Linda's Testimony

Linda_2.jpg

At Resurrection Church, we want to share stories of how God is working in our lives, as individuals and as a community. We are a church of real people, with lives that aren’t perfect but where grace abounds.

Stories of Grace is a way for us to let one another into our joy and our trials to encourage one another as we witness the steadfast love of God. We hope this story is an encouragement to you.

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I (Linda) grew up in Tacoma, not within any kind of Faith. I rejected the idea of Christianity early on as a young adult. I felt like it was one of many religious myths.

Right out of highschool I started dating Mat (who is my husband now) and we dated off and on for a couple years but it didn’t work out because we were really young and our lives took different paths.

I spent a lot of time seeking and trying to figure out what I believed about spirituality, God and the afterlife. I decided that I thought there was a God but I didn’t think there was Heaven or Hell. And then I had a really bad experience with someone that I thought I was lead to be with and from there I rejected God.

About a year and a half ago, Mat contacted me on Facebook. I hadn’t spoken with him in almost 25 years. His wife had left him and he thought of me and so he reached back out to me. He was a Christian and that was, to me, a reason we shouldn’t date. We thought very differently about faith and politics, but I was so drawn to him because I was so crazy for him before. We started seeing each other and we knew right away that this was it; I’d be with him, he’d be with me, as soon as we reconnected.

And so I really came to Jesus through my relationship with Mat because he was a Christian and going to church every week. So I started going to church with him because I just didn’t want to not be with him, not because I wanted to be at church. In fact, it was quite hard for me to be at church because it flew in the face of what I believed and reminded me that what I believed was super harsh.

After a couple of months I often would leave super sad because of the reminder of what I believed; that my life was just going to end and that everything I knew would just end. It was really hard to re-face over and over, because it is a super harsh reality.

So it started getting to a point where I felt like I couldn’t even go with him because I would come home and be depressed for a day or two. It was hitting me really hard. And so I told him I would just wait in the lobby when he would go to church because I still wanted to be with him.

Matt never pressured me about Christianity. If I had questions he’d just try his best to answer them. He was very understanding if I felt like I couldn’t do church.

Then suddenly I had a connection point where I felt like there was something more to me that is expansive. There is something about me that feels eternal. I think that was the first crack in my defenses towards Jesus.

Shortly after that I started reading a lot of books for skeptics and listening to a lot of podcasts from different churches and videos of different apologists and continued to go to church with Mat. Even though I didn’t believe, I wanted to hear.

On Palm Sunday I talked with Pastor Bubba, asking questions like, “Is this really real? It feels like it’s a myth. Am I going to buy into something that’s not real like I did before?” And Pastor Bubba said “It’s the real myth, think of it that way. It sounds like a myth but it’s real.”

Later that day I was reading more and I had a moment where I just crossed over! I was like, “Oh my goodness! I can’t deny that this is real!” And having studied and read so much about the history and all the supporting information about why Christianity IS real and these events REALLY happened and this IS what Jesus said and He CAN be believed. I just finally had that moment, where it was undeniable. How could I not believe?

I got baptized on Easter and two weeks later Matt and I got married.

I feel like it was intended that I be Christian before we got married. Because a Christian marriage is so much more bonded. You have that connection with Christ and you’re both pursuing Christ.

I think that Christ used Matt to come find me to bring me home. Almost every day we have a conversation about how I cannot believe this is my reality.




 

Perfectly Loved by God

At Resurrection Church, we want to share stories of how God is working in our lives, as individuals and as a community. We are a church of real people, with lives that aren’t perfect but where grace abounds.

Stories of Grace is a way for us to let one another into our joy and our trials to encourage one another as we witness the steadfast love of God. We hope this story is an encouragement to you.

 

StoriesOfGrace

Can you give us a little background on what you’ve been struggling with?

Brittany: About 6 weeks after my baby, Harper, was born my husband, Joe and I started realizing that I had depression. It started with feeling like I didn’t really want to be a mom, like I didn’t want to be doing life, all the everyday activities, I didn’t have the energy. I didn’t want to be in community or to be around people. Eventually it turned into anxiety and I ended up in the emergency room, not really knowing what was going on, and feeling like I was dying. I was diagnosed with postpartum depression and anxiety and ever since then we’re just trying to figure out how to deal with it.

What has that process of “dealing with it” look like for you?

Brittany: First it looked like telling people that I was struggling and not being closed off. Then realizing that it is actually a medical condition and that it is not just a failing, or not being good enough. And reaching out to a counselor was really helpful too.

Where has God been through this struggle and what has He been teaching you through it?

Brittany: I think at first, before I knew what I was struggling with, I felt like God wasn’t there, even though he was. I isolated myself from people and from God and basically tried to run away from him instead of running to him for comfort. But now, after realizing that I was running away from God and what he is actually calling me to is relationship with him, I feel the presence of God in my life. He did not leave me because God never leaves us! He actually wants me to bring my depression anxiety to him to heal me; to heal my heart; to heal my body physically.

I guess that he needed me to see that I cannot do life on my own. I can’t raise my babies on my own just by being a good mom, because that’s impossible, especially when you have depression and you want to lay on the couch and you have anxiety and you feel like you’re going to vomit all day long. You just can’t be there mentally for your children. But he’s been showing me that I need to bring all of my fears and all of my anxiety to him.

A lot of my depression anxiety is performance based, and not feeling lovable. So I think the biggest thing that God has shown me is that I am perfectly loved by him, and that I don’t have to have my life together, that I don’t have to feel happy all the time, or secure all the time, to be loved by him. I can have anxieties and fears but I need to bring them to him so that I can let him show me truth instead of letting Satan come in and feed me lies and make me more distant from him.

Also, God puts people in our lives to help us because it is so easy to isolate yourself and feel like nobody understands what you’re going through. But God puts community in our lives to run to in time of need. And I’m slowly learning that.

He’s been teaching me to run to him and that He provides comfort and joy in the midst of suffering, which I didn’t actually think was possible before.

What would you tell other moms that may be struggling with postpartum depression or depression anxiety?

Brittany: That it is okay. A lot of people struggle with it on different levels. And to actually seek help from your friends and talk about it even if it is incredibly uncomfortable! You are loved by a perfect God so you don’t have to be put together enough to be loved. Trust that God loves you in your fogginess, in your sadness, when you can’t be 100%.

Another thing is, I know it is really hard to get up and read your Bible and pray but you should see that as a lifeline and not just something to do when you feel like it. The word genuinely gives you life and clears your mind. When you have depression your mind is so foggy so going to the Bible daily is just so helpful, so practical. It’s amazing when I see it as medicine for my soul.

Confidence in God

A native of Tacoma, Mike Doidge grew up in an Irish Catholic family.  While attending a Catholic Junior High School, he began a personal process of soul searching, seeking answers about God.  Having been given a Bible by someone at his school, he started reading.  It was an eye-opening experience for him; one that he found raised a lot of questions, and launched him into a personal quest to find out “who is God?”

Mike enlisted in the Navy in the 1970’s, shipping out on an aircraft carrier to points around Vietnam and the South Pacific.  While serving, he found himself drawn to, and heavily influenced by a fellow crewman in his division, who happened to be a Christian.  Through the course of fellowship and study, Mike gave his life to Christ in 1975.

He would later return to Tacoma in the 1980’s, where he met his future wife Roxanne; while attending Life Center Church, in Tacoma together.   The two were married, and soon set off to wander the world, with Mike returning to the Navy as a commissioned officer.  

StoriesOfGrace

What was your experience as a Christian in the Navy?

Mike:  As a typical sailor, you would go drink your pay, and things like that.  I questioned that, because I didn’t see it as being right.  But then, if you wouldn't run with the crowd, you’d get labeled… ‘You’re not really one of us.’  There was a lot of peer pressure.  The thing is, forty-some years later, I’m very good friends with these guys still.  And we all have a common respect for the guy who led a lot of us to the Lord.  So we share a common salvation.

How did you deal with the challenges you faced?

Mike:  As a Christian, I found new confidence.  I had been insecure and more introverted; and then with the acceptance of Christ, came more of a freedom, confidence, and maturity; to step out and be bold, wherever I was at.  It was like Christ would go with me, or his angels would go before me.  I felt comfortable in whatever circumstance I was put in.  And I knew I was a believer.  

I was on a submarine, and I started leading a Bible study.  I had the opportunity to be with other sailors, and be one who could be counted on. We could share our Christian faith easily in the service; and throughout my career, my faith was always there.  It was kind of like part of our uniform.  I remember having different sailors, get together in the morning to have a power moment, as we called it; a prayer for each other to start our day.  And then we would be available to each other for counseling.  

How did God change you during your Navy Career?

Mike:  I think He strengthened me.  We would go to places where we had no idea why we were there, but the thing is, that God put us there.  I always felt that we were sent on assignments where God had a reason for us to be; and I found it exciting.  It was cool to see how God worked in our lives wherever we were located.  

How have you seen God working in your life now?

Mike:  I see Him through our grandchildren.  Basically as grandparents, we’re here to help.  We’re the patriarchs.  So we are encouraging our children, and our children’s children, to grow up in the Lord; and know the Lord.  It’s one of our big duties now.  Give them training in the way they should go, and give them encouragement, and unconditional love.  Be like Jesus.

How does knowing God and experiencing His love and grace affect your interactions with others?

Mike: I’m more free to talk to people.  We’re all brothers and sisters in Christ.  I start with the perspective that we’re already like family.  It also means that I’m not afraid to approach strangers.  It’s those chance encounters, that I think God just might want us to touch someone; or get in prayer; or say, “can I help you?”  Sometimes it can blow your mind, what God might do.  I met this guy coming out of the post office and he seemed pretty upset.  I stopped and talked to him for a moment.  After he left, I thought, ‘maybe I need to talk more to him.’  We ran into each other again, at Costco; so we were able to continue the conversation.  To me, God is doing that, because maybe He wants to see something planted in somebody.  And I always thought I was just the dishwasher, like with Philip in Acts.  He helped in Jerusalem, in the kitchens, and then suddenly he was sent out by God to meet the Ethiopian.  I always thought of him as one of my heroes.  You may think you’re just someone assigned to the dishwashing duties of the kitchen of Heaven.  But He may have other plans for you too.

Mike officially retired from the Navy in 2005, working for a while with the Charles Wright Academy in Tacoma.  He now enjoys being able to spend time with, and help out, his wife; and spending time with their twelve grandchildren.  About his time in the Navy, Mike says “I just feel like the Lord was helping me, from that time, and I love where I’ve been.  He’s always held us wherever we’ve gone.  We’ve wandered the world...but we’ve found the same spirit in all these places.”

God our Father

StoriesOfGrace

What has God been teaching you this past year?

Sarah: God is teaching me that He is a very relentless Father. Lovingly relentless I should say. He has been teaching me that He will do anything in order to get my attention. It was almost two years ago I found out that I was, unexpectedly, pregnant. And that definitely got my attention; it was shocking and scary.

Then, almost a year ago, Ben came into my life. I was just blown away by love—the love that I felt for him. After that I realized a whole different dimension of how Jesus loves His kids, because I had no idea how much capacity I had to love Ben. I was amazed how much I loved him just because of who he is as my child.

If Jesus loves me like that, then I don't need to fear anything. I don’t need to be scared about single motherhood; I don’t need to feel condemned for the sin that I committed, because I wouldn’t think twice about forgiving my child. If that’s even a small reflection of what Jesus feels about me, then I don’t need to feel ashamed or like a second-class Christian.

Motherhood is hard, especially single motherhood: there’s a dimension of loneliness to it that’s really painful sometimes. Jesus has used that place of painful loneliness to keep me really dependent on Him. It’s very comforting to know that our Savior was content and satisfied in His heavenly Father. This is something I think of often to remind me that I am not lacking anything because I have a good and faithful God.

How have you seen God’s grace demonstrated to you in your experience of single motherhood?

Sarah: In a lot of ways. Primarily through my church family; I’ve always felt a lot of support and gracious love from my community group, the pastors I met with, and even in my own family. God has given grace to people to love me well. Also, experiencing the joy of having a young child. That’s a huge gift—I don’t deserve to have a sweet little baby boy, at all. Just having him, his presence in my life, is such an indescribable blessing. There’s nothing I could do to deserve that, and it’s a huge reminder of grace. Every time I walk into his room and he’s smiling in his crib, I’m reminded: this is the way Jesus loves you, He gives you this.

Called to Serve Our Kids

kidsministry

We sat down with Renee recently and asked her to share about serving in our kids ministry.

Q. Why Do you serve in kids ministry?

A. I serve in kids Ministry because I feel deeply called by Jesus to invest in the lives of kids. I love seeing the pure joy and excitement in kids when they start to understand the Gospel. It makes me want to take that feeling, bottle it up and share it with everyone I know!

kidsministry

Q. How do the kids evidence the gospel of Jesus to you? 

A. Kids evidence the gospel by showing me what forgiveness and grace mean in a simple way, the way Jesus designed them to be. The gospel isn't meant to be complicated and children always remind me of how simple and beautiful Jesus' love for sinners is.

kidsministry

Q. How has serving deepened your love for God? 

A. Serving has deepened my love for God because I always get more out of it than I actually give and in turn it causes me to be in awe of how sovereign, loving and gracious God really is.  Also it has helped me to see how much He is working and shaping the lives of His children so they can serve Him!

kidsministry

Q. What encouragement would you have for those who want to serve, but are hesitant to try kids ministry? 

A. I would tell them that serving in kids Ministry is going to bless them more than they could imagine if they would give it a try! There is a unique beauty and joy in serving God's children, and kids are so much fun to love on and invest in! Plus, in kids Ministry there's never a dull moment!

kidsministry

Shaping Culture: Recap

Earlier this month, Resurrection Church had the unique opportunity of hosting an evening of worship and learning that brought together the communities of three Stadium District churches.  

The event included teaching from First Presbyterian Church, New Community Church, and Resurrection Church; with worship led by musicians from New Community Church.  The teaching focused on our call as disciples of Jesus Christ, throughout the South Puget Sound and beyond, to shape and to engage the culture around us.      

Pastor Eric Jacobsen - First Presbyterian Church

Pastor Eric Jacobsen - First Presbyterian Church

Pastor Eric Jacobsen, of First Presbyterian Church, spoke about the fragmentation of the culture in which we live, and the importance of our intentional placement within it.  Citing God's intentional placement of Adam in Genesis 2:8 as an example for us, he taught “You now live in a particular place. And I believe that God can use that place to grow you as a disciple, and to utilize you in His mission to reconcile all of creation to Himself.”

He went on to discuss some of the common barriers and distractions to loving our neighbors that are hardwired into our culture (i.e. - television, mobile devices, isolation from neighbors), and how we can overcome them together; stressing the importance of church covenant community, which he believes can “pull us out of the insularity and the fragmentation our culture is commanding on us.”

 
Pastor Bo Noonan - New Community Church

Pastor Bo Noonan - New Community Church

The second speaker was Pastor Bo Noonan, from New Community Church, who opened with a reading of Colossians 1:15-20.  He talked about what it looks like to see Jesus preeminent in all areas of our lives, including our careers; presenting an illustration of the “8 Domains of Society.”  These are eight categories of work that can be found in every society in the world (family, economics, agriculture, education, etc.); and each of us falls into at least one.  Pastor Bo explained that we need to break and denounce the cultural lie that we have a church life and a separate work life; seeing instead the need for Jesus' reign in all areas of life.  He emphasized that “if we are people living under the reign and rule of Jesus, and we're submitted to the reign and rule of Jesus, then we need to invite His jurisdiction, and His reign, and His will, into our domains.”    

 
Pastor Bubba Jennings - Resurrection Church

Pastor Bubba Jennings - Resurrection Church

The final speaker of the evening was Pastor Bubba, of Resurrection Church, who spoke about our ability to engage culture through our stories; recognizing that everyone has a story, and that their story is a part of God's greater story.  He stated that “when we understand that to influence people and shape culture requires us helping them understand that they’re part of a greater story than themselves, then we will look for opportunities to connect them to God’s story.”  

To illustrate this, Pastor Bubba shared the account of St. Patrick, the first missionary Bishop, who engaged the “unreachable” people of the story-loving tribal culture who once held him enslaved, through sharing God's story with them; inviting them in to become a part of it themselves.   

 

Samuel, who attended the event with friends Mark and AJ, resonated particularly with the idea of sharing stories.  He shared this thoughts: “I think telling a more compelling story is pretty huge in evangelizing.  And really telling a story that implies that there’s something more than just being saved… a redemption of our lives and the passion that we have in Christ to share Him with other people."

An Undeserved Gift

How have you seen God working in your life lately?

 

Colby:

"Well I got in a pretty bad car accident recently and God has really been showing and teaching me some stuff in that. 

When I got in the accident, all I could think about was that my life is awful, that this is the worst thing that could happen me in this exact moment.

I had just taken off my jacket while sitting in traffic and hadn’t put might seatbelt back on yet when we started moving again.

The fact that i wasn’t wearing my my seatbelt at the time of my accident and ended up ok is really crazy. 

Everyone that was in my Community Group was reminding me, “You should be thankful to be alive!” 

I didn’t want to hear that.

But Jesus was pouring into my life through these friends and helping me to stop thinking about how my car was totaled and think about how God had grace on my life. 

You could say, "it was just a car accident”, but I’ve been more appreciative and thankful this week, realizing how good Jesus is.  

God showed me through the accident that I do not deserve anything, but he's given me everything with a single breath of life. 

A verse that has wrecked me is Hebrews 12:3-5. It reminds me that no matter what tragedy or bloodshed occurs to me, I'm saved by grace to enter the gates of heaven, and that pain and bloodshed still will never equate to the crucifixion of Jesus."