I was thirteen when I first felt that God wanted something more from my life than the status quo. I was a worshiper–from the time I was little I was a worshiper. Growing up in church I fell in love with Jesus. My home was tumultous, full of brokeness, fear, and there was something safe about being in the presence of Jesus. I could feel him in the music as the choir sang, I could hear Him in the voices of the missionaries and teachers who came to teach–there was something so beautiful and healing in the music written to Him and for Him. In worship I had found my home.
I was thirteen…knowing that there was a calling of God on my life and pondering whether or not I would share that calling with a husband down the road, or if I would be single and therefore more singleminded towards God’s mission for me. My mom and I attended special meetings held by a Ministering Couple in a local hotel banquet room. After the meeting was over, the Couple began to pray over many of the attendees. I was one of those they prayed for and God began to speak through them to me. I am grateful that someone was there to record the words because I later copied them into the back of my Bible so that I could read them, remember them, and hope that they would be fulfilled.
“I am the craftsman of thy life saith God and I am fine tuning you. And as you walk circumspectly before me with an integrity of heart, I tell you that I am preparing for you a man of God and surely you will know this person when you meet him. And as you grow, those things that you see in your spirit now will surely come to pass in your lifetime. And it will not be a mile or two that you will go from here, but I tell you daughter I will open the whole world unto you. You shall be a mouthpiece for me in this generation. You shall stand strong and true and many of the youth shall see and feel the anointing that is in thy life and I will call you to lead them to me.”
There I was–thirteen and God was preparing for me a husband. Wow! What did it mean “you will know this person when you meet him?” I pictured being at church when the visitors were invited to stand to be recognized and I would look across the sanctuary and there “he” would be!! “The One”!! I would know him when I met him! This caused some anxiety on my part as a young teenage girl. What if I didn’t recognize him when I was supposed to? Hormones and hope can really make a girl nervous!
I look back now after being married for 13 years and realize that the man God prepared for me was someone I already knew, but had no real contact with before the day he asked me out for our first date. His parents were the Best Man and Matron of Honor for my parents when my parents were married. Our families had stayed in touch over the years through letters, Christmas cards, pictures and a few phone calls. We were thousands of miles apart. I grew up in Idaho, He grew up in Alaska. We had met as kids, but there was no connection there. It wasn’t ’til my husband came down to Idaho to sell his truck at the age of 22 that the connection was made. It was love at first sight. Thirteen years and four children later I realize what God was saying when He said “I would know him when I met him.” Jamin was my man of God…prepared for me even when I was thirteen.
The rest of the prophecy I was sure would come true. I was already leading worship in my home church, and began speaking and holding prayer meetings at school and in other churches. I was ready to take on the world should God kick that door open. I prepared to attend Christ for the Nations after highschool. I was quite certain that God would prepare me for the missionfield there and I would be flying to the coasts of Africa when that schooling was over. But as I have come to know, God’s ways are not like my ways, neither are His thoughts my thoughts.
I struggled through Bible school because I couldn’t afford it. I worked, sold my car, and even had to leave for a semester in order to go back home and earn more money. But after 2 and a half years, I completed the course, graduated and left on my first missions trip taking worship to three countries in South America. The “whole” world was beginning to open and I loved it! Singing in Portuguese, and Spanish, sharing the Good News that Jesus is alive and well and still setting people free from drug addictions, sin, guilt, shame, sex addictions, lies, witchcraft, demons, fear, and giving abundant life, hope, joy, a promise of a future! I fell in love with Brazil. I wanted to gather up all of the children from the streets and garbage dumps. I wanted to take them home, feed them, love them, teach them. An ache for the brokeness of the world settled into my heart and keeps me praying.
When the trip was over, I returned to life in my home town. I began working as a pre-school teacher, leading worship in my home church, and leading the youth group while they were in transition between youth pastors. It was shortly thereafter that I “met” and married my husband Jamin.
Life went by like a whirlwind. I packed my things to move to Anchor Point, Alaska. The culture change was huge for me. Life in this town was tucked away in the sideroads and treed acreages of the town. It was hard to say how many people lived there. I could go days without leaving the house and seeing people because there just wasn’t any place to go! I began driving sixty miles north to the nearest supply town just to sit in Taco Bell and “see” people.
Making friends turned out to be a difficult task. In the transient town I was living in, most people were used to seeing people come and go. Making friends was painful for those who had never had the chance to “leave”. Just when they would get to know someone, that someone would move on leaving them there. For some residents, making friends just was no longer worth the pain. Some confessed this to me years later when I began to share about my lonliness.
So many life lessons would be taught in this little town in Alaska. I would begin leading worship at a little country church called Lighthouse Assembly and this is where I would hone some piano skills. Learning to sing and play an instrument at the same time would be a challenge that only a patient congregation would allow. And God gave me that patient congregation and a wonderful pastor whose family became so dear to us and are still such a part of our lives.
After giving birth to our third child, our second son, I launched into post-partum depression and I had no idea what I was in for. I remember thinking that I had lost my mind and I had no idea if I would get it back. I cried all the time, I had no patience, there were voices in my head and electric impulses running through my body that I could not control. I remember shaking violently at times and having severe tremoring in my hands. I remember wishing I could die and feeling like it was the best scenario to stop the madness. The thoughts were terrifying. Even my dreams were plagued with horrid images and I never could rest. I remember the day I felt like ending my life and it scared me at my core because I knew that I didn’t want to kill myself, but my body seemed to be throwing me that direction. I began to make phone calls to the women from my church in order to find someone who could sit with me and pray for me and watch my children. My husband worked away for two weeks out of every month and this day fell on one of his days away. I went down the list of phone numbers until I found someone home who could come. She was an answer to prayer. Evelyn Carpenter came to my home and brought the peace of God with her. She prayed over me, over my house, and over my children. I will always remember how the presence of God came into my home and my mind and body began to settle.
It was a long fight with that depression. I tried several medications and used them until I was stable again. I remember thinking that God was teasing me by giving me promises of a hope and future. I was losing my mind. I contemplated death, I was without hope in my own mind. How wrong I was.
I can’t say I know how God works in our lives and how the dreams He gives us actually come to pass. He weaves our lives in such a magnificent way that there is no way to see the tapestry until you look back.
Therapy for me came in songwriting and I began to devote my time to completing one song a month for a year. This process brought me across the paths of other writers, musicians, authors, worship leaders and ministers and began to open up the promise again that God gave me when I was thirteen. I made my first cd in 2008….a collection of songs I had composed over the previous five years and began to release it to the public.
It was just a few months ago when I hired Christian Radio Weekly to promote one of my songs “Magnificent God” to radio and something wonderful began to happen. I remember the first week it was being promoted. I was home, sick with vertigo and strep throat. My husband was out of town and my oldest daughter was holding down the fort. I couldn’t get out of bed for about two days due to my extreme dizziness, and when it began subsiding some I drove myself to the doctor for medicine. I remember sitting down at the computer when my head was clearing and looking at my emails. Here were e-mails from radio stations around the world that were now playing my song. England, Australia, the Netherlands, the Bahamas, Peru, Canada, Scotland, and even Ireland. I couldn’t believe it. While I was home, sick and unable to do anything God was fulfilling His promise to me to “open up the whole world”. Wow!!!
How I thought it would happen, and how He has caused it to happen were so different….yet I see His hand of faithfulness through every page of my life. Even now I have returned from a trip to Italy ministering to churches and leaders there with a plan to return in February. I have been invited to Turkey to minister through music there. I have open doors in churches and ministries here in my home state of Alaska which have been such a delight.
I’m not a perfect person, or an overly talented person. I have wounds that healed slowly, scars that are still visible, and I’m prone to mistakes. But I have a faithful God. My hope is not in the wind, but it is steadfast in the person of Jesus Christ. I have hope because He is hope and He has promised to finish the work that He has started in me. I still struggle to see how it is going to happen. I still have disappointments. I still wander through fog sometimes. But one thing I know now….”sometimes touching the clouds means standing in the rain”. It’s all part of God’s tapestry.
Give God your mistakes, your failures, your weaknesses, and let Him blow your mind with what He will do with you.