“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD, “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” — Jeremiah 29:11
My life verse. I can’t even recall the first time I stumbled on this verse, or if someone shared it with me. To this day, I cling to this verse in good times and bad. My story – and yours – was written in its entirety before He even breathed life into us. His plan is a good one, no matter what bumps in the road we face.
I grew up believing God existed, but never had a relationship with Him. Sure, I prayed occasionally. I attended Religious Education classes at church and even briefly taught them in college. Yet I never had an intimate knowledge of Christ. After getting married and having our first child, my husband and I prioritized rest and relaxation on Sundays over church-going. Slowly, we stopped attending. For a while, it didn’t affect me. I didn’t miss it; in fact, I enjoyed the lazy Sundays.
Sometime after the birth of my son, a co-worker’s (at the time) faith started to impact me. She embodied the definition of joy. No matter what life threw at her, she knew God was with her. She praised Him through the good and bad. She invited me to church. She encouraged me to get an Amplified Bible when I expressed an interest in learning more about God. Yet, I didn’t make the leap. I felt a stirring in my heart, but ignored it. Looking back, I smile at that memory because it was God calling me. He’s pursued me all my life and in that moment, I began to realize it on some level.
In 2012, I became a stay-at-home mom and we moved from a townhouse to a neighborhood. One of my neighbors, Sheri, came over and introduced herself on day 1. We quickly became good friends, our daughters BFFs by the time summer rolled around. I knew she was a Christian and remember having a lot of faith-based talks with her. In 2013, she invited my daughter to church with them. At the time, my daughter began expressing interest in getting to know God. She loved the church! The next week, we attended as a family and began going regularly. I threw myself into a women’s group and teaching preschool through the family ministry, doing whatever I could to learn more about God and His story. I craved Him…but I still didn’t commit entirely.
On December 7, 2013 we found out we were unexpectedly expecting our third child. The first half of the pregnancy went so well! We found out we were expecting a girl and had already picked out the name Caitlin Grace. Then at our 20-week anatomy scan on March 26, 2014, God set into motion events that would literally change my life.
On that day, following the advice of Sheri (who played such an instrumental role in leading me to Christ) I prayed to God like I never had before. On that day, I surrendered my life to His will. My life has been forever changed, thanks to the love and mercy from my Savior Jesus Christ. The walk with God has not always been easy. It’s not intended to be. I struggle with my faith some days, and other days I feel like God and I are like PB&J. I pray that God uses the story He has written in my life to encourage others in their faith. This blog, and my Facebook page that accompanies it, is intended to encourage and lift others up. We all need encouragement. We all need to share how God is working in our lives. This is my why. This is the reason I feel compelled to write. I want to encourage you in your faith through my own triumphs and struggles. And likewise, I pray that God uses this to create a community where I am learning from others as well.