Obviously I’ve grown in my relationship with God over the years since I trusted in Jesus as my Savior. The main theme of this growth has been learning dependence on Him. Much of the major growth comes through conflicts where I become aware of my own weakness – which makes room for His strength to work in me (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Broken family relationships, sexual abuse, depression, and homosexual attraction are all things that I have faced since trusting in Jesus and that – in the context of our growing relationship – Jesus used to teach and grow me. For example, in a time when I was suicidal, full of guilt, shame, and self-hatred, and begging Jesus to free me from homosexuality, He gently asked me to forgive the men who had abused me. I was angry with Him for asking me to forgive them, as I felt perfectly justified in my hatred and bitterness. Before the evening was over, however, I came to a place where I told Jesus, “If you think forgiveness is needed, then, please help me. I cannot do this alone, and I don’t even want to forgive them. But if this is best, won’t you help me?” In the year and a half that followed, I journeyed with Jesus into a forgiveness deeper than words. I knew I had truly forgiven when I could remember the abuse without shame and anxiety and genuinely desired and prayed that my abusers would be blessed. In those years of learning forgiveness, the depression and self-hatred lifted, and I began to have victory in areas of weakness! Praise Jesus!
In high school, I also began seeking the Lord for Him to release to me the spiritual gifts that I saw operational in the Church of Acts. I longed to experience the deep things of God – and to walk in the authority that Jesus walked in to see sick bodies healed, the oppressed set free, and lives truly transformed by His power!
In college, Jesus began to teach me about justice and His Kingdom. He also took me on a deeper journey of encountering His love. As that journey progressed, He began restoring broken relationships in my family and led me into freedom from the lingering struggle with homosexuality.
In the years since I finished college, I have been on a journey of recognizing His voice and learning to walk increasingly in agreement with His heart – specifically through regular times of prayer and fasting – and in partnership with Him in ministry. He led me very clearly to South Sudan and revealed so much beauty in His heart to me during the time I lived there among orphaned, abused, abandoned, and trafficked kids.
Recently, He’s teaching me some new things about my identity and authority in Him. He also led me to volunteer with NightLight International in Thailand in 2012. I pray I never lose a holy hunger for more of Him!
“You can count the number of seeds in an apple,
but no one can count the number of apples in a seed.”