I grew up in a small Iowa town. I was raised in a loving and supportive family, and we went to church on a weekly basis. I participated in all of the required activities and traditions that my church told me I needed to do in order to be in God’s favor (infant baptism, first communion, confirmation, and frequent reconciliation). Even though I worked hard to be a good kid and participated in all of my church’s activities, looking back, I was living to please others, not the Lord.
I never questioned my religious upbringing until my later years in high school. I remember sitting in church on various occasions and having this feeling that there just had to be more. God divinely placed Nick, my future husband, right in front of me in chemistry class. I began attending the local evangelical church where Nick had attended nearly all of his life. What started off as an “every once in a while” visit to his church and youth group, became more and more routine. I heard for the first time that no amount of good works would get me into heaven (). I learned what Jesus’ death on the cross meant that I could live in righteousness (1 Peter 2:24). I came to know that if I repented from my sins and chose to follow Jesus, I’d spend eternity in heaven (). These were things I had never heard before. On January 4, 1999 I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. I had finally found my something more in Him.
After high school, I moved on to Iowa State and got plugged into a campus youth group and its host church. After college, we married and moved around a lot for Nick’s job. With each move, we always sought out a new church right away. It was a few years before we both began to develop a heart for ministry, and it happened in an unlikely place–Las Vegas, where we lived for 6 years. We became members of a mega-church a ½ mile from our home and decided to volunteer on their Children’s Ministry team on a weekly basis. That amazing experience continued to reside in our hearts when we moved back to Iowa. Now, we are plugged into High Pointe Church and are helping with the children’s ministry here. Jesus says to his disciples in Mark 9:35:
And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant to all.”
It is a huge blessing to meet families week-in and week-out, get to know the kids, and to serve Jesus in this way.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (ESV)
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (ESV)