I’ve had the “Getting Deeper” series for a while now and I had the thought that I’ve asked others to open up about their faith, but I’ve never opened up about myself and my journey. I thought it would be a nice change of pace to share a little bit more about me and my faith, and this feels like the perfect way to end 2019. These questions came from YOU on Instagram. So although I’m a little nervous, let’s do it! Let’s get deeper!
Hang on because this is a pretty long post!
Did you grow up in church?
I did grow up in the church. Both my mom and dad were raised by very strong Christian parents. My dad’s parents were strong servant leaders in their church with my grandma teaching Sunday school for years and being the church secretary while my grandpa being a strong quiet leader in the church. My mom’s parents were also very strong in their faith and active in their church community. My grandpa was a prison minister for as long as I can remember and my grandma was a dedicated volunteer in the church nursery.
My mom and dad actually met while he was on tour with his Christian music ministry and visited my mom’s church in East Texas. My dad was a music minister on and off my whole life and then became a senior pastor of a church when I was in middle school. My mom always served in the church nursery similar to her mom. So I was always at the church or at church events growing up.
What was it like being a Pastor’s Kid?
Being a PK (Pastor’s Kid for short) was not easy. It was fine when I was little because I didn’t really know otherwise, but when I got into high school it definitely got more challenging. I wouldn’t say I was rebellious but it was tough to always put on the face that everything was perfect because we were the pastor’s family. When I got into high school, the church my dad was a pastor of was in a low-income area and it became challenging to connect with the youth group. I really wanted to go to the church all my friends at school were going to but really couldn’t because of my dad. My faith became more of a chore than something that felt like my own.
However, it’s really cool to look back on my journey and see my family every step of the way. From my dad helping me ask Jesus into my heart, to baptizing me, to officiating Jared and I’s wedding. I mean it’s pretty cool to have my dad be involved in such monumental events in my life.
When did you become a Christian?
I became a Christian in 4th grade. I can remember it clear as day. I was laying in bed one night and felt all of these feelings and questions. I went into the living room and started asking my parent’s questions and made the decision that night in our living room. However, as I mentioned I felt like my faith truly didn’t become my own until college and maybe even later than that.
How did college affect your faith?
I should preface this by saying I went to a very small private Baptist university, so my college experience looks different than most peoples. So many people lose their faith when they start college, one stat even says “70 percent of Christian teens entering college walk away from their faith”. Because of my school and the environment, it wasn’t something I really even considered. Finding a church home was like finding my go-to grocery store when I was a freshman in college after all my school’s motto was “an education enlightened by faith” it was engulfed in everything I did.
I was required to take two Bible classes in college, which I opted for Old and New Testament. In my head, I thought “Oh, this will be easy. I’m a PK, I got this!” Let me tell you I only got one C in all four years and it was in Old Testament and I worked my booty off for that C!
Needless to say, between getting different perspectives, learning more about the Bible and having a strong community at our home church I really began to feel like my faith was my own. I knew what I believed and why and even if it was different than what my parent’s believed I had a reason for it and it wasn’t just because it’s all I ever knew.
What was one of the hardest things you’ve gone through in your faith?
So hmm…this is hard to talk about it because even people who are SUPER close to me don’t know this about me. Although I share my whole life online I’m actually a pretty private person. However, I included this question myself because I really wanted to open up about this because I think it could be helpful if someone is going through something similar.
So the summer after my freshman year of college, my mom attempted suicide and because of this and some other poor choices my mom made, it resulted in my dad losing his job as a pastor. I had so much anger, confusion, and resentment not only toward my mom and dad but also toward the church, the church system, and the church leaders. This was 100% one of the hardest things I’ve ever been through especially in my faith.
My mom and I are really close and prior to her attempt she had actually mentioned to me how she was considering it but had talked to my dad about it and everything was fine now. So that night when the first responders were searching our house to find out what she had taken, I was wrecked with guilt.
I had a lot of questions and just didn’t understand. That summer, I was alone I didn’t really have any friends back home and didn’t want to burden my new-ish friends from college with what was going on. I had just gone through a really hard break up (pre-Jared) and felt alone. I had to rely on God in this time because I felt like I didn’t have anyone else.
When I went back to school I pretended like everything was fine and talked to maybe 2 people about it but overall kept it a secret. I didn’t like talking about it because I would cry and I really HATE crying to people. Eventually, I ended up going to counseling. I am SO thankful my school had a great counseling program and offered free therapy to students. It seriously helped me with so much and I can not recommend therapy enough. Even long after I resolved my issues with my mom and my family it was so nice to talk to someone about my feelings and figure out what was going on in my head.
But through all of that, I had to rely on God. I had a plan, our life was “perfect”, everything was fine and then this happened. Because I am such an internal person I really just had myself and God, although I probably wouldn’t do it that way again I am thankful for how it made my relationship with God so much stronger.
Faith in your marriage/relationship
This is pretty broad but there were so many questions on this topic. The most common question was how did Jared and I discuss faith when we were dating and how we cultivate our faith in our relationship.
Since Jared and I went to a school that had so many religious requirements like mandatory chapel and required Bible classes it wasn’t even something I hesitated about. Of course, not everyone on campus was as strong in their faith but since we had mutual friends I knew enough about him prior to dating to know it was something that was equally as important to him.
For cultivating faith in our marriage, it’s been something we’ve both made a priority. Finding church home and attending regularly is something we’ve always agreed on. Even before we were married in Fort Worth we attended the same church and a small group together. I think having that foundation has made our marriage stronger.
Did you and Jared do pre-marital counseling?
Like I mentioned Jared and I went to a small school and “Ring By Spring” was all too real. It seemed like EVERYONE was getting engaged and getting married because it was the “cool” thing to do. Our church actually offered pre-engagement counseling because they found it relieved some of the pressure and the couples could be completely open without having to worry about the stress of a wedding. So we went through that and then once things became more real and we were actually engaged we went through a pre-marital class at our church in Fort Worth.
How did you and Jared find your home church in Arkansas?
Jared and I visited A LOT of church when we moved here. Since we are in a college town, there were some churches we visited where we were the oldest ones and that was a little weird for us. We both had a couple of things we were looking for like Jared didn’t want a mega-church and worship is really important to me along with beliefs and church leadership. After a lot of trying we finally found one, which is actually where a lot fo Jared’s co-workers go so it was easy to walk and already feel welcome because we knew people, but it did take us quite a while to find our church. So if you are in the process be patient.
What’s your favorite Bible verse?
My favorite Bible verse which is actually at the bottom of my blog is…
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
This verse is just a reminder, especially for the type 3 enneagram in me, that even if nothing else is achieved in my life it’s still complete if I’ve testified the glory of God.
How has your faith impacted your work environment?
Man, work and faith is such a tricky balance. I am so lucky that where I work now my faith and my work are intertwined. However, it’s definitely not always been like that. My first job out of college my boss and the owners were actually atheists, my next job was very much a work hard party harder environment, and my last job was one of the most toxic work environments I have and will ever experience.
However, it’s been amazing to see how God has used each of those experiences and those people. If you are in a tricky work environment where your faith is challenged just remember God is with you and not to lose sight of yourself, your beliefs or your faith.
I would love to sit here and say I have a quiet time every day and read devotionals daily, but honestly, it’s something I struggle with. I’m still trying to find something that works for me. Some days it happens at work because like I mentioned I am lucky enough to work for a Christian company that gives me great resources from devotionals to Bible studies at lunch or with co-workers. However, this is definitely an area I am still working on. I really hate reading and I hate the mornings so I often time feel the closest to God when I am worshipping in my car on my way to work or even just reading beautiful Bible verse graphics. My quiet time is definitely something I want to make a priority in 2020.
Well, there you go! There’s a little bit more about me and my faith. Although scary to open up I hope that you found this encouraging or uplifting in some way. No matter what you are walking through He is with you and He has a plan.