As far back as I can remember, my family attended church. My parents started going to church soon after I was born. Growing up, I would hear that Christ died on the cross and that I needed to believe that if I wanted to go to heaven. Well, I believed that, walked an aisle, and was baptized. During my teenage years, I was the friend that parents felt comfortable letting their children hang out with on weekends. Around my junior year of high school, I became more heavily involved in the “party scene,” and although I would spend Saturday night partying, I would end up at church on Sunday morning. I wouldn’t have called myself a very “spiritual” person. Being a Christian was something that I was on Sunday, but for the most part it didn’t make a difference in the way I lived throughout the week.
Oddly enough, the young lady who I was “dating” at the time invited me to a youth gathering, and that night the pastor decided not to preach his prepared sermon. Instead he extended the singing for the rest of the night. As I sat there looking around at all the people worshiping and praying I realized that they were doing something I could not do and talking to Someone to whom I could not converse. And then all of a sudden I saw my sin for the first time the way God saw it. I was flooded with grief and remorse for the way that I had been living and I realized that this type of lifestyle was the reason that Jesus had to die on the cross. I had always been ok with the idea that God was willing to die for my sins, that he was willing to give so much for me. But I didn’t want to do any giving to him in return. I hit my knees right there and asked that God would forgive me of all my sin, knowing the whole time that I didn’t deserve it. Something mysterious happened in my heart and I felt like a new person. From that time on things were different; my desires began to radically change. I had a true Gospel-based, Christ-centered reason for my behavior and attitudes, and toward people and life. For the first time, when I prayed I knew there was Someone there and even when I was done, I still knew He was there. All the knowledge I had accumulated throughout 18 years of church, finally made sense to me.
I came to understand that Christ was not only my Savior offering me forgiveness because of the price he paid on the cross, but he is also my King calling me to be part of his Kingdom. This was not a need I had to “get to heaven” but it was a real relationship that I was entering into with the Creator of the universe. That decision has impacted everything from my long-term desires all the way to how I respond to those around me. For the first time, I could now offer forgiveness to others, not out of a sense of duty but because I had received the ultimate forgiveness from God. I could follow a call to serve God overseas because this good news of His love for us is worth spending my entire life sharing with other cultures and those that need to hear.
But this doesn’t mean that everything is all easy for me. I still argue with my wife and frustrate my kids. I still find it hard to love those who are not like me and I don’t extend grace and mercy to others like I expect it for myself. There are so many ways that I do not live up to my own standards, but I thank God that he is committed to continue to work in me. The initial call to believe his promises and turn from my old way of living is just as relevant now as it was 17 years ago. All the areas in my life where I do not measure up to the holy standards of God, I still have to repent from and keep believing that what God tells me is better than what “comes natural” to me. I need and rely on God’s grace in Christ today as much as I did all those years ago.
I was born in 1982 as the middle child, with an older brother and younger sister, to Christian parents who were very loving and always took me to church. I was saved at the age of 8 when I couldn't sleep one night and my mom lead me to the Lord. That night I accepted Christ as my savior and through the help of youth group and godly mentors I eventually learned what it meant for Him to be my Lord. I was always very active in Church and wanted to go to a Christian college, thinking there would be a greater chance of finding a Godly husband there. I did find that and on December 27,2003 I married Jarett Hall and had my first kiss ever!
We both felt called to missions but had to put our plans on hold when my mom passed away from breast cancer in November 2004 and not a year later my dad was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. We moved to Chattanooga took care of my father until he passed away in May 2006 and put family first for a number of years. We were able to go on a short term mission trip for Argentina for 6 months in 2007 through some contacts Jarett had down there and learned a lot about a missionaries life. I learned that I need to be involved in a team of other missionaries that are like minded theologically and that I need godly fellowship of other ladies that speak my language to help give me the strength to minister to others, especially in the beginning when the language barrier will be difficult. I am very active in my local church body hosting a fellowship group, attending bible studies, volunteering in the youth group and participating in a women's accountability group on Thursday nights. I am also currently being mentored by a godly women in my church who challenges me beyond what I am currently studying in the Word but also how I am living in out daily. As you can see godly fellowship is very important to me.