When you begin to type a new post on WordPress, it says “Share your story here.” How ironic that sharing my story is exactly what I’m doing.
I have 3 friends that really, really encourage me within my faith. One of them has mentioned creating this post more than once; Another asked me to draw it.
I’m scared, honestly. Being transparent and vulnerable seems wild to me. There are parts of this story that I work hard to keep hidden. It’s not what’s comfortable; But, being a follower of Jesus isn’t about what is convenient or comfortable for us. It’s about Him. Purely and entirely Him.
That’s what my story is about too: Jesus.
Before I met Jesus, I was a very broken girl. Of course I was considered to be a good person, but I was young and shy and living life without a drive to serve. I had, and sometimes, still do, a whole lot of fear built up inside.
I was born almost 17 years ago and have lived on the same street in Alabama my entire life. I’ve grown up in a supportive Christian home where I rarely ever miss a Church service. Church has been a constant for me, and really, it’s all I’ve ever known–About a week before my second birthday, my sister, Annie, was born. Incase you don’t know Annie, she has special needs…not long after that my mom was diagnosed with cancer. Around this same time, my Granddaddy also had cancer.
Now you can understand why I’ve lived a life full of fear, can’t you? From the beginning, my life has been anything but normal. I remember so little of this time; but I do know that it is by the grace and healing power of God that my family is healthy and happy today. We will never stop praising Jesus for his goodness.
After all of that, my life was pretty mellow until I started 3 grade. Our church has a revival called “Awakening” every single year, and it was that year that I fearfully met Jesus with my worries and invited him into my heart. I’ll never, ever forget the joy knowing Jesus brings. I’m pretty sure that next day I told every single kid in my 3rd grade class that I knew Jesus and that he was GOOD.
This joy signifies a great start to our 2010; unfortunately though, that year doesn’t feel that way. My dad lost his job the day before I started 4th grade that fall. About a month later, my grandfather passed away. That’s a lot of hurt and loss for a small child who has seen God move mountains in her life.
My dad eventually started working for ESPN and FOX and my mom started a new job that she loves. They both are able to have jobs that they are passionate about.
Middle school was a rough season of life. I don’t know of many people who can confidently look back at their middle school years. Bless my soul; I was a mess– I ran from God instead of pursuing Him.
But it was through my middle school years that I fell in love with Jesus all over again–He meets us in our mess, and He makes our mess so beautiful.
The mess in my life was me trying to fill an emptiness in my heart with other humans, but it was really an emptiness that only God could satisfy. When I realized that, everything changed.
I started high school in 2015, and it has been one of the biggest blessings. So much growing, loving, serving, and learning has occurred within my high school years. One day, soon, I’m going to have a really hard time letting it go.
I ran into a point of exhaustion during my 10th grade year. I was entirely overcommitted and had a serious fear of missing out, and I just needed to rest. I’m so thankful that rest can be found within God. During that time, he took some of my greatest fears and turned them into my greatest blessings.
Although my junior year began the way I always dreamed it would, it’s been nothing like my dreams. It started in a polo, driving myself to school, and beginning 1st period with one of my favorite teachers. But after that, nothing’s normal.
We found out in September that my aunt has cancer. We’re too familiar with cancer to be able to find much comfort. That surprise hit me with a lot of fear.
Not long after that, we got a new youth pastor. My other two youth pastors have influenced my story, too. There are bits and pieces mentioned that involve them, but when I think of Taylor, I think of God’s perfect timing.
One of my dearest friends graduated college and moved away at the end of my sophomore year. Not only did she move home, but she then moved out of the country. She’s a servant, and I’m so thankful for the way she’s loved and poured into me all these years. However, not having her, and suddenly being hit by a ton of adversity shaped bricks, was hard. I needed someone here. That’s where the perfect timing comes in—my youth pastor and his wife have taught us and led us in such a humble way. Timing was perfect within that relationship; I’ve been encouraged through my adversity by great leaders who have led me through a beautiful time of spiritual growth. If I didn’t know them, I can’t say that I would be doing this right now. I’m so thankful.
In November, I gained a few bruises from those adversity shaped bricks. My sister is in kidney failure and spent two weeks in the hospital in November. The day Annie came home was the same day a sweet friend of ours, Anna, was admitted to the hospital for a liver transplant. Annie left room 941 that afternoon, and Anna was admitted to room 941 that night; I think that beautiful detail plays such an important role in both of their stories. Our God is sovereign and remains faithful to us always.
Our friend Anna passed away a few weeks after that, and December was a really hard month. Annie’s levels weren’t getting any higher, and we seemed to be getting bad news after bad news. She started dialysis at the beginning of January. My parents and sister travel an hour 3 days a week for treatment.
Life right now has been really, really hard. It is uncertain and scary and I’ve struggled a lot.
While I don’t know the outcome of my current struggles, I do know is that our God is faithful. He is merciful. He is gracious. He is perfect. He is all-knowing. His is our joy. He loves relentlessly. He fights for us. He knows us. And that we are precious to Him.
Each of these truths are written and displayed all throughout my story. I look at my life and I see a story of a rescue and hope. I see a story of joy and new life. I see a story of conquered fears and healing.
And because of that, I can look ahead and see a faithful father, even when life is hard. His faithfulness is not contingent upon our circumstances.
I’ve always been worried that my story didn’t mean anything, because to me, it seems really hard for anyone to relate to a girl who ran from God with a family full of cancer and a sister with special needs. My life looks really, really different, and I’ve struggled with that a lot. It’s not as simple as everyone else’s seems to be.
I recently wrote a blog post about fear, and how God conquers (John 16:33) it. Our life is an ocean and things like my sister’s kidney failure, are only waves. And yes, when you try to jump over waves with all of your might you might get knocked down. But we can reach up to God to hold us above the waves— because he’s an ocean-tamer.
He’s been that in my life, and my prayer is that you would allow him to hold you above the waves when they get rough. He is faithful.
The moment we give Christ control of our circumstances, everything changes. I promise.