Seven years ago, Jesus broke into my life while I was sitting on a driftwood beach reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. Jesus said to me audibly “My daughter, I love you. Why are you doing these things?” Not in a condemning tone but with so much love in his words. He was talking about the season I’d been in, looking for belonging, justification and meaning at the tail end of a failed 7-year marriage and years of renunciation of religion on my part.

Jesus had been pursuing me, and had set me into a circle of people who really loved Him and were trying to know Him and walk with Him.They actually read the Bible and talked about Jesus all the time. I had called myself a Christian my whole life, but I didn’t know this Jesus they were talking about – though something in me wanted to. And that’s why I found myself sitting on that driftwood beach reading Mere Christianity in the first place! When Jesus spoke to me there and told me how beloved I am and called me out for the things I’d been doing that were opposite of what He intended for my life, I knew that everything was about to change.

I started reading the Bible and devouring sermons podcasts because I just wanted to know Jesus better. He called me into truth and repentance and SO MUCH GRACE. He gave me a new name both spiritually and literally through my now husband who loves Jesus too and was the one who had invited me into that circle of believers who talked so lovingly about Jesus.

Jesus has redeemed me and sanctified me through marriage. He has blessed us with kids when I had thought I never wanted to be a mom and showed me so much about his father heart toward me through them. He brought our family back to Tacoma and redeemed this place where I’d been through so much pain and accumulated so much shame. Then he set us into a church here where we have found so much freedom for that old shame and gained tools to fight the enemy of my soul when he tries to come at me again.

These days, when I read the storybook Bible version of the parable of the lost sheep to my kids, I always tell them “That was me! And my Good Shepherd found me and carried me back!” Someday I’ll tell them what I really mean by that, but for now every night when I tuck them in bed I pray that they will know Jesus, love Him and walk with Him every day of their lives.