"They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. ~ Rev. 12:11
Sharing our testimony is powerful.
It is purposeful.
It is also hard.
I do believe the Lord will use it for his glory...
My developmental years were quite the adventure. I grew up in a trailer house that when it rained we put buckets throughout the house to catch the water leaks. There were often skunks that would get in fights with cats under the house and I had numerous opportunities to go to school smelling like a skunk. We had very little money for a long time and it never bothered me to go to Goodwill to find someone else's hand-me-downs. Alcoholism ran rampant in numerous generations, but so did many good things. Despite these things that sound pretty awful (and they were), there was a lot of laughter. There was a lot of joy. There was a lot of love.
We also had so much fun. We went fishing and camping all the time. My dad is an avid hunter and I saw the beauty of God's creation in the mountains before I ever knew he was the one who created them.
I am the oldest of four girls. There was a lot of estrogen present in our house. My dad was always wildly outnumbered. Our parents didn't raise us to be girly-girls though. We were pretty scrappy or some may call it unpolished or rough around the edges.
I have struggled with perfectionism my whole life. I even found a note (really my to-do list) that I wrote when I was 8 years old that said, "Never make a mistake ever." That characteristic served me well in public school as I could out work most kids and that led to academic excellence. I would get paid one dollar for every A or A+ on my report card. Anything below that (including an A-) was just fifty cents.
I was not raised in a Christian home. We prayed before meals, but we didn't go to church. My Sunday mornings were filled with cranking the radio on the old Ford pick-up listening to Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson & Charlie Daniels.
My childhood was filled with self-ambition, doing everything for my own glory, and seeing how far I could push most limits.
The Death of My Sister
The somewhat short version of that story is when I was 14 years old, my mom and 3 sisters and I were traveling home from a Girl Scout meeting. We were a mile and half away from home and as we crested a hill, there was a woman on the wrong side of the country road and hit us head on. The impact was hard and my sister, Heather, was sitting in the back seat, and with only a lap belt on, which was customary at that time, flew forward and broke her neck. Heather was 10 years old at the time of her death. My baby sister and I had minimal physical injuries. My 2nd sister and Mom sustained injuries that were much more severe.
Because of the extreme situation, Mom went into shock and within a moment I was making adult decisions, dealing with a very adult situation. In that very brief period of time I was forced to grow up and there is no going back from an experience like that.
It was an incredibly dark time of my life.
I did not know the Lord and I was absolutely haunted by the darkness.
I Meet the Cowboy and Jesus
Let's skip ahead 5 years: I headed off to Colorado State University be pursue a degree in Biology and my Secondary Teaching License and I eventually bumped in to this tall, exceptionally quiet cowboy in August of 1999. We met the first day of his freshman year. I was a Resident Assistant in Newsom Hall and working the front desk. He seemed intriguing to me, but I was very use to dating the guy right next to him. Big muscles, lots of personality, talkative… Roy was pretty scrappy, barely smiled while hiding under his hat and didn’t say a word.
For the next few months I would gather residents and we would go dancing at the Sundance, and ultimately Roy was joining. Finally, in November Roy invited me to go to his church to see a performance called, “Heaven’s Gates, and Hell Flames”.
A day that changed my life was November 2, 1999.
I was not a church goer and I was pretty certain God hated me.
Or at least He should, because I certainly hated Him.
During the performance they went through various scenarios where people would discuss their faith and in each scene they would die and would either be taken up to heaven or be swept into hell. In one of the final scenes a family is traveling down the road and talking about how much they missed little Sarah. She was 10 years when she died. All of the sudden the entire family is killed in a car accident and standing up by the pearly gates with Jesus was Sarah.
I wanted that.
I wanted to see my sister again and I knew the only way to her was through Jesus. We all have reasons why we give our life to Christ – we need help out of an addiction, our marriage is falling apart, our reasons are plenty and the means really don’t matter. Jesus accepts everyone who says “Yes!” I gave my life to Christ that evening. This was the first date with the man who would become my future husband and it was a pretty overwhelming experience for both of us. I know he was sure hoping for this outcome, but wasn't quite prepared for hearing my life story until 2 am.
Do you realize that if Roy had not stepped out in faith I likely would still not know the savior of the world?
If he had not dared to share his faith we me, my soul may still be lost.
We followed that pretty dramatic first date with pizza and hiking 3 days later.
Marriage & Infertility
Roy and I dated for 3.5 years and then FINALLY got married. Boy, that seemed like an eternity. We enjoyed our early years of marriage, and had standard hardships like many others - balancing finances, working on communication, learning which way the toilet paper would go, etc.
After one year of marriage we decided it was time to start a family. I had always loved kids and couldn't wait to have my own. We moved to Wyoming a year later and we continued to struggle to get pregnant. The longing and aching in my heart was overwhelming. I loved teaching anatomy at Sheridan College, but I really just wanted to be a mommy.
We went in and got tested and everything was okay??? What does that mean? If everything is okay, why isn't it working?
Two of my primary verses the Lord laid on my heart during that time of waiting was James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above.” I did. I wanted a perfect baby. I was willing to wait for that. The Lord very strongly laid on my heart Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future.”
We as women who have ever struggled with infertility know, your reminder that you are not pregnant comes every month. After 35 months we finally got pregnant. Our firstborn came on scene in January of 2008 in a raging Wyoming blizzard.
A Journey for His Glory - My Time with Cancer
You can click here to read some of my blog posts about my journey with cancer.
My Baby Dies in My Arms
You can click here to read some of my blog posts about my baby boy dying in my arms.