These people would all be the first to tell you they are not perfect. Everyone of them has their own habits, hurts, and hangups but what they all have in common is that they have allowed the power of the Holy Spirit to work through them.
There are so many people who have poured into me over the course of my life. If that applies to you I say thank you. To those of you mentioned below I also say thank you. You have impacted my life greatly and I am very appreciative for the time you have spent that shaped me into the person I am today.
I have to start with my Mom. I watched her from the time I was young have her quiet time, can remember her taking my brother and I to church Sunday mornings, and witnessed the women she surrounded herself with encourage and uplift her. When I was younger I didn’t understand her desire for bible studies, journaling, or prayer. I get it now.
I often think of the Andy Stanley quote “Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do but someone you raise.” I pray that I can encourage my own children’s faith journey the way my Mom encouraged and created an environment for mine to start to grow.
MY JUNIOR HIGH DISCIPLESHIP LEADER
At the church I attended in junior high, Sun Valley Community Church (this was before they had a building and met in a movie theater), I attended a weekly discipleship group (or d-group). These groups met in the leaders home with several other students and discussed life from a biblical worldview.
My leader Melissa was a mom of 3 boys and each week she invited myself and a handful of other girls into her home. Melissa helped me memorize scripture that to this day I still have memorized, taught us girls how to make “booger” cookies (cookies made with pistachio jello), and showed a love for Jesus that I had never witnessed before.
She lived and breathed Jesus. She still does. After our d-group ended she continued to meet with me every few weeks and we tackled several Max Lucado books together.
When Josh and I started dating he hadn’t been attending church on a regular basis. He went when family was in town or for holidays. I had grown up going to several different churches for a period of a few years before my family would switch and try another church. When Josh and I started dating I was craving a church family and wanted to find a church home.
When Josh suggested we look for a church together I was excited and nervous. Excited that we were going to start going to church together and nervous that we wouldn’t be able to find a church that we both really felt at home in. For weeks we tried different churches and we were excited when we found a church that had a Saturday evening service also. We stepped into Chandler Christian Church on a Saturday night 10 years ago and have been attending services there ever since.
The senior pastor Roger Storms and the staff at Chandler Christian Church have been a huge part of our life this last decade. Roger’s faith and his love for his family and community are a beautiful thing to witness.
I have engaged with God more, developed a habit of asking the Holy Spirit to speak into my life, and have become more confident with communicating biblical truths since attending Chandler Christian Church under Roger’s leadership.
MY ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER
This one. There is so much I could write. Livonia came into my life through Chandler Christian Church. Shortly after Josh and I were married we signed up to take a weekly marriage class facilitated by a pastor at our church and his wife. The class used various books (Love and Respect, Sacred Marriage, Boundaries in Marriage) for weekly reading/homework and “Papa” Joe Beam’s videos. All of the other couples in our class had been married 8+ years so we were the babies having only been married a few months.
The class was great, we learned so much, had conversations we would have NEVER had at that point in our marriage, and met some pretty awesome people. One of the things our church recommend we do after getting married was find a couple who could mentor both Josh and I over the next year. From this marriage class we found our mentor couple. Livonia met with me weekly while her husband met with Josh.
Livonia, a mom of 4 kids and a business owner, allowed me to be part of her life. I went grocery shopping with her, hung out at her house, prayed, and we would read our bibles together. I could tell her anything and everything and I did. Stuff I couldn’t talk about with anyone else and she totally got it. I can’t tell you what a relief it was to be able pour out my heart to someone and not feel judged but only understood. She taught, showed, and prayed God’s grace over me and my marriage.
MY TUESDAY MORNING BIBLE STUDY GROUP
I know this isn’t technically a person. Last year I committed myself to joining a bible study. Caden’s preschool happened to have a bible study group at the same time he was in school and they had free childcare for Maisie. I took a deep breath, was totally out of my comfort zone, and within minutes of my first time attending felt so welcomed and loved on.
This group of ladies has blown me away with their love. They support and encourage others and showed me what being the hands and feet of Jesus look like. I am looking forward to studying, learning, and being challenged more together this year.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post there are so many people who have spent time guiding me and shaping me over the course of life. My life is messy and I am still learning daily to show grace to others and most importantly myself.
I would love to hear from you! Who has influenced your faith?