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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.

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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
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."

Christ at The Center

How has God been changing you and working in your life this year?

Bryan:

"For one, we just recently got married in December and that has been an experience that I was completely unprepared for that God uses to grow you in ways you didn’t know you needed to be grown or could grow. My friend who got married a couple years before us would say, “marriage is the hardest and most fulfilling thing that I’ve ever done,” and I didn’t know how to comprehend that until I got married. In the last year that’s what stands out the most; the way that God uses someone that you love so much to reveal to you ways that you need to grow. Every single day I know that there’s an opportunity for me to show the love of Christ to Devon and also to receive grace. There are a lot of growing pains and a lot of grace needed to figure out what it looks like for us to be married and to have Christ at the center of our relationship."

Devon:

"When we got engaged I was living in Arizona with my family, and so when God clearly gave us this direction, it became a matter of me walking in obedience quickly to the Lord. In that journey of learning to trust the Lord, it was different from how my relationship had been with God in the past, and I wanted to trust him so much but it was also very hard not to just plan everything very well.

But walking in faith and obedience and seeing how rewarding that can be and how that was way more comforting to me than holding onto everything more tightly. Moving away from my family to Washington because that’s where He’d called my husband to be and a community that he was flourishing in and clearly that God’s hand was a part of, having courage and relying on Him for that strength which throughout my faith has been a difficult thing.

The tale of my story was that I really struggled with trusting in God even when I really wanted to and at the end of the day I would always rely on my own strength. God gave me a really beautiful opportunity and it’s come with a lot of blessings and rewards and more things to work through, through marriage and learn about myself and about how to love other people.

As frustrating as it can be sometimes, marriage is the best place to see how ugly you can be and then to really feel sorrow for that. When it’s the person you love the most and you see those things in yourself and how you can love them better and it’s a really beautiful relationship to grow because God is so faithful to it."

 

God is Enough

What Has God been teaching you lately?

Jenny: 

"That God is enough. That I don’t have to do things in order to earn his love, his approval. That really just trusting in him is enough.

It’s a lesson that I always have to keep relearning, as somebody who likes to plan and know what’s going on all the time and be in control.

That has probably been one of the hardest things, learning that God’s just going to do it and he’s going to be there for me and no matter how much planning and doing he has a plan. I kind of need to be just like, okay, and surrender and realize his way is going to be the best and he’s what I need to lean on instead of all the things that I’m trying to busy myself with.

If I’m so busy trying to be in control of everything you miss out on what God’s really doing. So I think that I’ve really learned to start to step back and that finally see that there’s joy, comfort, peace, all of those things that you can be so busy trying to do on your own; because God’s will and his way is going to be perfect for me.

If I look at my life, where it’s gone, I would never have scripted any of it, but even though a lot of things were really hard, it’s where I'm at and that I have a life with Jesus is like way amazing."

 

All For Christ
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Q: How has God grown you in this last year? What is he teaching you?

John:

"The Lord has really blessed us this last year. With our third daughter on the way, the physical growth of our family is incredible.

The spiritual growth in my own life has been really centered around God teaching me perseverance at work and with my relationships.

He’s given me greater patience with other people and helped me see that all that we do in life is for Christ.”

Our Good Father
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How have you seen God work in your life over 2015 and into this new year?

Natalie: 

"I’ve been going to God with my anxiety and fear. Moving from California to go to school here was hard but in that God has been showing me how good of a father He is, and how he provides and follows through.

If I take a step in faith, no matter what it is, God will follow through.

He's given me boldness. Before, I would be afraid to step in a sanctuary. Walking in and having people greeting me was super intimidating. To see God putting a desire in my heart to participate in music and talking to and sharing the Gospel with people, It's something I would have never done before.

God has created me the way he has created me for a a purpose and for a reason and there are people I can reach that others can't. He's showing me how to be faithful in that, to step out, even with fear sometimes. The result is that you have even more faith and less fear.

Before I had the mentality that when God broke me free my fear I'd step out to witness to others be he's been showing me that in stepping out my fear is being broken."

The Blessing of Church Family

How has God been working in your life this last year and into 2016?
 

Chelsea:

"God has really blessed me with a great community this year.

I was able to spend the last two Christmases with Deacon Jim and Kathy. With not a lot of family in the area, it’s sweet to have the blessing of extended family in the church.

I’ve also grown a lot in a great community this year, with a group of people that are, as cliche as it sounds, in the "same stage of life”. Really though, it’s an intentional community of people that are praying together, challenging one another and having fun together."