When our family first visited Hope, it was right on the heels of losing my my mom. I was grieving the loss of both parents, but at the same time feeling even closer to God, because I was leaning on Him....hard! I was praying one morning before going to Hope and I told God that I thought that it probably wasn't okay to ask for signs, but that I had read about the concept of "setting out your fleece", and I asked if God would please give me some indication of whether or not Hope Fellowship is HOME, because as God knew, I was so tired.
So, that day we went to Hope and first of all, my daughter (then 4) went straight into EC without any struggle, and that was the first time she had done that EVER. Then when it came time for worship, Jen McGowan started singing the Twila Paris song, "Amazing Love." It was the only solo I had sung at the church back home (I'm not a good singer, it was slim pickings for female singers at that church). I looked up and tears streamed down my face. After that moment, I begin sinking my teeth into the Bible more than ever before and absorbing every bit of wisdom I could from every teaching.
I quickly jumped into a Bible Study that happened to be hosted by some of the most incredible women I had ever met! Soon after, Pastor John taught about how we sometimes need to look back at our childhood to help identify our passion in life, maybe even get an idea of God's call on our lives. I realized that when I was a little girl, I taught one of my dolls (not all, just one) pretend school, I worked on dance choreography of all kinds in my parents basement, and I incessantly challenged my brothers to fitness challenges (which one of us could lie down face up and hold our legs 6 " off the ground the longest, do the most sit ups, etc).
Now seven years later, I love waking up every day to go to work as a dance fitness instructor and I love those days when I homeschool my one daughter (remember the one doll school thing). Hope Fellowship literally mapped out for me God's will for my life and it has been, an continues to be an overwhelmingly good life. I have been blessed to make awesome connections with other ladies at Hope, and have had the great fortune of being able to volunteer in various ministries.
I try to learn as much as I can from each person that has lead me or continues to lead me at Hope... Julie, Kathie, Libba, Lorraine & now Tysha are amazing examples of how to do ministry without ego and really how to do life in a way that you know makes God smile on a regular basis. Honored to know them, much less work with them. Over and over again, everyone that I work with shows that same genuine love for people and authenticity that is so prevalent at Hope.
Plus, it seems like every other week I meet a new Christian at Hope, and you know they are just like sparklers for we long time Christians, it is just fun, because they keep us all fired up about this awesome undeserved Gift we have all been given. There is so much to be thankful for that it is overwhelming! I could have gone a completely different direction and written about how the Women's conference at the Embassy Suites changed my life, or how you (Hope Fellowship) have ministered to my daughter from the age of 4, and the list goes on forever of how Hope Fellowship has impacted my life and my family.