#147 Little Church by the Creek


Photo by Nicole Tarpoff

Several years ago, a lady spoke in our church about a project to help orphans in Russia. She talked about the opportunity to go to Russia to visit the orphanages and help. My husband and I had never been on a mission trip. We both clearly felt the Lord calling us to go to Russia, which is interesting because I am really not that fond of working with kids! It was December and the trip was in May. The cost was $3,000 per person, so we needed $6,000 for the two of us to go. We were struggling financially and were in a lot of debt at the time. In fact, just ten days before we heard about the Russian trip, we had filed for bankruptcy. We didn’t have a dime and thought, “How do we do this?” But we felt called us to go so we moved forward and applied for passports, trusting God to provide everything we needed.

In March, we attended a meeting with people from different states who were also planning to go on the trip. All donations toward our trip had to go to the organization, so before this meeting we didn’t know how much had been donated toward our trip. I felt going into the meeting that the amount was $740. When we found out at the meeting that the amount donated toward our trip was $740, I was so happy I jumped up and down. Even though this wasn’t close to what we needed, it was confirmation and we were more confident about our call to go. 

The day the money was due we found out only half the money we needed had been donated. We didn’t understand. I called a friend who was the pastor in another town (at the little church by the creek) and told him we didn’t have enough money to go but that the organization had given us ten more days. He asked who else we could ask to donate. Our regular pastor really hadn’t been that supportive of our going on the trip and I didn’t understand it because it was through his church that we learned of the opportunity to go. Our pastor friend at the other church asked if we could talk to our pastor about it. But I didn’t want to do that. I just kept asking other people for donations. I felt God calling me to talk our pastor and during church I felt God telling me that I was harboring bitterness toward the pastor and that I should ask for forgiveness. The message that day was from Philemon and was all about forgiveness. During communion there were different stations set up and the pastor stood up front. I walked up to him and said, “I need to confess. We don’t have all our money for the mission trip and I have kind of held it against you.” He said, “You jumped the gun. We are getting ready to bring out the bucket of love.” At the end of the service we had all the money we needed for our trip. Had I chosen to stay hurt and not gone to him and asked for forgiveness, I don’t believe God would have provided the money. 

My husband and I went on the mission trip. I now have a real heart for missions and have been on multiple mission trips since then. But I believe the first mission trip experience wasn’t about the mission itself. Instead it was for me to see God in a new way and to see myself as a forgiven person. I am finally able to trust God completely and no longer be led by fear.

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.

Jeremiah 33:3

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person

#120 Undeserved Kindness


Photo by Trevor Rapp

Growing up I didn’t have a good example of living a life of true faith. My mentality was, “God’s up there and He’s hard to please.” And I continued this way of believing into adulthood. I didn’t feel like I could count on anyone. I felt like I could do it myself, on my own. I didn’t know I had Jesus to go to.

When my second child was born, I started to really put pressure on myself to provide for my family. I felt a new sense of urgency and commitment to “do my best for my family,” and to me that meant I needed to work more. I am a very competitive person by nature, and although I knew some people were more talented than me, I felt my strength was my ability to outwork others.

But working more resulting in being away from my family more and this was NOT a good thing. I put all the responsibility on my wife to take care of the children. We spent less and less time together as a couple. Our roles as parents supplanted our roles as husband and wife. My family history included a lot of divorce. My parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles were divorced. I went into marriage thinking, “If this doesn’t work out, we can just get a divorce.” My wife’s parents were happily married and they were very involved in their church. They were great models for me.

Someone at work began to pursue me. I think about the story of Joseph and how Potiphar’s wife pursued him but he resisted. I wish I could have been like Joseph. I wish I would have resisted. But I didn’t, and because I didn’t, my wife and I went through a very difficult time. I hurt my wife so badly. Fortunately, because of my wife’s family, she did not give up on me. I went to talk to her father about what I had done. I was ashamed and embarrassed. He came out to my car, sat with me and showed me love that I didn’t deserve. I will never forget the unconditional love he showed me. It still moves me greatly to think of the grace and undeserved kindness he showed me.

It was a tough five to six years after that. I didn’t know if I would ever get back the confidence and trust of my wife. During this season, I met the man who led me to Christ. We met through a work project. I remember the first time I walked into his studio. There was so much peace there. He invited me to coffee to talk. I thought, “What does he want from me?” But he just listened as I poured my heart out. He asked if he could pray for me. We were still in the coffee shop and I was worried someone would see us. It just felt awkward, like everyone was looking at us. But I said “yes” and he prayed a beautiful, powerful prayer for me. This coffee shop meeting was a turning point in my life. I thank God for this man because he helped me to understand who God is and what it looks like to live a life in relationship with Jesus.  

Over time, my relationship was restored with my wife and family. But there were other changes I needed to make. I had fallen into the trap of defining myself by my job. I needed a change in how I viewed myself at work and a new understanding of my true identity and worth. For years, I had been working for the same company and I really wanted to leave and start my own business, but the time wasn’t right financially. I asked the Lord to show me how He could use me in my current work situation. God provided opportunities for me to be a light to others at my work. I began to understand why I was at work, that it was about serving God and people and letting God use my talents for Him. My desire became to glorify God in what I was doing professionally. Eventually, the time was right and I started my own business. Although it has been really hard at times, I know God will use it all for something better than I can imagine. God has brought clients to my business who pray with me—we even pray together about our work. This has been such a blessing to me. I am trying to offer every part of my work day to God. Before I go into a meeting, I will often pray, “Lord, I don’t know what this meeting is about, but let me be what You want me to be.”

Throughout this journey, God has brought many people to love me and help me. I have a wonderful church, where there is excellent teaching and many tools and support. I joined a Saturday morning men’s group at our church where I found a community of men who encourage me and help me grow. For the last six years, I have been in a Bible Study Fellowship group where I have continued to learn. I am so thankful for the blessing of community that God has provided. I still struggle and there is much more to be written of my story, but this I know: I have a Father who loves me unconditionally, who restores my brokenness, and who provides for me and guides me. He is available to me every moment of every day. I don’t have to do life on my own. 

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#117 Simple Laundry Room Prayer

 Photo by Erin E. Photography

I overreacted. I know it now and I knew it when it happened.

My husband was getting ready for work and had made a comment that just hit me the wrong way. I don’t even remember exactly what he said. But it made me mad. He was nearly ready to walk out the door and I wanted to say something back to him to let him know I did not appreciate the comment. But I knew in my anger that my words would be harsh and it would not lead to a meaningful conversation. He was going out the door to work and this wasn’t the way I wanted to say goodbye for the day. I had been down this road before and knew that my careless, angry words in the heat of the moment could lead down a rabbit hole of more and more hurtful words—not productive, not constructive, but tearing down kind of words.

I needed God’s help to control my urge to say angry words that I would regret. I went to our laundry room and prayed. My prayer went something like this, “Lord give me your words, not my words. Help me see my husband as you see him, with love. Help me be loving to him.”

I walked out of the laundry room calmer and when I looked at my husband at the back door in his suit dressed for work, I was overcome with gratitude to him for the way he provides for our family. And I noticed how handsome he looked in his suit. With God’s help, I was able to pay my husband a sincere compliment spoken in love and gratitude. God heard and responded to my simple laundry room prayer to overcome my petty irritation and help me love my husband.

What a gift to be able to rely on Him in all things, no matter how small. God cares. God listens and He will help.  

For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:5

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#108 Undeserved Grace


Photo by Lucas Wiman Photography

I was raised in a middle class, church-going family. My dad was a deacon at the church and we were in church three times a week. I was very involved in youth group and loved going to church. I was very involved in sports in high school and lived a clean life. I didn’t get in trouble. When I was 16 a friend offered me a prescription pain pill. I was scared to break the rules—I had never even drank. But for some reason, I took the drug and for the next five years, that was my life. All it took was one time. I went from using every weekend, to every day, to eventually injecting drugs. 

I had made my confession of faith at 10 years old in the church, but from 16–21 I decided God was not for me. I wanted to do my own thing. I was reckless and carefree. When I got to college things got worse. My life was out of control. I was stealing and selling drugs to support my habit. I had no morality. I was obsessed with filling myself with whatever I wanted, not thinking about the consequences. 

My family knew something was wrong but they had no idea it was drugs. They encouraged me to move in with my aunt in another town, and I did. Everyone thought I was still going to college, but every day I was driving to another town to get drugs. One day when I was on the highway, my radio had no reception so I turned it to the AM radio and hit “scan.” It stopped on a gospel station with a man giving a sermon. He said, “If you are addicted to prescription pain pills, there is a way out. It’s Jesus.” It felt like he was right in front of me slamming his fist down and saying “Stop right now!” I kept driving and several miles later a police pulled me over. I had been going 100 mph. I didn’t have drugs with me but I had a suspended license for two previous tickets for not wearing a seat belt. Because I was driving (and speeding!) on a suspended license, I was arrested and thrown in jail. I called my sister and lied about what happened. She got me out of jail. My court date was the next day and they told me NOT to miss it or I would be arrested. I had no intention of making the court date. I got my car and went back on my way to buy the drugs, except this time I decided I would buy a LOT of drugs because it was my birthday weekend. I bought $500–$600 worth of oxycodone and oxycotin. The next day I was going to meet a friend to do drugs and I was stopped at a traffic light. I hit the car in front of me so hard that my roof buckled. A little old lady got out of the car and came back to see if I was okay. I had drugs in my car and knew that if the police came this would be very bad, so I told her we needed to get out of the traffic and to pull into the bank parking lot across the street. She did and I drove right onto the interstate, leaving her there. 

Two days later my mom called and said the insurance company had called her and said I was in a hit and run. I lied to her and told her I was in school. But I knew I was caught. I decided to drive out of state, but as I was driving something in me said, “Turn around. You have to face this.” I drove to the hospital where my aunt worked as a physician’s assistant. She was getting ready to go into surgery but she came out. I said, “I’m a severe drug addict and I’m in a whole lot of trouble.” She said, “Obey the traffic laws and go to my house and wait until someone comes to get you.” 

My mom and dad were so faithful in their prayers for me and their love for me. Two days before I was arrested, my mom had gotten down on her face to pray for me. She asked God to reveal whatever I was doing, to have it come into the open. Two days later I was arrested. Shortly after, I confessed.

My family got me into a hospital where I went through medical detox for six days. After this, I went to a Christian rehab facility. Here I got my relationship back with Christ. Many older homeless men in the rehab center took me under their wing and told me I could overcome it. The first time I was allowed to call home, I found out one of the friends I did drugs with killed himself, the guy who introduced me to drugs when I was 16 had overdosed and had to be brought to life, and then this….

The woman I rear-ended and then tricked and abandoned was a preacher’s wife, and she didn’t want to press charges. Her forgiveness and compassion for me…it was so undeserved, so unexpected. I get emotional even now thinking of it. 

When I think of all the things that happened, I know they could not have been coincidences. God was in it all… saving me. 

I graduated the rehab program in nine months and then felt God call me to ministry. But I didn’t want to do it. I got a job at an electronics store and someone there offered me a pain pill. I took it and got back into using drugs, but only for a short time. I did what I had learned in rehab…I called my mom and dad and told them and they took me into their home so I could detox. I haven’t used drugs since then and that was eight years ago. 

I still felt the call to go into the ministry but I still didn’t want to do it. I wasn’t willing to give up my lifestyle. I was being selfish. I fought this calling for several years and then called my preacher and told him about it. He prayed with me and said, “If God is calling you to go into ministry, then you have to do it.”

Shortly after this meeting, my mom texted me, telling me about an opportunity to volunteer in a Christian homeless shelter. I was working at Cracker Barrel but began volunteering at the shelter once a week. When I began volunteering, the executive director of the shelter was a Harvard educated, Christ-centered man who became a great mentor to me. After a couple of months, he asked me to join the shelter as a full-time employee, and I agreed. For three years, he taught me communication skills, how to manage resources, how to deal with conflict, and many other skills. In 2015 I took over the Executive Director position.

I met my wife at the shelter. She was a nursing student and was assigned to do her clinical course work at the shelter. My wife has a strong faith. She inspires me and challenges me in my relationship with Christ every day. I was on the right path but she helps me be stronger. We now have a small farm together. 

How could I have ever gone from where I was to this?! Only God! God is loving and loves in a way that is beyond our comprehension. God knows everything I did—the worst of it—things no one else knows…but I am blameless before Him because of Christ. God has so much grace. Even though I resisted, God brought me into the ministry. Working at the shelter, I get to tell people who feel hopeless about true hope in Christ. I get to tell them about the peace and joy that God promises, the peace and joy that I experience that comes from my relationship with Jesus. Jesus died to redeem me and transform me; He has done this and He is doing this still today. He saved and transformed me and He can do this for others too!

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#103. Missionaries in the Mountains: Surrender and Abundance


Photo by Amy Wallen Photography

My wife and I had both worked at a stable in Mississippi, and then God led me to attend seminary. I attended Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina and I can remember some of the faculty asking me what I wanted to do after I graduated. I told them I wanted to use horses to share God’s love with kids! This was met with some raised eyebrows and “not sure about that” expressions on their faces. I have to admit this was a non-conventional path for a seminary graduate. In fact, I had no idea of how this might come to fruition. It was September, with graduation approaching in December, and I didn’t even know where to begin looking for this kind of ministry opportunity.

Shortly after this I was able to attend the Equestrian Ministries International conference where I met the man that led this ministry. His insights were very helpful to me. This was followed by my attending a conference at Asbury Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, where I learned of an equine ministry in the mountains of Kentucky that was looking for a director. My wife and I spent a week in the mountains meeting the founders of this ministry. It was wonderful and I felt drawn to take the job. 

But after I returned home I began to doubt…it was 2008 in the middle of the financial crisis and this job did not offer any pay. I had a wife and a child to take care of. I sent the founder of the ministry a very long email about my concerns, but essentially my question to him was, “How can I take this job with no pay?” He emailed me back with only one sentence:

“If this is where God wants you, then God will take care of the rest.” 

A simple but profound answer that spoke powerfully to me. My wife and I agreed to pray separately that night about what the Lord would have us to do. At this point, I was ready to lay it all down and give up my idea of ministry through horses. I wanted what God wanted, and I prayed earnestly for God to reveal His will to me. It was then, through my complete surrender to God, that I received clarity and direction. By midnight, I knew the mountains of Kentucky was where we were to go.

My wife felt the same direction from her prayers that night. I accepted the position of director and we moved to the mountains of Kentucky.

God has continued to bless our family and the ministry since we moved here eight years ago. We now have four children and God has provided in every way, including financially. He has provided a beautiful place for the ministry with 25 acres, 3 stables, 24 stalls, an arena, trails, and a classroom. God has given us the opportunity to share the love of Jesus while on horseback. At our Lil Buckaroo Boot Camp, kids learn how to care for and ride horses while also singing songs and participating in scripture reading. We also work with a local elementary school to love, encourage, and teach children who have autism about riding and caring for horses. 

I was on a journey to find out God’s will for my life. I had to step outside of my comfort zone to do so. His ways were much different than mine. I received the call and was a bit resistant initially. As a man, I was looking for security, as I had a family to provide for. But God was looking for me to surrender to Him and all He had for me. When I did, He showed up and has provided for us abundantly.

I appeal to you therefore, brother by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:1-2

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#100 Merciful and Gracious


 Artwork by Lily Murphy

My grandparents raised me until I was six years old. They were very godly people. We went to church regularly and they taught me great values. When I was six years old my mom got married and I went to live with her and my stepdad, who adopted me. My stepdad and I fought a lot, mostly because I was disrespectful. When I was 16 we got into a fight and he threw me out of the house. I ran the streets and began using drugs. 

By age 17, I was trafficking drugs and had my first felony by age 18. I went to jail but my parents bonded me out in two days. In the next couple of years, I started cocaine. By age 20, I had six counts of felony receiving stolen property. I went to prison and started reading the Bible. I was interested but not committed. After I got out of prison, I violated my parole with alcohol and cocaine and spent six more months in prison. This happened four times with the same result…each time I went back to prison. So between 2000–2004, my life was spent in and out of prison. While I was out of prison, I went to college and completed courses. Finally, I successfully completed parole and graduated college with a degree in social work and a 3.36 GPA. 

Instead of using my social work degree, I bought three nightclubs with the money I inherited when my mom died. One was a rave club. The clubs produced a massive amount of money. I went into drug dealing, selling Ecstasy in the rave club. I was flying in and out of Miami and Vegas to get drugs. I bought restaurants and opened a real estate company. But then things started crashing down around me. My best friend overdosed. My business partner committed suicide. Then a soldier got a drug in one of my nightclubs that killed him, and girl at one of my clubs got a drug that caused her to go into a coma. The police arrested a dealer in Miami and eventually that led the police to me. I was sentenced to 12 years in a federal prison. But even when I went to federal prison, I was still thinking about how I could develop my drug business to be even bigger and better when I got out.

While in prison, I got into an argument with a guard, which got me thrown into the “hole”—basically prison within prison. There on my bunk was a small Gideon New Testament Bible. I started reading it, and by Matthew 16 I started crying. I said, “I am checking out of this. If you’re real, God, show me.” Now the hole is very loud, with prisoners making all kinds noise, but within minutes after saying this, everything went quiet. Everything stood still. A warm sensation wrapped me up and held me. It literally felt like someone holding me. In my head I heard, “You’re forgiven.” 

 Then I said, “Yes Lord, but what about this…?”

“You are forgiven.”

And again I asked, “But what about this…?”

“You are forgiven.”

Back and forth this went on until I finally believed I was forgiven. Then I sat and cried. I still felt that warmth, like I was being held. Then from my toes to the top of my head, the presence just swept through my body. It was like I had just taken my first breath. The hair on my arms stood up. Everything in the prison cell was beautiful. Even the stainless-steel toilet was gleaming. I felt such joy. From that moment on everything in my life changed. I started reading my Bible again and soon a young man was brought to share the hole with me. We became great friends; we prayed together and became brothers in Christ. Later, when we were both out of the hole, he invited me to a Bible study and I started to go. I told the prison chaplain about my story and my experience with God, and he began discipling me into the faith.

I prayed, “Lord, I want to know the truth. Show me what is true and what is not.” The Lord sent people and books to show me the truth. God sent me books on theology and apologetics, defense of the Christian faith. And God opened my eyes to truth through the scriptures. I hungered so much for God’s Word and spent six hours each day studying the Bible and memorizing verses.

I began to see how God was blessing me after I got out of the hole. Usually when you go to the hole, all your personal possessions are destroyed or thrown away. When I got out of the hole, all of my possessions were returned to me in perfect shape. Everything was stacked neatly in a bag. Even my underwear was folded. One of the prison officers said to me later, “How did you like that bag? Be blessed!” This just does NOT HAPPEN IN PRISON! Then I had a court date about the altercation with the guard that landed me in the hole and they forgave it and cleaned it off my record. I got the best job you could get in prison. I started serving in the prison church, ushering and preaching from time to time. I was moved to a prison in Virginia, then to Kentucky, my home state. Here I was discipled by a wonderful prison chaplain, a committed, godly man.

At the end of my prison sentence, the prison chaplain told me he felt God calling him to help me. Three days before I was released from prison, the chaplain told me to call a men’s ministry and recovery program. I interviewed there and connected with the director. I spent the next six years working there, preaching, teaching, cooking, counseling, volunteer coordinating, and renovating their building. Because I had a social work degree, I was eligible to become a certified alcohol and drug counselor. A counselor I had met when I was released was the counselor for the resident drug abuse program and agreed to be my supervisor for this certification process. After I became a certified counselor, I created my own ministry for outpatient substance abuse treatment. This ministry has expanded and I now have my own building. In 2016, I went back to graduate school to become a licensed professional clinical counselor in mental health. I will graduate in July 2018 with a Masters in Counseling and Human Development after which I will be able to expand my ministry into mental health counseling as well as substance abuse counseling. I am also now working for Job Corp, an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor and Department of Agriculture. In this role I work with 16-24 year olds to provide counseling and substance abuse prevention and intervention. 

My life bears witness to a God that is MERCIFUL and GRACIOUS. He gave me life. He gave me a chance to turn it all around. I should have been in prison for life. I damaged and destroyed thousands of lives. It still amazes me…moves me to tears. I am FORGIVEN. Because of God’s love that is beyond all comprehension and Christ’s sacrifice, I am FORGIVEN. Pure. Blameless. My slate is clean. 

“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.”

Matthew 18:12–13

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#91 God Shaped Hole

 Photo by Erin E Photography

I met my ex-husband right out of high school. At the time, I believed in Jesus and that He died for our sins, but it was more of an “as-needed” thing. God was in a closet and I brought Him out when I needed Him. My ex-husband was into drugs and alcohol when I met him and I became consumed in that lifestyle with him. He made it clear that he had no faith, and to win his affection I made the decision to agree with him in that. I definitely felt it was important to be a good person and respect other people’s beliefs, but my attitude toward God was, “That works for some people but I don’t need that.” 

I lived with him for about a year before I got pregnant. I knew that from the beginning he had an issue with not being able to be faithful to me. This had been a big problem for me, and when I found out I was pregnant I said, “If you are going to continue to live this way, I can’t do this. Are you willing to do this with me and only me? If not, this needs to end now.”

He decided to stick together and even though he had broken my trust over and over in the past two years, I gave him a chance. We got married when our son was two years old. About six months later, I was sitting alone at a park watching my son play and a couple came over and asked me if they could pray for me. I wanted to respect them and even though it felt really awkward, I let them pray for me. They asked if they could pray for anything specific. I said “No,” so they just prayed a general prayer over me. 

A week or two later, a few of my friends from a previous workplace wanted to get together at a coffee house. I was running late and rushed in really stressed. As I was walking in the door, I saw a girl I graduated high school with and she was on the phone. She grabbed my arm, smiled and said, “Hi! How are you? My pastor is on the phone. Can he pray for you?”  I thought, “He better make this fast because I am late!” I took the phone and her pastor prayed that God would show up in my life. That was it. 

I got my coffee and sat down with my friends. They were all quiet. Finally, one of them said they had found out from a reliable source that my husband was having an affair. In that moment, I felt an unexplainable peace, like God was wrapping me up in a hug. While I was still sitting there, we called the girl and she admitted to the affair. It was a pleasant but somber conversation. Again, I had a supernatural peace. 

I was encouraged by my family to work it out with my husband and decided to try. We stayed together for another four to five months after I found out about the affair, but I kept finding messages, emails, and porn. I felt like he wasn’t going to be able to stop. I had also dealt with some abuse. I had never felt as lonely in my entire life.

We divorced when our son was three. After this I felt like God really pursued me. My thoughts started changing. Out of the blue, I had a desire to take my son to church. I had been against that the whole time I was married. It was a miracle that I felt the desire to go to church. After going to church every Sunday for a full year, I gave my life to Christ. 

During this time, God used the sermons to speak to me in powerful ways. One Sunday, the pastor said that there is a God-shaped hole in our hearts. We can try and fill it with whatever, but God is the only One that can fill that empty space. Unless He fills it, we will be constantly searching and unfulfilled. That really connected with me because that is what I had been trying to do—fill the hole with drugs, alcohol, and men. 

In another sermon, the pastor talked about the fact that people will always disappoint us but God never will. God did not create the world to be the way that it is. I was a completely broken person when I heard this message, 23 years old, divorced, with a four-year-old. I had started dating someone and our relationship was not honoring God. I was stressed financially and emotionally. My whole life had been a series of disappointments from people that I loved and trusted. 

After hearing that sermon, I completely surrendered to the Lord. I finally said to God, “I can’t make decisions in my life without You.” I was ready for God to take over. I was ready to be obedient.  I call this the day I was truly saved. My relationship with God really started that day. Looking back, I can see how God brought me to that place. He was with me the whole time and was so patient to wait for me to give up my pride. When I was ready, He welcomed me with open arms. He redeemed me. 

I felt God leading me away from the man I was dating. I wanted a God-honoring relationship, so I walked away.

That was in June of 2013. In the fall of that year, I started a BSF Bible study with some women on the Gospel of Matthew. I immersed myself in the Gospel and was completely changed by Jesus. As I got to know Jesus better, I realized that if I ever remarried, my husband would have to be sold out for Christ. 

Friends had fixed me up with a man right after my divorce—before my life changed. He knew right away I was not right for him. He was a man of great character, a Christian who was committed to living a God-honoring life. And at the time we first met, I was a “train wreck.” We became Facebook friends after we first met, and over the next few months he noticed that I was changing because of what I was posting on Facebook. We decided to meet for coffee. His love for Jesus was so evident. He told me, “I’m not looking for someone to fulfill me. I’m looking for someone to partner with me in serving Jesus.” He shared that he had gotten a divorce because his wife had an affair. It had been a devastating experience for him. I could relate to him—we both knew what it felt like to be betrayed. 

We are now married and I see the difference between a marriage with Christ and a marriage without Christ. God has revealed to me what He created marriage to look like—the emotional connection, the intimacy, and supporting and serving each other while partnering to serve others. 

But it hasn’t all been easy. We struggled to get pregnant, and our first pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage. A few months later I became pregnant again and the Lord gave that baby an extra chromosome. We struggled through the pregnancy, and still do to some extent, to accept that our child will face unimaginable circumstances at times. BUT—God has given me freedom from circumstances in that I have peace in the midst of uncertainty. It is a joy to go through life’s challenges with Jesus and a husband who is so supporting. God provided a strong, compassionate, prayerful husband who trusts with me that God is sovereign, God is in control, and He knows what He is doing. God is so big but He is also in every tiny detail. He sees the whole world but walks intimately with his kids every step of the way. God doesn’t abandon us when we struggle to believe. He is rock solid—forever unchanging. He is redeeming every broken detail of my past. He is in the business of forgiveness and is patiently loving me in my successes and failures every day. 

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#89 That is True Love


Photo by Lucas Wiman

One day back in November I was in a pretty sour mood for most of the day. I was having bitter feelings toward a person who really had done me no wrong. These feelings kept attacking me throughout the day because I felt hurt by the person. 

I was feeling miserable by the time my campus ministry meeting started that night. The message spoke to my heart because it talked about how desperately we needed God to perform surgery on our hearts to free us from our sinful nature and habits. I went back to my dorm and felt drawn to my knees. I started to pray, “Father, show me what true forgiveness looks like.” He cut me off halfway through the word “forgiveness” and put an image in my head of Jesus on the cross. He was beaten and had blood pouring down from him. He was bruised and in great agony yet He called out, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” God told me, “This is true forgiveness.” 

Then the vision in my head went back to just before Jesus was crucified. I was on the platform with Jesus; one of us was about to be set free, the other was going to the cross. I knew my sin and that I was deserving of the punishment, but in my selfishness I thought to myself, “I hope that they send Jesus to the cross, because if Jesus goes to the cross then I can be free.” Jesus looked over at me and says, “That is why I came; go and sin no more.” God said to me, “That is true love.” 

With that vision I was finally able to really grasp Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. He taught me love and forgiveness in a very powerful way that left me in awe. How awesome our God is!

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#82 He Sees Me White As Snow


Photo by Morgan Worley Photography

I asked Jesus into my heart and was baptized in third grade. I grew up in the church and was lucky to have the opportunity to learn about God and the Bible multiple times a week. I knew all of the stories. I knew all of the facts. And that’s what my faith was: facts. I never understood how to take these facts and turn them into a relationship with God. 

I had been a believer for 10 years by the time I got to college. But throughout parts of my time in college, there was someone in my life who was pulling me away from the Lord. The relationship was never pointing to Christ, and this person quickly became an idol in my life. This made it very easy for this person’s emotionally and mentally abusive words to soak into the core of who I was. As a result, my identity was formed around these harsh words. 

I am unimportant. I am unlovable. I am unworthy. I am unwanted. 

I lived with this identity for close to two years before finally I couldn’t take it anymore. I began meeting with a woman from a local church for biblical counsel. We met for four months. She helped me work through many passages, but one day sticks out to me above the others. She told me to write out all of the reasons I needed forgiveness from God and pray through 1 John 1:9 in the time between our next meeting. When we met again she asked if I had asked God for forgiveness. She was puzzled when I said I hadn’t. She had me read 1 John 1:9 aloud. “But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all wickedness.” Then she asked me if I believed what this verse said. Of course I believed it; it was another one of the facts that I had memorized as a young child. Jesus came and died on the cross for the sins of the world. Easy. But then she asked if I believed this for me. 

Tears immediately started rolling down my cheeks. I didn’t believe it. I couldn’t comprehend Jesus would do that for me. But it’s true. Not only did Jesus forgive me of my sins, but He blotted out the stains the sin left. When God looks at me, He sees me white as snow. After two years of asking all the wrong questions, I asked for forgiveness and He renewed me in the same instant. 

And now I have a new identity. I am a daughter of the King. I am chosen in Christ. I am created in the image of God. I am adopted by the Father. These truths ignite a fire in my soul because I know that my identity and worth come solely from the One who fearfully and wonderfully made me in His image—praise God! 

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.

#67 From A Pit Of Darkness To Glorious Life

Photo by Erin E Photography

I had always been the good girl. The one who never went out, got good grades, and loved the Lord. When I came to college I found myself a little lost. I began partying and seeking attention from any boy that walked my way. After drunken nights and horrible mornings, I thought maybe I needed to stop doing this and go back to Jesus. I transferred schools and thought that every temptation and sin would be left behind. I got back into the party scene, and one weekend found myself drugged at a party. I woke up the next morning unclothed, unaware of where I was, and ashamed. I had been raped that night. My world came tumbling down. My heart became hard toward Jesus and I lost sight of who He really was. After months of not dealing with the pain of that night, I finally broke down. My walls crashed to the ground and on the other side was Jesus. My Savior, my Comforter, my Redeemer was there all along. He reminded me that I am loved, sought after, and clean. My brokenness led me to see Jesus in a way I never had before. At the moment of absolute despair, my Savior saved me. I was in a pit of darkness, but by His grace I was brought to glorious life.

A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.