I would characterize my youth as a mix of chaos, pain, lawlessness, God and love. Though my parents are living for God now, there was a long period of time that they struggled with addiction. Growing up I got to see first hand what a life of no rules and complete disregard of laws does to a person, a family and a soul. It wasn't pretty and it wasn't freedom. It was during those dark times that my faith was forged and my very real and intimate relationship with God was formed. He was my only hope, and He was always with me, protecting and guiding me. My parents couldn't model how to live a moral life during those years, but in their brokenness they loved us kids and told us to look to God and His Word, and that was enough. Those of us who listened and obeyed what we read in our Bibles and heard at church, not only survived those trying times, but eventually thrived.
As God walked with me through adolescence and into adulthood, I took the narrow path that He set before me because He gave me the wisdom to understand that His Word and commands are meant to protect us, not control us. Because I grew up in chaos, I craved order and structure. So as ironic as it may seem, as an adult I followed my sister's steps into a career in law enforcement and public service. I eventually met and married my incredible husband, Dave, and we have a beautiful blended family of three amazing children. Living a life of submission to God and authority has blessed me beyond my wildest hopes and dreams.
This is one of the things that my husband and I diligently try to impress upon the hearts of the children God has entrusted to us. We tell them that just because we can do something doesn't mean we should. And we often remind our daughter (our sons are adults) that we only give her rules and say no because we love her and it's our job to protect her. I would be a really unloving mom if I didn't give her rules, even if it makes her mad.
The same principles apply to us and our relationship with our Heavenly Father. His plans for us are so much bigger than we could imagine, and the guardrails He has established with His commands are meant to safely get us there. After 15 years of public service I felt God calling me out of my full time position as a police dispatcher. Shortly after I gave my official notice, God led me to apply for a part-time position at VMC. I love God's church and the people He has filled it with. I am currently serving VMC as Pastor Chad's assistant.