MY FAITH JOURNEY
I was raised Catholic and don’t recall missing church in my youth, including late nights after prom. I thought I was a “good” person, taking time from my busy week to worship God. I viewed myself as “better” than most Christians because even in college I attended church. In reality, I was only going to make myself feel better and for the free dinner that followed by attending church with my parents. I alter served many years growing up, but when I was on my own, quite frankly I did not feel convicted to tithe, serve or even participate in the singing.
My life quickly changed when I was twenty-two. My boyfriend at the time, Parker, had moved to Mediapolis, Iowa, and met a man named John who started discipling and sharing the Gospel with him. I will never forget heading to Mediapolis one weekend and Parker telling me he felt convicted to tithe and change certain aspects of our relationship. I was angry with John for “brainwashing” my boyfriend. Deep down though I was in awe and inspired by who I was dating. I watched God work in and through Parker so quickly and drastically I felt like I was dating a different man. Was this the same guy I dated in college and begged to come to church but never would?
One weekend I headed to Mediapolis (2.5 hours from home) and when it was time for bed, Parker said, “Don’t be upset, but I am going to start sleeping on the couch when you visit.” I felt angry like he was choosing his relationship with Jesus over ours. I remember saying “Who do you think you are? You have had faith in Jesus for maybe six months and are telling me, a devout Catholic what we can and can’t do?”
Not only did I think such things, but also put Parker’s words to test. Parker had a bachelor party coming up, and I knew the Bible said you shouldn’t be drunk. I was pretty confident he would fail and when he did I would have my opportunity to attack. I would show no mercy of his obedience to Jesus. Parker went away to Kansas City with all his friends and didn’t get drunk. My ears were buzzing from his friends, “Why doesn’t Parker drink anymore? Did he do something to upset you when he was drunk?” I was absolutely defeated because at this point I knew I had to get on board with Parker’s request. I won’t say it wasn’t hard or the temptations weren’t there, but God worked in both of us so our marriage would be greatly blessed with excitement for and anticipation of many “firsts.”
Parker and I are now married and agree that faith is the sole foundation of a lifelong marriage. Parker disciples me daily by leading me in prayer, encouraging me to share my concerns, worries and excitement with Jesus. Through Parker’s influence and God working in me, I have been very open about my faith at work. God has woven Himself into many conversations with families and co-workers and has given me the opportunity to invite five co-workers to Prairie Lakes within the last year. I pray for these co-workers that God works in and through them and softens their hearts to desire a relationship with Him. None of us have the power to change anyone, only God does, but we do have the power to influence people by our actions and words. I pray every day He will continue stretching me as a leader so if anyone asks why I am changing or growing, I can tell them it is because of my faith in Jesus Christ and His grace and mercy I continue to move forward in a positive way.