I’ve known the Lord my entire life. I was privileged to grow up in the church; I’ve spent time in Baptist, Inter- and Non-Denominational Ministries. I felt the pull to Jesus for the first time as a child. I really loved learning about Jesus and about the Word of God. I also just loved serving in church and was actively involved in the youth ministries at the different churches we attended throughout my life. But there was always one aspect of the ministry that was missing for me, and that was community. While on the one hand, I helped teach Sunday School and was receiving training as a youth minister from the age of 14, on the other hand, I was lonely. Most of the youth were younger than me and entrusted to my care or guidance as a leader. I had no peers; this made me a perfect candidate for abuse which unfortunately happened in one of the churches we attended. So, when I went to college, I tried to amend that, but found I still was unable to connect to those who would live up to an imagined “standard” that I didn’t realize had been developed within me. Eventually, I fell away. I never stopped communing with and seeking God, I just distanced myself from the church and His congregation in pursuit of connection with those in the “world.”

This led to further alienation that turned into strongholds like arrogance, and unhealthy expectations of myself. I would seek the knowledge of God while denying its power (2 Tim 3:5) because I would not accept that He was still at work in me. I became hard on myself, unforgiving of myself, bitter towards others. This was all because I just could not accept that after everything I had endured, God still loved, called, justified, glorified, and sanctified me (Romans 8:30). Finally in 2015, after losing everything I’d been striving for, I just gave up. I surrendered to God fully and asked Him to heal me from what I’d been experiencing. I confessed I didn’t want to live without connecting to people who were truly connected to Him, and who would care for me instead of use me. I told God that I was sick of doing things my way, and I wanted to go back to doing them His way.

God restored my relationship with my now-husband by allowing us to reconnect after 8 years of silence between us. And through that relationship, he brought me back into the fold by allowing me to be accepted by and certified in the church my husband attended. Finally, he brought us here to Washington and allowed us to connect with the community of believers here at City Central. By experiencing the Knowing Freedom and Living Freedom classes, God has reminded me of what He has been trying to show me all along while delivering me from the strongholds that had me bound. I thank God every day for the connections and developing relationships that we’re building here at the church. He continues to restore me, and each day with Jesus just keeps getting better and better. Amen.