I was born in Naperville, Il in the same hospital all of my babies were born. I was joined to my mom, dad, sister, Suzi who was 6 and brother, Peter who was 4. I have to say, I have the best parents ever, and I hope to be as great as them one day. They may say differently, but I think they are a couple to which parenting came very easy or maybe we were just easy kids, I don’t know for sure! (: Born into a Christian family, I received Christ at age 5, I still remember sitting in the reddish chair on my mom’s lap in the living room. We went to Sunday School and wore our Sunday best. I went to christian school and AWANA. My parents were very involved in the church. My parents spent lots of time singing with and to me about Jesus and we had lots of talks about Him. I loved Jesus and I would pray often to Him as a little kid. I have many wonderful childhood memories.
As Jr. High approached, longing for acceptance from my peers became a big influence in my behavior. As a teenager, I rebelled, mostly in attitude, but to some, that is everything. High School was not easy spiritually. I was not the typical people pleaser. The stricter the rules at school, the more attitude I had. Looking back, there were some in the church and school who were very harsh and strict. This impacted me greatly. On the other hand, there were a handful of teachers who did care. There were harsh words spoken to us but most of that was said by one or a few individuals. We rebelled, sad to say it was almost a game. Having a boyfriend in H.S. didn’t really help the situation, at least not spiritually. I regret not investing more into my friendships. My attitudes were wrong, there had to have been a better way of dealing with these things. I believe God allows all things for a purpose and as I look back there is much to be learned from those experiences. He knows what each of us needs as individuals. Even though things can look dim, He is there holding and guiding us with His hands.
As I went on to attend a christian college, my eyes were vastly opened. There were people there that loved, really loved God whose standards were not nearly as high as I thought Christians should have. It was a good eye opener for me. I also had a boyfriend there who was a big influence on me and caused me to ponder a lot of spiritual beliefs and grow deeper in my relationship with Christ. God was beginning to slowly peel back the layers with His grace, perhaps the layers of my hard heart. Ever since then, it’s just been more and more layers of grace He’s lavished upon me. I’m so undeserving of this, but that is what makes it grace, if I deserved it, it wouldn’t be grace. And with God, there is no one whose life His grace cannot redeem. No one.
During and after college I attended a good and influencial singles group at church. I went on a life-changing missions trip to Mexico and when I returned my boyfriend broke up with me. I was sad for about what seemed one day, knowing that it wasn’t God’s best for us to go further in our relationship. This was another of God’s graces in my life. Five month later, I received a call from the cutest boy in the singles group. By this time, I was done with college and working as an administrative assistant at IBM. He asked me out in August of 1999 and in July of 2001, we found the happiest day of our lives as we said, “I Do”.
Part 2 – To be continued.