Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Testimony Tuesday - Week Eight

Hey everyone! It's a snowy Tuesday over here in TN and well, probably everywhere but Florida! Today a special blogging friend, sweet Ally, is sharing her testimony with us! I highly encourage you to check out her blog because she is such a sweet ray of sunshine. And her testimony of God's grace is amazing!
"Hi everyone! I’m super excited to be a guest on Katie’s blog today. I love the heart that she has for the Lord and the awesome ways that she’s using this great blog of hers. So now…on to my story!
I was really blessed to grow up in a great community with an awesome family. I grew up in a small town where everyone knew each other and cared about each other. It’s the kind of place where going to the grocery store takes much longer than planned not because of the long lines or traffic, but because of all the people you see in the store with whom you catch up with along the way. I absolutely loved my community and feel like it was an amazing support group in which to grow my faith.
My parents are both strong Christians and I was raised to love God above all else. I first accepted Christ into my heart when I was pretty young. I remember hearing the lesson at Sunday school and later praying with my Dad and accepting Jesus into my heart. It was a simple and sincere prayer, and I never looked back.
One of the moments that made the biggest impact on my life happened when I was only 6 years old when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Being so little, I don’t remember much from that time and that alone is a huge blessing because it was a rough time for my family. The cancer was really advanced and my mom had to undergo radiation, chemotherapy, and a bone marrow transplant. I remember visiting my mom in the intensive care unit at the hospital and waking up and having Grandma at the house because Mom had to be taken to the hospital with my Dad. When it looked like things couldn’t get much worse, I turned to the only one I knew who could really help my mom, and that was God. It’s pretty amazing that I had such a strong faith at that age but I think it’s one of those great things about having a childlike faith- you really believe that things will happen if you pray them.
I can still imagine this scene in my mind. Little me, kneeling down on the ground with tears running down my eyes, praying with all my 6-year old strength for God to heal and save my mom. I prayed harder than I’ve ever prayed before and I don’t even remember stopping. I think I fell asleep on the floor that night with tears staining the floor beneath me. But you know what happened next? It’s one of the greatest testimonies to God’s incredible faithfulness in my life and it’s the miracle that has forever impacted my life…God did a miracle and my mom was totally healed. She was completely healed and she’s been cancer-free ever since. Praise the Lord!
That moment really set the course for the rest of my faith journey. I grew up knowing, without a doubt, that God was more powerful, mighty, and able than I could even imagine and my only response was to glorify him in all that I did. My church was an incredible support system and I grew in my faith throughout high school while being really involved in various activities at school and church.
When it came time to go to college, I had a short list of schools that I was serious about. The leading contender was a school in Minnesota that some neighbors of mine had attended. I visited that school and didn’t feel like it was the right fit. However, there was another school right down the road that we decided we "might as well" visit. That school was Bethel University and it blew me away. Bethel was a Christian school focused on authentic community and the spirit of the Lord seemed so present there. For the first time in all of my visits, the school seemed to feel just perfect.
Unfortunately, Bethel couldn’t compete with the scholarship offers of my other choices and I ended up deciding to attend a different school. By God’s grace, he placed me in the perfect situation that summer before college working for the school I had committed to on a summer work crew. That experience let me see a different picture of what that school was and I knew that it wouldn’t be the right next step for me. I told my parents one week before move-in that I didn’t want to attend that school and instead had my heart set on Bethel. Again, God moved in my life and increased the scholarship offer at the last minute to Bethel, which allowed me to switch to Bethel and enroll as a full-time student.
Looking back now, I can again, without a doubt, see God’s hand at work in leading me to Bethel. And being at Bethel was one of the very best decisions I’ve ever made. I had an incredible college experience meeting other believers who truly lived out their faith, meeting professors who became like family, and experiencing God on a whole other level. My faith grew exponentially and in the very last semester of my time at Bethel, God surprised me yet again with one of my very best gifts…I met my husband, David.
David and I met on a trip to Belize through Bethel where we were both studying integrative medicine. We became fast friends as part of a tightly knit group of students who really bonded on that trip. When we all returned home from the trip, we hung out nearly every weekend and David and I slowly started to become more than "just friends."
I had always prayed for the man that I would marry. In high school and throughout most of college, I didn’t date much but had many guy friends, knowing that eventually the one would come and he would be so worth the wait. I had written specifically in my journal that I wanted to be a "dynamic duo and do more for the Kingdom together than apart." Guess what? God again blew me away. One night in Belize, as we all chatted long into the night, David revealed that he was looking for a "dynamic duo" in his future spouse. He wanted to better together with his wife than he would be apart and to do more for the Kingdom as part of that partnership. My mouth nearly hit the floor when I heard him say that, but I kept it to myself thinking, "What? Did he really just say that? Oh wow, God. I need you to help me hear better! He couldn’t have said those exact words could he?" But he did. And that was the start of an incredible love story that culminated with our wedding this past July!
Dating David was better than anything I could have imagined and being married to him now is even better. Our wedding day was filled with the people we love the most and focused on our dedication to have a marriage built on the rock of Christ. The verse we based our wedding on was John 15:12, "Love each other as I have loved you." It was an overwhelming day for me, looking back on the incredible faithfulness of our awesome God in my life and seeing his steady hand continuing to guide me down his incredible path.
My story doesn’t take a lot of twists and turns, but I’ve realized that it doesn’t have to be a great testimony to who God is. More than anything, I have seen throughout my entire life that we serve an incredible, powerful, mighty, healing, redeeming, grace-filled, and FAITHFUL God. I pray that all of you would experience the incredible love he has for you and the incredible plans that he has for all of our lives. May you feel his love in a very present way today!"
Meet Ally over at her blog, The Pencil Path!



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