God proved his love for me and grew my faith even more when he healed me from scoliosis (or curved spine) as a child. Later, my parents joined a church where the pastor and congregation prayed and God heard the cries of his people. After that prayer, God had straightened my spine. It was later confirmed by a follow-up doctor appointment and several visits later to a chiropractor to realign my crooked shoulders.
Could you describe some of the ways that God began to heal you as you entered adulthood?
God used my experience traveling abroad to focus me on others, learning about their culture, food, and history as I was enveloped in God’s awe-inspiring beauty. I had low confidence, poor body image and was struggling with an all-consuming exercise and eating disorder regimen.
The way I viewed myself stemmed from my childhood and the lack of nurturing from those who should have loved me. My experience of traveling alone was a very intimate experience with God, finding him through the beautiful people I met, seeing his majestic beauty, and eating the wonderful foods off the land. I was able to focus on learning about other people rather than hiding in my own insecurities and focusing on myself.
When I met my husband in Bible study we were both in very dark places seeking God, reading and studying his Word. We had no intentions of dating or looking for someone to date. We were each intimate with Jesus. As God healed our dark places, God used my husband’s love to heal the hurts I had from the lack of being nurtured as a child.
I feel like God always knows what we need when we need it and uses his people to be an extension of himself as we serve others by being the hands and feet of God. I don’t rely on my husband to be loved or find my existence. I find my existence in God. We have to accept that we are all human and we can hurt others as others have hurt us. God can use us to love others and help heal those wounds through compassion, prayer, and lending a helping hand as we pour into others’ lives.
Studying to understand forgiveness and applying that to those who had hurt me helped free me from bitterness and shame. I recognized that some of the things that happened to me as a child aren’t my fault, and releasing those in forgiveness helped me walk through the blessings God had for my life. I learned how to forgive. My book has a chapter on how to forgive and walks the reader through a forgiveness prayer.
How did God continue pursuing you after you got married, grew your career, and started a family?
In marriage, God uses my husband to provide unconditional love I had never experienced before. God uses my husband to give comfort and acceptance and to provide a place of safety I had never experienced within a family unit. God stretches us to recognize our polar opposite differences, find common ground on his biblical principles and apply those to parenting and building our relationship in community.
In career, God calls me to give back and help others. He has done much for me in my life, and in the gratitude I have for him, I want to be used as his vessel to do the same for others. I hope to share a message of hope in everything I do, working with my hands to serve others, lifting others up above myself. I strive in the world of nutrition to help teach others how to take care of their own bodies. Our bodies are God’s temple, and if I can help teach others the principles of eating a balanced diet, then I am living as he has called me to do.
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In terms of family, I know God gave me a promise to have kids despite the miscarriages and tubal pregnancy I endured. I kept believing and God granted us our miracle son. As we pursued fostering and adoption to give back to children who weren’t as fortunate, I knew he wasn’t done with us. As we used an opportunity to provide stability and belonging for other children, God eventually brought our daughter to join our family.
You share key lessons and takeaways throughout your story. What are some of the lessons God taught you early in life and some lessons he has taught you later in life?
Don’t let shame from your past keep you from living the life God has for you. Share your story and bring light to the darkness. Your story can be your song to help set others free. Many times I felt shame about sharing my past, but those times God sent many people along the way who kept encouraging me to share. God gave me strength to keep moving forward. He continues to provide gentle nudges pushing me to share his story, opening doors and opportunities.