I grew up as a pastor’s kid with a constant understanding of God’s power, justice, mercy and love. I know that it was my sins that Jesus paid for on the cross, and that He rose from the dead after 3 days – I was proficient at sharing the gospel at a very young age! And yet, I struggled deeply to accept the love I knew God had for me, wrestling with a constant need to prove myself worthy. As the size of the churches my father pastored grew, so did the pressure I felt to “keep it all together” in front of prying eyes with high expectations. My way of coping was to compartmentalize my faith – it was a dance I could perform as needed, but it didn’t rule my life in secret.
Throughout my teens and early twenties, I rode a rollercoaster of devotion to Jesus followed by indulging the flesh. I trusted in Jesus alone for my salvation, but in practice I was still working hard to handle my own sin problem. I developed a passion for serving Jesus in various ways – through overseas missions, music, and biblical counseling. I wholeheartedly loved Jesus, but my patterns of compartmentalizing prevented me from living in genuine, biblical community. Isolation and self-reliance culminated in an unplanned pregnancy while I was attending seminary.
But God! In the very moment that I cried out to Him, His presence changed everything. As soon as I ceased my striving – abandoning it for praise – He started fighting the battles for me. He took my shame and gave me His own identity, and filled me with gratefulness for my need for Him. His unmerited favor made me secure (Ps. 30). He turned my mourning into joyful dancing, and has continued to use my brokenness to bring Himself glory!