Today, 12 years ago, I gave my heart to Jesus.
It feels like an eternity ago, and sadly, some of the years that I have been walking with God has been from a distance. I look back and see all the things that He has done. And wow, He is so faithful! Each new year and each season of life I stand in awe of how good He truly is. He has weaved so many wonderful friends in my life, all for His purpose.
I'd like to look back and see 12 memories that have sculpted and changed my life as a new creation.
In the 3rd grade, I remember being so excited to go to school and tell all of my friends and teachers about what happened to me.
I got saved on Sunday, April 27th, 2008. 2 weeks later, on Mother's Day, my dad baptized me.
My best friend traveled 9 thousand miles across the world with her family to be missionaries in Sri Lanka. Little did we know how much our lives would change! This picture is right after her first visit back home as a forever sister in Christ.
This memory is one that you'll have to picture in your mind.
For privacy, I won't use specific names, but there was a girl that would come to our church for the kid's programs. A tragic thing happened to her, something that no girl or little boy should ever have to go through.
The wickedness in the world can be used for God's glory in the end.
This little girl approached my mom one night with questions on how to be saved. She came to the Awana programs so much that she knew that God was calling her to Himself. So mom asked me to come along. After talking about it and answering her questions, she prayed and gave her heart to the Lord. I witnessed something that I will never be able to forget. It was like a light bulb turned on in her eyes. She knew and I believe there was a celebration going on in Heaven.
'There is joy before the angels of God.' Luke 15:10
All of our trips out west have been wonderful, but there is one distinct memory at the Grand Canyon that I will always remember.
Watching the sunset over the Grand Canyon, I sat on a log bench with my family. We waited till the stars came out. The night turned into the most intricate and beautiful thing I have ever seen. It honestly, looked like a peek into heaven. The stars were so bright and there were so many.
I remember the story of Abraham and God telling him of his descendants, how they will be as 'numerous as the stars.' Sitting there with my family a heavyweight of thankfulness for God's mercy and abounding grace was written on my heart forever.
Our 'first' mission trip delivering flyers and praying with complete strangers was one of the scariest things that I have ever done. This trip really humbled me and opened my eyes to a lot of things.
These girls changed my life forever. One of my friends that I met through a homeschool co-op (not pictured) started this Bible study group and asked me and my sister to join. Forever friends and sisters were made in our little 'Refuge' group.
When I worked at Dinner Bell, the lady who trained me gave me something that touched my heart.
When I told her I was going to buy my first car she gave me a gift when I drove it to work the first time. The gift contained a Bible and a letter addressed to London.
This was one of the sweetest things that anyone has ever done. The bible and letter are still in my car to this day.
Many other God-things have happened at my Dinner Bell. You'll just have to ask me about a few stories some other time! ;)
'For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.' Psalm 139:13-16
One of the things I am so thankful for is life in general. Being able to stand and pray for the unborn and for the war on abortion is something that was so humbling.
My parents are such a tremendous blessing to me.
I grew up knowing that I was loved and cherished. I am so thankful for them.
At this moment at my graduation, as I walked up to get my diploma, there was a letter that was read aloud that they wrote to me. I'll never forget how honored I felt to be their daughter.
I remember the day I dropped my first deposit off at beauty school. My sister, without hesitation, prayed with me in the car. This was a big moment for me. I was finally trusting God that this was the path that He set before me.
Holly has always been one of my closest and dearest friends. Not only is she my sister, but she is my sister in Christ. She inspires me and motivates me every day.
The mission trip in 2019 was memorable in many ways. There were doubts and insecurities that started bubbling up long before the trip even began. I knew that God laid on my heart a message from the book of Hosea months before this trip. I just didn't know who or when God wanted me to share it with.
My mom and I were separated from the group, a couple of nights during the week, to spend some time at a drug rehab facility for women. We gave them clothes and gifts but one of the most precious times that we had with them was when we would sing worship songs. You could just tell by the compassion in their voice that they craved God. They wanted Him so desperately. Many of them had their own story they wanted to share, so after mom gave her testimony I just waited. On the last night with the women at the facility, I asked, 'is it time, God?' I wondered when He wanted me to speak. And for some reason, it was not where I thought at all.
Towards the end of the week, my youth pastor called all the men and women to divide for their devotions separately. (During the week, we would all be together, but every year we always choose one night where we divide up the girls and guys.)
There was nobody that planned on leading the women that night.
My youth pastor didn't even know that I had a message to give, yet, he looked at me and asked me if I could do it.
Of course, I knew at that moment that God had the time in place all along for me to share this message on that night with the women I had worked alongside that week.
Last November I was asked to participate in the Day of Hope outreach in our county. More than 100 kids sat in my chair and got haircuts! It was a fantastic experience to meet and impact so many lives.
I remember just praying over the chairs and the tools that I would use and asking the Lord to give me strength. There were supposed to be half a dozen more girls to help, but life happens, and there ended up being only one other stylist with me working the booth the entire day. I genuinely believe that every haircut and every encounter was a God-thing.
There have been so many beautiful and wonderful God-things that have happened in my life. I can't wait to see what the next coming years with the Lord will turn out like.
Here is a verse that reminds me of how gracious and all-loving our God is.
'Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.' John 21:25