Monday, December 7, 2015

His Story for Me

I have never been asked to write out my testimony before, so I don't really know where to start.  Memorable testimonies are usually the powerful, tear-jerker ones when someone turns from a wild and sinful life to a life surrendured to Christ.  I might not have had a "hard" past before turning to Christ, but I certainly was (and still very much am) a sinner in need of Jesus' blood to save me.  I am a sinner saved by God's grace alone and there's nothing I have ever done to earn it.  I hope that as you read my testimony you don't see me, but the God who saved me and can see His directing my life to be used for His glory.
I have been blessed with many people in my life who have shaped who I am today.  I am the first born to my amazing parents, have 3 incredible siblings, was blessed with a sister in law just last year and have many friends who are encouraging and godly examples.   I was public schooled for the first few years and homeschooled for all the rest.  I asked Jesus into my heart sitting on the couch with my mom when I was just 4 years old, but I didn't fully grasp what that really meant until I was about 13 years old when I really took my faith on for myself. 
 My dream was and always has been, to be a wife, mommy and missionary.  This is probably due to a few different things.  I had a great example of marriage from my parents, saw my mom's joy in caring for us kids and for some reason always loved stories about missionaries and orphans and such.  My eyes and heart were opened at an early age to orphans when we had some kids from the African Children's Choir stay with us.  I decided sometime around then that I was going to go to Uganda someday.  There were a couple opportunities to go over the years, but they always seemed to fall through.  I just had to be patient and wait on God's perfect timing. 

 In my teens I was very into ballet and thought that was what I wanted to do with my life.  I considered joining and traveling with a Christian Dance group, danced many times a week, worked on technique at home, taught ballet, went to intensive summer programs around the country and opened a dance studio.  I gave it all my time and thoughts and I felt like it began to "be" me.  It consumed me.  Ballet is a beautiful thing, but I was convicted about the idol it had become in my life and decided I had to change that.  God really worked on my heart and began to show me that a life consumed by Him is the only thing meaningful and worthy.  I wanted to quit completely, but thanks to the wisdom of my parents and their reminder that it was a gift God had given me and to instead seek how He wanted me to use it.  So I quit dancing and went to teaching only.  I enjoyed teaching and praising the Lord with my little ladies, but I always felt like it was just a thing to do while I waited for God's timing for the "thing" He had for me...
which I was re-convinced was wife, mommy and missionary.
 Kids have always held my heart, hurting ones specifically, so I was all-in when my parents started doing foster care and finally felt like I was doing something the Lord wanted me to!  He brought some precious children into our lives and I am forever and ever changed because of each one of them!  Foster care, adoption and special needs are things I could talk about for days since they are a huge passion of mine.  Being a single girl makes it tricky to get involved in this kind of ministry.  I have had to learn (and am still learning) to trust in the Lord and His perfect plan and will for my life.  I would love to be able to care for or adopt whatever child needs a home, but I know I can't give these kids the home and family they need.  That's a super hard thing for me to be content with and something I continue to struggle with.
 The next few years held many lessons through some difficult circumstances.  I have learned that hard times bring blessings beyond anything we can imagine!  They are painful, but looking back on them brings unexplainable peace and thankfulness. 
 I am now living in Uganda (FINALLY!!!) for a year helping a missionary family, teaching reading to the local kids, forming relationships and seeking if the Lord would have me here longer term.  I am amazed at the way the Lord prepared the way for me to come here.  I had many lessons to learn in preparation for life here and I can now see how God's timing was perfect.  I don't know how the Lord is going to lead me in the future.  I have no clue what's next.  And I am learning that it's ok to not know and to simply have childlike faith and follow where He leads.  I trust Him and He will show me the next thing when it's time.  For now I am not supposed to know and that has actually been another good lesson in my life and a very relieving one at that.  Through all of those hard times I have learned that I can plan and plan all I want to, but it is God who is in control!  I know that He is soverign and I am learning to hold my days with open hands and to surrender my life to His control.  Surrenduring my life doesn't happen one single time, it is something I have to remember to do every single day.  

I still struggle all day every day and can't seem to do anything right most of the time, but I am perfect because my Heavenly Father is perfect.  I am loved by the most high King and want to give Him all the glory He deserves wherever in the world that is!