Growing up – I never grew up in church or knowing anything about God.
2005 – My faith journey started small and slow attending Buckhead Church.
2014 – 31 years old – Struggling with learning about who I really am, the things I liked about myself, things I wanted to change, struggled with dating and relationships. Feeling like I failed because I wasn’t married with a family yet… On top of that I found myself in a not so great relationship, engaged, and ultimately having to call off the wedding. Talk about feeling like I failed.
- I was fed-up. Something had to change. I wasn’t going to “do” life like this anymore. A friend introduced me to Jody and The Cottage and my life is forever changed.
September 2014 – I walked through The Cottage doors sad, cold hearted, confused, and hopeless. The feeling of “not good enough” was like a 100 pound bag sitting on my shoulders.
Desperate for a feeling of connection, to make friends, and to know that I was not alone… I wanted to feel God, to know Jesus, and to have hope again… Most importantly to know and feel God’s love for me… I wanted to know what true, unconditional love really was because that is how I wanted to love and be loved.
Little did I know that every other Wednesday for the past almost 2 years was going to be filled with hugs, smiles, lots of hot tea, stories, sad tears, happy tears, amazing music, prayers, scary moments for me that caused amazing growth, lots of “I love you-s”, but most of all experiencing God and knowing Jesus in a whole new way – a way I didn’t even know was possible, a way that was starting to change my heart.
Little did I know I was going to learn about exactly what I walked in almost 2 years ago questioning… love… That true love does exist, its beautiful, fun, amazing, and you don’t have to “do” anything but let God shine His amazing love through you, because true love comes from God.
We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19
That love has tears, laughs, experiences, and cultivates friendships. That love is warm, safe, and powerful.
So today and everyday I am so thankful for:
- My awesome family that has loved me, has taught me so much and is always there for me.
- My amazing friends that introduced me to church, that have walked with me through the ups and downs, and that have taught me about God and have always been nothing but honest and supportive!
- My small group ladies that are a shining example of God’s love, for teaching me about vulnerability by being vulnerable and creating a safe place to share stories and grow.
- For Jody, Larry, and Maria – God’s love just pours out of you onto everyone you meet. You have truly changed me, and my life forever.
I am thankful for the unconditional love, the joy, laughter, honesty, vulnerability, the “You are not alone-s”, the grace that overflows, the smiles, the lasting friendships, the unexpected friendships, the tears, being greeted with hugs and sent home with “I love you-s”, and mostly feeling God’s love for me not only on Wednesdays but having His love flood over everyday.
What God had done through this ministry, my family, friends, the ups and downs I have experienced, I have come to learn who I am in God’s eyes and that is ultimately all that matters.
I have learned that love and vulnerability is the key to life and lasting successful relationships with everyone.
I know in God’s eyes I am enough! It’s because of all of you and this beautiful journey that I am on, learning and knowing God’s love and having a relationship with Jesus, that I am so excited to profess that Jesus is my Lord and Savior.
A year ago my prayer: Turn me into who you made me to be in your eyes.
This is the most fun journey I have ever been on!