Okay, I'll go!
By way of introduction, right now I am a stay-at-home mom with an almost 18-month old. My husband, Matt, is a pastor on staff at a church in our college town; he works with college students and young adults.
My story begins in eastern Kentucky, in a rocky home life and a small rural church full of faithful, simple people.
My parents had a terrible marriage and eventually divorced when I was seven. We didn't attend church as a family, but nearly every Sunday I did attend church with my grandmother (and sometimes my teenage sister). At home I often saw the stark reality of sin and selfishness; at church I was consistently taught of redemption and the Redeemer.
The words of the Baptist Hymnal sank deep into my soul, along with Bible story after Bible story during Sunday school each week. I believed those stories as early as I remember hearing them, but the gravity of my own disobedience did not strike my heart until I was 10 years old, listening to our pastor teach the gospel at VBS. I gave my heart to Jesus that day and ran from the church building to my mom's car proclaiming, "I'm going to heaven!!!"
I was and still often am a fearful girl. I worry. I fret. I think of the worst case scenario.
Jesus became the Comforter and Refuge in those moments of fear. The Bible encouraged me when I was alone in my room listening to yelling parents. I prayed for help when I didn't know where else to turn.
God has done much to redeem my family since then. Post after post I could recount all that He had done for my parents, my sister, and I. But those early days of tumult shaped my heart in a way to cause me to trust in Jesus when all else was not worthy of my trust.
Oh I tried to trust in other things plenty of times after trusting in Jesus as savior. My primary idol of choice was boys, especially in high school. I was known as a committed Christian, president of FCA, a runner who used that platform to share God's truth. But I was a hypocrite. I trusted in relationships often to the detriment of the sincerity of my faith. I'm sure some of you can relate.
God used a man and his wife, my FCA sponsors, to show me a picture of what I had never seen. A godly marriage. It created in me a longing for something different than I was pursuing. I was still foolish, but God put me on a different path.
My first day of college I met the man I would marry eventually. He pointed me to Jesus and helped me become more like Him during our years at WKU. College was a time of learning discipline - spiritually, emotionally, physically through running. At times it was certainly painful, but I can see the fruit of those days often now. God also provided Christian friends and a vibrant church family (which is still our church family!) to help me learn to walk with Him.
Matt and I were married right after college, and four years later our sweet baby boy joined our family. Our family is far from perfect, but when I see what God has given I am in awe of His mercy and redemption. I long to be a picture of something better for the young students and singles in our lives.
The last 18 months I have battled for consistency more than ever in my regular time with God, but I have also learned how much I have to depend on Christ every hour. Being a mom reveals the selfishness, laziness, and all that other stuff I'd rather pretend is not there! There are times I am utterly clueless what to do or how to do it. There are moments I am bankrupt of patience and grace.
"I Need Thee Every Hour" is my constant plea, in my better moments. It is painfully obvious when I try to mother or serve (whether family, church, whatever) in my own strength. I am often still gripped by fear. What if... is the enemy I often encounter.
That's where you come in. As iron sharpens iron...
I'm praying that God can take those broken places in each of our lives and use the simple faithfulness of others to point one another toward the Redeemer and the redemption. He is faithful, and He will do it.