Ten years ago, I wrote an article for the very first culture magazine. Over 10 years my life has changed drastically; from being a single girl in grade 10, a youth leader in the church and serving on kids ministry; to being a wife, mother and coming onto the eldership team with my husband, Dusty. There is no doubt the Church and God have played a significant role in my life these past 10 years.
To put into words exactly how God and the church have impacted my life is extremely difficult. Finding a good Church that is Bible-based and preaches the truth unapologetically, I have found to be of more value than gold.
It’s a church like this that not only pushes you to grow but also uses Godly standards and not human ideas as a measuring stick to a Christ-centered life. Because of this reality, I have found the pursuit of Christ-centeredness has been a guiding light these past years that has helped me become the mother, wife and daughter of God I am today.
When I was 16 I had dreams, but little did I know God had a different dream for me, plans I never thought possible, plans I never saw myself living out. God’s master plan led me to lay down my dream of a career in drama and psychology and gave me a new dream of church planting with my husband and taking up a position in full-time ministry to serve the church and actually get paid for it (can I be any more blessed?). Drama was my passion at school and I loved everything about it. Ten years ago I was on the youth leadership team, served in CityHill kids, attended school and like some teenagers, although I had dreams I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to be or do after school. Once I had completed matric, I decided to take a gap year and dedicated that year to be productive. I spent a year working, travelling and going on missions. I guess that year was a significant one in my life; you can’t go on a mission trip and come back the same. But when my gap year had come to an end, I decided to do a degree in drama and performance studies and psychology.
My parents have always valued the Church. From a small child, I remember attending church was a priority. My brother made it into a Highway soccer team and their matches all fell on a Sunday, which meant he and my parents had to choose, church or soccer. Considering how important church was to us as a family, it was a no-brainer. Church can be many things to many people, but I have always believed what you put in is what you get out. The Biblical term for that is “what you sow is what you reap”. If church is a “right thing to do” or a “when I have time” thing, it is more likely you won’t get to live in the full blessing of what church was designed for. What was it designed for? A one-way entrance ticket into heaven? To tick the boxes of righteousness? To me, it has always been community… a community to serve with your gifts, make friendships, help, love and do life with others but most importantly to celebrate Jesus and learn more about him. As I sowed myself into the church in this way over the past 10 years, I have reaped God’s favour and blessing and I have seen His hand of provision in every area of my life. Sometimes we forget God uses people as His hands on earth. I could tell you hundreds of stories of how we have been blessed by people in the church during some of the most demanding times in life, like marriage and pregnancy but, instead, I would rather keep the focus on the principle of “You reap what you sow.”
Many things in life come and go but I made sure God and church weren’t one of them. As a family, we shared in many of life’s difficulties over the past 10 years. My dad was telling me the other day of how God has been his rock through difficult times and how he has used his greatest tool – his only tool, the Church – to help get him through these difficult times. He had a revelation that even when the going gets tough, make church and hanging with other like-minded Christians a priority and God will get you through it. He recalls going to church in hard times and not being able to focus on the message as worry and hardship consumed his thoughts but he just kept going. Sometimes it wasn’t the preach that got him through the hardships, it was the pat on the back, the “you can do it” affirmation he received from friends and the assurance that he wasn’t alone. Sometimes sowing isn’t easy, it’s hard and tedious, but when it comes to Jesus and His church, I have come to learn that it is worth the hardship.
I told you it would hard for me to put into words just how much God and the church have impacted my life over the past years. In some ways, I feel like it is like trying to stop a tsunami with a Tupperware lid. How do I explain the impact of something that has affected every single area of my life? How can I put into words that in “Seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” He really has given me and continues to give me all the desires of my heart. I can’t! All I can do is encourage you to do the same thing and I can guarantee you that in 10 years from now you will also look back and equally struggle to explain the impact God and the church have made in your life because He is just that good!