I knew that I wanted to share our story on our blog because although a lot of you know us personally, a lot of you don't. And even those who know us may not really know the details of what God has done in our lives. So I'm starting at the beginning. Our story is real, raw, and unrehearsed. I hope you read with an open heart._________________________________________________
But our story doesn’t end there obviously. Jeffry and I got married in June 2002 and had Brayden in January 2003. One of the hardest things we both ever had to do was to tell our parents, but they supported us every step of the way. What a blessing to have parents who loved the Lord to walk through this with us.
Over the course of our first year of marriage, we had Brayden, bought our first car, decided to open our own building supply store in Wiggins and bought our first house; most of these are things people do in the first five to ten years of marriage! We searched for a church in Wiggins and eventually settled down at one, but it just wasn’t what either of us were used to. It was small and just didn’t seem to be life-giving. I think we both knew that I was a little more spiritually mature then Jeffry was, especially evident when he did not understand why I wanted to go to special things at church. He was a good guy, but he had a good time at poker night with the guys and wasn’t ready to change that. Jeffry remembers me asking him one night, “Why can’t you and your friends ever get together without drinking beer?” He really didn’t have a great answer; he just said “That’s what we do. It’s how we have a good time”. Don’t get me wrong, I was not the picture of perfection either. I went to church more out of obligation because I grew up doing it and I knew it was the right thing to do. But we got to the point where church just wasn’t a priority any more. We would be up in plenty of time to get ready to go to a Sunday morning service, but it seemed like we could always find a reason not to go.
In February of 2006, we began attending Northwood Church. Jeffry was brought up Methodist and I was brought up Baptist, so we both had a lot of questions and were a little skeptical about Northwood because it was non-denominational. However, we continued to come to services, and we could not deny the power of God in that place. It was something we had been longing for and searching for when we really didn’t even know we were missing it. We loved the fact that the people at Northwood were REAL. We wanted Brayden and Caleb to grow up loving Jesus in an atmosphere like the one at Northwood.
We jumped in with both feet. We both attended an Encounter Retreat over the next few months, and then we started some discipleship classes in August 2006. We both grew spiritually by leaps and bounds during that period, and it was so great to do it together. Jeffry really stepped up as the spiritual head of our household. We really felt like we fit at Northwood and loved getting to know Jesus better with other people who loved Him and made Him their priority.
In December of that year, my grandfather passed away unexpectedly. He was supposed to be discharged from the hospital that Saturday morning, and my parents, my brother, and I were on our way to see him. He died before we got there. I was so mad at God. Why didn’t He give me the chance to get there and lay hands on my grandfather? I could have prayed for healing! Why did I not get that chance? I never got to say goodbye.
I felt like I just had my knees kicked out from under me. The day after the funeral I drove home and attended our church's Vision Convention that night. I remember singing, “You have turned my mourning into dancing”, and I just felt the release as I gave everything to the Lord. It took time, but God carried me through that dark place.
To Be Finished in Part 3 Tomorrow...