God was gracious to reveal Himself to me when I was 14 years old. I did not grow up consistently learning about the ways and works of the Lord. I was raised as an only child in a home characterized by a mother's chronic illness and the volatility of a father's temper. My experience with church as a child consisted of attending service on Christmas Eve and Easter. I have faint memories of going to a Sunday school class when I was very young and a VBS when I was in early elementary school. Despite my limited exposure to biblical teaching, I remember knowing, even as a young child, that God was real.
I came to faith in Christ while attending a summer camp with my best friend during the summer after our seventh grade year. I didn't walk down an aisle, and I didn't pray a prayer, but there was no doubt that Christ had captured my heart and was already beginning the process of transforming me. I returned to that camp for the next three years. It was where I felt safe and loved and nearest to the Lord. It was through the influence of my camp counselors that I attended college at Abilene Christian University.
My four years in Abilene were life changing, yielding incredible friendships and the opportunity to sit under biblical teaching that both sharpened my faith and soothed my soul. It was during college that I became part of a local church for the first time in my life. I loved my church family, and being a part of that body meant the world to me. It was during this time that I had my first opportunity to teach children.
I came to The Village in the fall of 2003 and soon after started volunteering in the children's ministry. I was offered the opportunity to come on staff as an intern in children's ministry in the spring of 2004. I was honestly very uncertain about that decision as my background was in business, and I had never considered working at a church in any capacity much less working with kids. Through the course of the next year, the Lord would completely change my heart and stir within me a passion to love the next generation by teaching, with as much ferocity as possible, that God is what is best.
Take a moment to listen to a recent Podcast with Jen Wilkin and Anne Lincoln Holibaugh: