I didn’t grow up in the church. I attended many different churches but wasn’t raised in one in particular.
My mother’s family was hardcore Southern Baptist. My father’s family was a bit burnt on religion. I spent time in the sanctuaries of every possible Christian denomination known to man: Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic, Pentecostal, etc.
Ultimately, I was “saved” in a small Missionary Baptist Church in Marlow, Oklahoma on Valentine’s Day at the age of 16.
I was the child of a broken home, who’d experienced more devastation than any little one should ever know and all I wanted was to believe that someone, anyone, loved me more than themselves.
My romance with Jesus was immediate. My Savior, my friend, my protector, my great Redeemer.
It wasn’t long before I met my first husband and we quickly set out on a path of righteous commitment to the Church and one another. He, as a seminary student with a call to pastor God’s people, and I, as a young wife who wanted nothing more than to belt out “Just As I Am” during every closing invitation as I raised our, two, perfect children to the glory of God. Surely, Jesus would be happy with that?!
It wasn’t long until my brokenness caught up to us. Our pre-disposed notions of a God-blessed marriage didn’t include depression, anxiety, guilt, bitterness or fear. Somehow, I couldn’t find Jesus in any of it. There was no room for our baggage, but we didn’t really know what to do with it all. I did what came naturally…ran. And, I thought, left Jesus behind.
My marathon in support of a “church-free” life led me to another failed marriage and the birth of my third and fourth children.
It also led me to my current husband…Saint Jason…who, at the time, was a loud and proud Atheist.
It would be a decade before I found my footing again. Ten years before I would actually hear the loving and merciful call of my Savior…not that He hadn’t been calling. I just hadn’t been listening.
This entire blog, my entire story, is based on this journey: dependent on my decade of wandering.
The ultimate salvation of my children and my former-atheist husband, the restoration of many relationships and the calling of ministry on my life will all be shared here.
I believe the following with absolute certainty…
- Jesus is the only, infallible, begotten son of God Almighty and He died and rose again as a sacrifice for mankind fulfilling the prophecy of the Old Testament.
- Once you give your heart to Jesus…nothing…NOTHING…can ever break that bond. You can run, sin, hide and fail, but He is always just a breath behind you ready to forgive and restore your relationship with him.
- The “Church” is a reference to God’s people and should be a place of reality and restoration: not a place of pretense and judgment. God does not care about your past, your clothing, your tattoos, your piercings or your failures. He cares that you chose to seek Him.
- One of the best places to start learning about God is John 3:16 says that “God so loved the world (love), that He gave his only begotten son (grace) that whoever believes in Him should not perish (mercy) but have everlasting life (always).” *Emphasis mine.
- Because of what I know about God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, I have committed my entire life and being to sharing the “Love. Grace. Mercy. Always” mindset. It is what I live out. It is what I speak to. It is what I teach and what I pray.
- I make mistakes daily. I will NEVER profess to be perfect and encourage you to question anyone you meet who ever does. Our humanity is what elevates God’s deity. The best we can do is try. Make choices based on love, grace, mercy, kindness, humility, and meekness…every day. It is a difficult path to walk, yet, there isn’t one of us who hasn’t said: “If only we did ‘this‘ the world would be a better place.” My sweet friend…YOU are the “we” and have total control over the things you believe will improve the world around you.
I would be nothing without my faith.
Recently someone, whom I love more than myself, asked me if I believed that God allowed even the most unimaginable things to happen to us. In case you are wondering, our family had just experienced such an event.
My response to him was this…
“I don’t believe that God willed this tragedy. His will is set in wholeness and healing and restoration, not loss and death and doubt. But yes, I believe that He allowed this loss. He knew what we did not. He knew that this loss was simply a pebble in a pond and most of us would never see the ripples that it caused. If this moment, this loss, this tragedy meant that there would be restoration in another life…or if it would lead to the salvation of someone nearby, then YES, I believe with all my heart that He allowed it.”
This place: this site and whatever may come of it, I pray, will be a safe place. A place where love is a certainty. A place where grace is fully digested and accepted. A place where mercy is understood and where “always” gets its full respect.
I love you for being here. I will pray for all of you. I hope that you find some comfort and encouragement in this place.
With love, grace and mercy…always,