit and purified by the blood of Jesus. I want my heart to be made ready for the return of Jesus. I am Jesus' inheritance and so I want him to transform me into the inheritance he desires.
My story is not finished. What I've written here doesn't really seem complete. It's fragmented. But again, my story is a work in progress.