Ever since I can remember I’ve been in church. For generations, my family has been faithful Christians.
In my freshman year of college, I was surrounded by close friends and knew I wanted to be a teacher. God then called me to be a student missionary for a year to teach on the island of Palau. It ended up being one of the most transformative years of my life. I came back from my year abroad ready to tell everyone about the amazing change God had brought about in my life. But it didn’t go as planned.
When I first returned, I was involved in the campus ministries department of my college and started ministering to girls in the dorm. But at some point I started a relationship that created habits and patterns that pulled me away from my walk with Christ.
For the first time in my life I skipped church because it wasn’t a priority for the guy I was with. I was racked with guilt and it was a point of contention for us. After a while it started not to matter to me either. Eventually, through what I now see as a God-given circumstance, we had no choice but to break up. At the time I was devastated. But God provided me with a network of friends at my first teaching job that took me in and ministered to me. It was the new chapter my life desperately needed. But it was about to take some unexpected turns.
As my first year of teaching was coming to a close I felt led to take another year and go overseas. I accepted a call to teach on the island of Guam for two years. I got so excited to experience a time of serving God like I had experienced just five years ago in Palau. I knew it could be a different experience, but I still went with unrealistic expectations of what those two years would hold. Little did I know that it was about to be a significant chapter in my life.
The first two months were great! I met my students, explored the beautiful island, and enjoyed living on my own. But soon after those first two months, homesickness, depression, and loneliness settled in. I was the only single teacher at the school. Before I knew it, October rolled around and I knew I couldn’t take it any longer. I called my parents, begging to go home. I felt empty, even at church. I would remember all the times with my family and I’d have to leave with tears streaming down my face. I started skipping and when no one noticed or seemed to care, I missed more consistently. I closed myself off from any opportunities and settled in for a long period of waiting till the school year was over. I had decided I wasn’t coming back for my second year, so what was the point?
It didn’t get any better once March rolled around and the only couple I had become friends with left. Wallowing in depression and loneliness, I resorted back to unhealthy relationships. I made a lot of mistakes. I didn’t care about anything except the temporary feeling of being accepted by someone, even if it was for the wrong reasons. Mistake after mistake finally led me to the deepest depression I’ve ever experienced.
In the midst of that darkness and pain, God was still there. He gave me a job that brought me closer to home in a school that needed a young teacher. A few days after accepting the job while still in Guam, I told God that if He got me off this island I would turn my life around. I was done with the mistakes, the lies, the false love.
That’s when I arrived in Lexington, Kentucky. I had new friends, a new church, and a newfound joy and happiness. I picked up journaling again, invested more in my female friendships, and learned to be okay with my singleness. Thankfully, God wasn’t finished writing my story.
When I wasn’t even looking He brought me the type of man that I didn’t think existed. A man who valued a growing relationship with God, and wanted to walk with me as we both learned what it looked like to be a Christ-centered couple. Now, over two years later, we’re married and living the story He wrote for us.
Do I regret that horrible year full of mistakes? Absolutely. But God used that experience to show me His grace and redemption. He revealed that He had so much more in store for me. He taught me that true satisfaction is found only in Him. It isn’t a perfect Christian fairytale, but it’s my God-glorifying story.
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