Growing up, I was a typical straight-A student: active in Honors Society, band and sports. Not to mention, I was a pretty good kid – I didn’t do drugs, drink, or swear. I was even involved with church activities like Fellowship of Christian Athletes, youth group, and choir. I asked Jesus into my heart at a very young age and I knew every Bible story there was. How much “better” can a kid be?
But even with all that head knowledge about God, I grew up doing everything on my own. I didn’t need God’s help – school, homework, practice, friends, music, and sleep were much more important to me than trying to fit in time for God. I did believe in God – wasn’t that enough?
Little did I know that my faith in God would be tested much over the next four years! As soon as I entered college my whole life turned upside down. Everything I had known began to fall apart: my health, my grades, even some relationships. I started getting daily headaches and had to take several pain medications. Soon my muscles began to hurt too- so much so, that I could hardly hold a fork or tolerate doing my homework.
Physical pain wasn’t my only concern though - I wasn’t sleeping well either. I was so fatigued during the day that I couldn’t stay awake in class, but later when I tried to go to sleep, I couldn’t. I was soon diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, a chronic illness characterized by intense muscle pain, chronic fatigue, and sleeping problems. My dreams of graduating top in my class and getting the perfect job were slipping away from me....
Much of that first year was spent in self-pity and depression. Every day just seemed to get worse and worse. I wanted to isolate myself and hang on to the bitterness and despair. Instead though, I began involving myself in Campus Crusade for Christ and joined several Bible Studies and weekly prayer meetings. I began to attend yearly Christian conferences and meet with a mentor one-on-one.
Slowly, God began to show me through His Word and through other people, that He loved me and that He wanted to be part of my life. He had a plan for me but I would need to surrender my life to Him – completely. At first I wasn’t ready to do that. I had my life all planned out. I was going to get the perfect job, get married, have a nice house with a white picket fence, and have 2.3 kids. I was scared that if I gave myself over to God, my life would be unfulfilling and boring and I didn’t want that. I thought about that for a long, long time.
Finally at the beginning of my sophomore year, I decided to take that step and rededicate my life to God. I didn’t want to keep Him on a shelf any longer. I wanted to have a personal, intimate relationship with Him. My life sure wasn’t going anywhere. I had come to a breaking point and I knew I only had two choices – follow God and depend on Him, or don’t follow God and continue down the path I was heading. I decided to trust in God. I told Him that day that He would have to give me the strength and energy to do whatever it was He wanted me to do because I certainly couldn’t do it myself.
And you know what – He did. Isaiah 40:31 is one my many favorite verses. It says, “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (NIV)
Not once has God NOT given me the strength to do what He has asked me to do. Sure, I still have bad days where I don’t feel well, but those are the days when I depend on Him and not on myself. Because of my weaknesses, His glory is more evident. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (NIV)
My life with God is so much more meaningful and exciting than it ever was without Him. I joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ in 1998 and served in that capacity for nine years. While on staff, I made three overseas trips – something I never thought I’d be able to physically handle.
God has since renewed my passion for writing. (1) God orchestrated several opportunities for my life story to be published, including in a women’s magazine in 2001. (2) My testimony is listed on four web pages, and (3) I write devotionals for two ministries and as a result, touch the lives of people all around the world. (I don’t know why I thought following God’s will, would be boring!)
Not only has God inspired me to continue writing, he has also inspired my creativity as an artist and author. My Fabric Cards book was published in June 2005. God uses this medium as a way for me to share my talent and my life with those interested in quilting and crafting. I never, in a million years, would have thought I’d be a published author before the age of thirty. Only God could use a secular craft book to reach those who need to hear about His love! (Plus it’s fun and I get to share how God inspires me!)
I look at the life God has given me and I rejoice that I am able to be part of His plan. My only regret is that I didn’t begin my personal relationship with Him sooner. I guess...it just gives me something else to write about….