Hey Church! It's #TestimonyTuesday and today we have the God story of Candice, a sweet soul and sister in Christ here at CVVC:
Growing up in the home I was raised wasn’t easy. God wasn’t the main focus of our family. In fact, there was a lot of drugs, alcohol, suicide attempts, emotional abuse, neglect…the list goes on. Although God and church wasn’t a huge part of my life when I was a child, my step dad did take us to church a few times and God was mentioned a little bit. I remember always repeating in my mind when I was younger with streams of tears running down my face, “I don’t want a life like this when I am older, I want to have a loving family and make better choices for myself.” Little did I know, God was listening to every single cry, every single time.
It wasn’t until I was older, 17 and in foster care, that I was faced with some major decisions in my life. A fork in the road. A chance to make the right decisions, even though growing up most choices made by my parents, weren’t exactly honest, righteous, loving, or by good example. I was lost, felt alone, and had no clue how I was going to make things better for myself. I had graduated high school early and started the fast track program in college. I also was about to move out on my own, in my own apartment, all by myself. It was scary and I had no clue how I was going to make things work. I was lead to church, someone had invited me, and I started learning about God and what Jesus had done on the cross. I have to admit I didn’t really understand how people “leaned on God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit” to help them get through each day in their lives. I didn’t really understand any of it to be honest.
That’s when I began my journey of prayer. I prayed about EVERYTHING. I prayed for direction, peace, clarity, to be able to understand what I was reading and being taught, to be strong, to somehow serve and give back to be used for his glory, to help me not give into temptation, to help change my attitude and perspective, and so much more. People probably thought I was crazy “talking to myself” all the time. But I didn’t care, I needed God and He knew it. God found me! Through prayer, I was able to start an honest, loving, loyal relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Prayer began to be a huge part of my life.
The choice I choose wasn’t easy and I wasn’t perfect. I felt the temptations of the world pulling at me strongly. All I wanted was nothing of what I went through growing up. I found myself trying to be this perfect child for God. I failed over and over and over, BUT God picked me back up every single time and kept me going. Kept me striving for what I cried out for when I was younger. And I just kept praying. It wasn’t long until I met my husband, whom was going to the same church which I had no clue at the time. I was his boss at McDonald’s. We both were lost but we were striving for something better.
About a year later, my husband and I were baptized together. 2 years after that, we were married. 7 years later, we began a family. Now 15 years in my walk with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, I have a very loving, loyal, faithful husband and we have two beautiful, loving, cuddly, fearless, strong willed girls. Gracelynn Hope who is 5 and Katelynn Faith who is 3. To be honest, I did not want to have children because I was fearful of becoming who my mother was. But I listened to God and trusted him. He spoke through my husband who told me it would be worth it and we would do it together with God.
Two weeks after having our first daughter, I was hit with a hard reality. Not only did I want this better life for myself but I wanted it for my family, especially my daughter. I wanted everything different for her than what I had. I was so scared and again lost at this new thing of motherhood. I had no example to go off of and felt I had no one I could turn to for advice. I had been praying for God to put something or someone in my life. It wasn’t but 3 months later, I was invited to MOPS (mothers of preschoolers), a ministry for mothers here at Canyon View. The other ladies at MOPS were so inspiring, caring, loving, and encouraging. They really helped me through my first year of motherhood and still continue to do so. I have been serving on MOPS leadership for almost 5 years now. I feel so honored being able to give back to the other new moms, encourage them, and show God’s love to them.
So not only did God save me, He helped me find a new life for myself and my family. He heard my cries. He helped me graduate college with honors. He helped me meet a loving, hard working, loyal, dedicated man. He gave us two beautiful little girls who love God with all their hearts. He provided a beautiful ministry to serve and give back to other moms showing His love to them. He lead us to joining a cell group. He lead me to lead a women’s bible study at my house every Friday, where we dig deep into the Bible and learn about God’s will for our lives and how to help disciple to others. But most importantly, He lead me to my ministry right in my home with my girls and my husband. God is definitely the center of our family and I feel so blessed and so grateful for that. I am still striving for better each and every day. I fail often, but I know that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are with me and will always be with me, with us.
So church, I don’t know where you are with your walk, but be encouraged that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are always there with you guiding you, listening to you, and providing for you every single day. When things get challenging, unclear, exciting, joyful, whatever season you are in, I encourage you to seek him. Seek him with all your heart through prayer, worship, reading the word, and fellowshipping with others.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”