I chose Jesus as my Savior long ago. I have not always allowed Him to be my Lord. Through the journey of life my Jesus has always been a focus. If He had always been the focus, my life would have been much happier and a whole lot easier. I would have made better choices. I would have sinned a whole lot less and I would have been in God’s word a whole lot more.
December of 1998, we moved into what I thought would be our forever home. God rocked my world in September 1999. Kris took a job, 3 hours away from this forever home. We miraculously sold our home at our moving sale. (I need to write another story about how God has miraculously sells ALL our homes by owner…when He decides it is time for us move.) The boys and I followed Kris to Knoxville in January of 2000. I was unemployed and at home with two small boys, 2 and 5. I didn’t know anybody. To say that I was unhappy about this move was a huge understatement. I think I pouted about 3 years, not to mention the world was in unrest over the 9/11 attack of the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon in 2001. I was searching. I was wandering, making wrong decisions and in general trying to find the meaning of life.
One day, I was sitting in church and I asked this question, “If Jesus has all the answers, then what are they?” I came us with this equation, J + ? = ________. Sometime in 2002, the Holy Spirit led me to Colossians 2:10, And you are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power. He completed the equation. Jesus turned my questions, my life, my world upside down. He finished the equation with this little drawing, J + ? = (see image above)
Over the last 15 years of ups, downs and all arounds of life, God has taught me what it means to be COMPLETE IN HIM. I have learned the most from the Holy Spirit and from studying God’s Word, the Bible. (How can you say you are in a relationship with someone and not spend time with them?) I have learned from pastors. I have learned from other teachers. I have learned from books, cassette tapes, cd’s, DVD’s, uploads and downloads, devotions and even Facebook posts. I have learned from dear friends and relatives.
My life took a radical turn toward my Jesus in 2010. Kris was offered a double-your-salary opportunity in Memphis, TN. It was all way across the state. It was six hours away from our life. It was away from all we knew. We, our family, had built many strong relationships over the past 10 years. It was six hours away from University of Tennessee and Tennessee football. It was also six hours away from Maryville football. My oldest son, Brayden, was 15 years old. He had started as a Sophomore in 2009 for the Maryville Rebels who had won the last 8 out of 10 State football championships. They had been to all ten championships. He was a rising junior. I cannot put in words the pain and torment this caused Brayden and us. We considered allowing Brayden to finish his high school career at Maryville. However, we would have been in the same boat with Parker 2 years later. We even thought about letting Brayden live with some of our best friends and finish out at Maryville. Thank God, we did not make that decision!
Then, there was Parker. Sweet little Parker. He had played baseball and attended church with the same group of boys since he was about five years old. They were our family along with our Maryville football family. What were we to do? I experienced many sleepless nights. We had to decide and fast. Finally, after continually seeking God, He gave me a word one early morning in July of 2010. It was “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will guide the with my eye.” (Psalm 32:8) I put this in my spirit and banked on this word from God. We rightly chose to keep our family together and to move west.
God jumped through hoops and performed many miracles to get all the things in order for us to move within one month. This included having the boys in two different schools in two different cities. Brayden was admitted to the private school of his choice, Memphis University School and Parker would enter the Collierville School System. Let me say that being led by God is not always easy. As a matter of fact, portions of the six years in Memphis were hell. To quote Charles Dickens from A Tale of Two Cities:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way …”Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
However, in my sadness and desperation, I knew the only answer was God and family. I connected with a long- lost friend on Facebook who led me to study the Love of God. I learned about a different God. He was All Loving. He was forgiving. He was not condemning. He was compassionate. I learned that there was not one thing that I could do or say that would change His love for me. My life began to change. I began to accept me for me, but most of all who I was in Him, complete. I learned that he paid a very high price for my salvation, here and now and for eternity. His love just blew me away. I had a lot of growing to do. I learned to choose faith and not fear. I had lived much of my life in fear and anxious. I learned both were sin and that I was trusting Satan more that God if I continue live in fear and not trust Him. He put people in my path to pray with me and for my family. We, all, lost “friends” along this journey. We also gained some new, invaluable friendships. The young men and families of Memphis University School could not have been any warmer and welcoming to Brayden. Many of these men are still his best friends and roommates I joined a group of women who prayed for the football team every week before the football games. What a blessing they were. God had placed Brayden at MUS. It took us a while to grow relationships in Collierville because we were so wrapped up in Brayden’s final two years of high school and all that goes with it. However, the relationships soon bloomed in Collierville, too. And, God had put Parker in Collierville for a reason, too.
One thing that surprised me most from our move was that God used it to heal a broken friendship in Maryville. How did he do it? We both underwent some pruning. Our desire was to learn more about our Father, our Jesus and our sweet Holy Spirit. God completely healed our relationship. He grew us stronger individually and in Him. He grew us stronger together in Him. I now have a sister that I never had and a best friend in the Lord.
With every trial and every test, too numerous to count, God brought our family through and shined big in our life. The move was hard. It was so painful. However, Brayden nor Parker would be experiencing the level of success in their lives that they are enjoying had we not made the move. Many of you know their success stories. We are truly blessed and living amazed in a favored life. I will share about their individual success stories later; neither came without painful trials.
Fast forward to June 2013, my world was shaken again for a couple of different reasons and I didn’t know what direction to go. However, once again, God led me to Psalm 32:8 and he promised he would instruct me on what to do and he did. I made a commitment to read the Bible every day for at least thirty minutes. I went from reading one devotional, to multiple devotionals. I went from spending thirty minutes learning about my God to 2015, where I was spending hours with him. I learned that I am WHOLE, HEALED and COMPLETE in Him. He taught me Psalm 37. He taught me to believe and live out that word which ended in a friendship of a lifetime and trip of a lifetime to French Polynesia. The end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016 was spent learning the lesson of waiting on the Lord. However, when he decided to move, WOW!!!
Kris was offered a job back in Clarksville, TN in January of 2016. Parker our youngest just happened to be playing college ball at Austin Peay State University. We would not have to travel three hours to see him play. We would be living in the same city. Kris began his position at APSU on March 1, 2016.
I was left to sell the house and to finish my job as caregiver for my terminally ill, Ms. Violet. However, Ms. Vi died February 10, 2016. She left a huge hole in my heart, but God healed it and filled it. Kris began working in Clarksville and I was preparing the house to sell. I was afforded a lot of time alone with God. I cannot begin to tell you how our relationship flourished. It was amazing. It was crazy. I was “Living Amazed.” (My bff coined that phrase.) If you choose to spend time in God’s word, it will renovate your life. His word changed me from the inside out. My drug of choice had been food. It became insignificant in my life and through Him. I lost 51 lbs. I was able to put our house on the market and sell it by owner in just days. We found our dream home in Clarksville in late February. However, we kept looking for other houses because we thought that house was out of reach. However, God had a different plan and blessed us with THAT house. We moved into it in early June.
In July of last year, I went to Washington, D.C. with my dear sister in Christ. We had the privilege to attend Together 2016. We sat on the mall between Washington monument and the White House. We prayed with tens of thousands of others about our Nation, the upcoming election and about the youth of our nation. God showed me in DC how to really see people. He showed me how to see their hearts. It was an amazing experience to really see people and not just a person passing in this journey of life. We got to love on people all over DC. To say that the trip changed my life is an understatement. I was diving deeper and deeper into my relationship with my Heavenly Father. It’s so hard to put into words what was going on in my life.
In August 2016 Kris, Parker and I were blessed to go to Atlantic Beach, NC to stay at a friend’s condo. This is where “My Glory Story” begins.
You need to know that the beach is THE place where I feel closest to God. I can close out the world and just focus on my God and His majestic creation. I love to get up early. I love to get up before the sun rises and spend time with Him. I love to walk the beach and find shells in the early morning. I love to chase the sunrise and the sunset. I love spending quality time with my family. Many say the beach is their “HAPPY PLACE.” It is most definitely mine.