By the time I was seven years old, my parents’ marital problems had taken a turn for the worse. They were separated for a period of time, but decided to try and work things out…this time with God’s help. This involved attending a local church. Although my mother had been raised in church, she was not walking with the Lord at that point, and my dad had never experienced a life truly submitted to Christ. However, attending that small country church really did make all the difference in the world for my family at that time. It was not long until my dad submitted his life to Christ and my mom returned to the path she was raised on as a child. My parents’ decisions at that time had a profound effect on me and in April of 1991, at eight years of age, I gave my life to Christ.
I was just a child, but I remember having an understanding of salvation and Jesus definitely did a work in my heart! However, once I became a teenager, things began to get more difficult. Several of my friends were not living a Christian lifestyle and my church was having some problems at the time as well. I began searching for something different, something solid that I could stand on. I felt like the faith of my childhood was slipping away, though I really did not want that to happen. I began to feel the influence of youthful desires like never before and knew if I did not make a change in my life things were not going to go so well for me anymore.
When I cried out to God in desperation He was so faithful to hear my prayer and send me to a place where I could learn how to live out my faith successfully. At age 19, I enrolled in what is now called Heartland Christian College. During my time in Bible College, I truly learned what it means to be His, and how to live a life that brings glory to His name. Jesus was no longer just a piece of my life, but encompassed every area: work, school, friendships—everything!
During Bible College and for several years following I worked for the Heartland Christian Academy boarding school, helping young people who had faced many of the same youthful struggles that I did. By the mercy of God they were removed from those difficult situations and then sent to a place where they could have a better opportunity to succeed.
Since that time, I have also had the amazing opportunity to be part of Heartland missions, specifically in the country of Egypt. For me, this was a lifelong dream made a reality. Having the opportunity to help people in a country without all the freedoms we enjoy and take for granted everyday has only further solidified my own faith. It has been a privilege to build friendships with people in that country through the years and I know the people of Egypt will always be written upon my heart in a special way.
Life with Jesus is not a fairytale, but it truly is more abundant. In each and every struggle I have faced through the years He has been there to guide me and help me through it. I could not imagine life without Him.