My dad was raised in a very strict Mennonite household. He saw religion as a set of rules and traditions that he didn't want to follow and in an act of rebellion, he moved out of his house at the age of 15. My mom occasionally attended a Presbyterian church with her family but when she married my dad, they only set foot in a church for a wedding or funeral.
I can count on one hand the number of times I was in a church as I grew up. My dad was an alcoholic and wasn't home much which left my mom very angry and bitter and they divorced while I was in college.
When I graduated from Illinois State University in December of 1986 with a teaching degree, I packed my car and headed to the warmer climate of DeSoto, Texas and lived with my aunt and uncle for a few months until I got my own apartment. I was a substitute teacher during the day and a waitress in the evenings and on weekends.
One of the customers that frequented the restaurant, wrote "Jesus Loves You" on the ticket as he checked out each time. I thought that was very peculiar because the only time the name Jesus was used in my family was when my dad was mad or in a drunken stupor.
That summer, my future husband, Richard, came to the restaurant with a group of guys from his church and asked me on a date. He took me to dinner and prayed over the meal (that was a first for me). As the night progressed, he made the statement that he wasn't afraid to die. That got my attention because I just assumed that everyone was afraid to die. I was eager to learn more about the peace that was so evident in his life.
I started attending church with him and as we talked, the biggest obstacle he had to overcome was convincing me that I was a sinner. I thought of myself as a "good person" and had a hard time labeling myself as a sinner. After all, I wasn't anything like my dad! The Lord convicted me, however, and I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior in September of 1987.
We got married in March of 1988 and our first child was born in 1990. We raised our children in church and regularly attended church on Wednesdays and Sundays. We served many years in the Children/Awana ministries but when we moved to Frisco in 1999, we stopped serving on a regular basis and turned our focus on raising our kids and our jobs.
It wasn't until we started attending Hope Fellowship a couple of years ago that I truly got my eyes off of myself and really started serving and loving others. I have grown more in my walk with the Lord these last two years than all the other years combined. We are part of an incredible Home Group and we serve at Hope and/or in our community on a weekly basis.
I try my best to start each day by reading His Word and praying so that I can become more like Jesus. My desire is to change someone’s life forever just as Richard helped change mine forever.