Hello everyone! My name is Casie. I am so excited to be sharing my testimony with you. I don’t necessarily believe that there is anything special about my story, but it is special to me because it is a story of God’s ability to restore!
I grew up in a very loving home. I always remember believing in God. Even at a young age, I remember being very curious about how all the world came to be…how was it that we were here…and I remember thinking that there had to be something out there that created all of this. I remember growing up and going to churches for various things, like weddings or funerals, and always wondering why we never went to church. Once I asked my mom why we never went to church, and she said it was because they couldn’t agree on how to raise us so they were just going to let us decide. I remember feeling like I was really missing out on something by not going to church.
My life came to a screeching halt when I was 15 and my dad passed away unexpectedly. It was one of the hardest things we have been through as a family. I remember praying to God and talking to God through that process, but as soon as things got back to normal, I went back to my normal. After my dad died, I became consumed with my school life and my boyfriend. I got my information on relationships from the world. I wasn’t really a bad kid, and that was a good thing, because otherwise I could have gotten myself into a lot of trouble. When I graduated high school and started college, I also started working a full time job. I met Jake that fall.
We started dating soon after that, and our relationship moved very quickly. We made poor choices and didn’t establish boundary lines in our relationship. Within one year of dating him, I found out I was pregnant, and we quickly decided to get married. However, the stress of expecting a child that I was not ready for and the embarrassment of being one of “those people” that it happened to was overwhelming to me, and I didn’t really want to get married. Jake and I were at a point where we were starting to fight a lot and I wasn’t even sure at that point that he was the person I wanted to spend forever with. My thoughts going into marriage were, “Well if it doesn’t work out I can always get a divorce.” I remember feeling very empty at that point in my life.
We got married January 1, 2005 and our son Hunter was born June 17 that same year. I took one semester off college, but jumped right back in the following spring and was also working full time as well. The stress of having a kid at 20 years old, along with both Jake and I working full time plus me going to school full time really affected our marriage. We hardly saw each other, and when we were together we would fight constantly. One day, I remember someone coming to our apartment door. At first I thought it was someone trying to sell something because there was a group of people going to different houses. When I opened the door, it was actually someone from a neighboring church coming to “tell me about Jesus.” Although I was very annoyed by it, I remember thinking to myself, “I wonder if this would change things for me. Something is missing in my life.” But, I wasn’t about to be that vulnerable to some complete stranger so I politely ended the conversation and didn’t think much more about it.
About a year into our marriage, we bought a house, so there was another added stress to our plate. Things continued to go badly in our marriage. About 2 years into our marriage, I remember it being so bad that I decided I was going to leave with Hunter and go stay at my mom’s for awhile. I remember telling Jake that we needed some time apart to decide how things were going to change if I came back home. I said that I was going to stay with my mom for a week or two to give us some time apart. Well, that only lasted a few days and I went back home, but was still very unhappy. At that point, I really did not want to be married anymore. I was just too scared to actually go through with leaving.
After that, our marriage had ups and downs. I was still very unhappy and Jake was too, but we just kept coasting along. About a year after that event, Jake’s sister called him and invited us to church to watch her baptism. Jake didn’t want to go, but we agreed to go in support of her. I remember being very interested in actually going to check it out because I had longed to go to church and would even try to convince Jake to go on a holiday but he never wanted to. This one event started a great domino effect in our lives.
We went the first time, and then kept coming back. One series that we were there for was called “Taking the Fight out of the Family.” How perfect was that series for us!! I remember how things finally started to click for me. I wanted a relationship with God, but was very afraid to fully let go of my control. I was just waiting to see if Jake would make a move. One day, Jake decided he wanted us to talk with the pastor after service. We talked to him, and made an appointment to meet with him one day that week.
I remember everything about the day that we met with him. I remember talking with him about our past and where we were at in our lives, and how we had been really challenged by the sermons he had been giving, and how we wanted to have a relationship with God. I remember that night praying in his office and giving our lives to Jesus. Praying about how I was a sinful person and that I needed Jesus was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I was at a point in my life where I was in control and didn’t like to admit that I had screwed things up. I can’t believe I made it through that prayer!
That weekend at church, on October 5, 2008, Jake and I were baptized. It was a moment that I will never forget. From the moment we were baptized, Jake was all in. It took me a little longer. I was still working and going to school full time, so my work schedule was crazy and I would sometimes have to work on Sundays. It was also hard for me to get over all of the hurt that had taken place in our marriage. I knew that God would want me to work hard to save my marriage, and I was still learning a lot about what God wanted for me and my life.
I remember God doing little things to show me that He was in control and that He wanted me to fully surrender myself to Him. At that point, I had been student teaching. It was the last thing I needed to do before I was finished with college. After my first student teaching experience, I was feeling very discouraged. I had to contact the next teacher that I was going to work with, and when I called her she said, “I have a really weird question for you, but did you just get baptized last weekend?” The person I got placed with went to my church! I had the best experience and was able to see a woman who loved God and had a marriage that honored God. It was as if God was saying, “Look what can happen when you put your trust in me!”
Then, a few months after getting baptized, our pastor encouraged Jake and I to join a small group for married couples. That was the next best thing (besides giving our lives to Jesus) that we have ever done. I remember that first night being with the small group leaders and all of these other people that I didn’t know and thinking, “Okay, this is awkward!” But what our small group did for us was help us learn more about the Bible and God’s will for us, change our perspective on marriage, give us accountability, and help us build relationships with people in our church.
I remember shortly after starting our small group the leader said one phrase that would forever change my perspective: “Divorce is not an option.” I remember feeling like it was God himself talking to me. I remember continuing to learn what the Bible said about marriage and how my husband should love me like Christ loved the church and how I should allow my husband to lead our family out of my love for Christ, and how we should put God first in our marriage, and how our relationship with each other should come before our kids, and how we should teach our children to love God and love others, and how we should be an example to our children. As crazy as it seems, all of these things were completely different than anything I had ever thought before.
Around the same time that we joined a small group, we also began serving in our church. I was learning so much through serving and it was my favorite part of the week because I truly felt like it drew me closer to God and helped me realize that I had a purpose..that God wanted to use me for His kingdom!
Those three things helped me finally realize that this life was not about me…and when I came to that realization I was all in! I didn’t want life to be all about me anymore. I wanted it to be about God because when I make my life about Him, the outcome is so much greater than anything I could pull off on my own!
And here I am almost 10 years later, still loving God and walking with Him…and now on staff at the church where it all started! I could have never imagined 10 years ago that this is where Jake and I would be. God has restored our marriage because we allowed Him to come into it. God has forgiven me of my past and given me a new future. Now we have a hope that we didn’t have…we have a support system that we didn’t have…we have accountability that we didn’t have…and we have an eternity. That is not to say that life has been easy since giving my life to Jesus. Jake and I have gone through a lot of ups and downs in life/our marriage/parenting…but the difference is that we have God to help us through it all and we now live our lives to honor Him!
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