My testimony begins early, as I was almost aborted. Read about that here. I am thankful my parents became Christians shortly after I was born, so I had the wonderful privilege of being raised in a family where God, church, and ministry were very important. My dad led our family in devotions, so I had exposure to the gospel from the time I was a toddler. I remember him making me memorize the Baptist distinctives at a young age. 🙂
My personal relationship with Jesus Christ, however, began during a church revival meeting when I was eight years old. While I certainly cannot remember all the details of the sermon that night, I do distinctly recall that the salvation message was clear. I came under heavy conviction and knew I needed to respond to the Holy Spirit.
Our pastor’s wife took me aside, walked through the Scriptures with me and questioned me to examine my readiness and knowledge of the gospel. Even at the young age of eight, I knew that I was a sinner, that I deserved hell and separation from God, but that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, had paid the price for my sins and offered me the free gift of His salvation. I love the verses in Ephesians 2:8, 9 that teach there is NOTHING I could do to earn my way to God or heaven, but that Jesus offers salvation as a FREE gift, by grace through faith.
John 3:16 expresses God’s incredible love for mankind, that He would send His only Son to pay sin’s penalty for the whole world, and Romans 10: 13 gives the promise that whosever would call upon Jesus Christ in faith, will be saved.
I bowed my head in prayer that night and poured my little heart out to God. He has promised to not turn away those who believe in Him, and I am happy to say that I became a child of God that evening. I was baptized a few weeks later.
During the rest of my childhood, my faith never wavered. I was blessed to have a Christian education (through Christian school and homeschool) and my faith grew. My heart’s prayer has always been that I would be “used up” for God in whatever way He wants to use me.
As the oldest of six children, babies and childcare were a very natural part of even my childhood, and I have always hoped for a whole houseful of children to raise for the Lord. My childhood heroes were missionaries: Amy Carmichael, Gladys Aylward, and Elisabeth Elliot. I surrendered to missions when I was very young and vividly remember praying that I could be a missionary to orphan children and rescue little ones from abuse someday.
I met my sweet husband at Ambassador Baptist College. We became wonderful friends and later had a whirlwind courtship. He too, was a committed Christian and we found our life values were amazingly similar. We are both wholly committed to serving God with our family, to having a godly home, to sacrificing ourselves for our children, to serving faithfully in church and ministry, to welcoming the children God chooses to bless us with, to choosing God-honoring hobbies and entertainment, to home-educating our children, and to living as debt-free as possible.
The Lord used a period of infertility early in our marriage to further open and burden our hearts to the blessing of children, adoption, and orphan care. After a miracle conception of our oldest biological daughter, we were blessed with three busy little boys. Since that time, three girls have also joined our family (via international adoption), one more biological boy was born, and our ninth child came to us after a disrupted adoption.
I am an organized, passionate, committed stay-at-home-mama and orphan advocate. The Lord has used our adoption preparation, education, and experiences to cement in my mind that orphan ministry is not only a passion, but also a life-long calling.
The “pleasures” the world have to offer fade when compared to living a life of sacrifice for my Lord. I have fully surrendered my heart to His will and am excited to continue serving Him alongside my husband, reaching the “least of these” with His life-changing gospel of redemption. Our hearts desire is to utilize our intense and extensive orphan training to further a ministry that will meet not only the necessary physical and emotional needs of children, but to ultimately—and most importantly—reach their spiritual needs.
I blog over at Perspectives in Parenting–a resource for Christian families.