Here is Lynette’s story:
I grew up attending church every Sunday with my parents and Faith Formation classes every Wednesday. I knew about Christ, but often felt lost when it came to my faith. I could repeat what I read, but I didn’t have or learn a connection with God or how to walk alongside Jesus.
My mother passed away from melanoma skin cancer a week after my 14th birthday. I questioned how God could take the one constant in my life; how he could take a mother away from her children? I struggled hard with how to navigate life. Despite the struggles, through age 20, I still participated in church and found as many ways as possible to bring me closer to God.
I married in 2001 and we did not make church a priority. When our second daughter was born I decided to go back to church and grow my children with God. My ex-husband was not of the same religious beliefs, so I was alone. I joined my local church in 2008, attended services regularly, taught Faith Formation and attended group faith discussions. In 2010, I faced divorce while far from family for support. When I reached out to my church leadership to get through the divorce I didn’t want, I received silence. I felt like a black sheep. I felt that God left me and I walked away from the church.
I was lost for several years. I used relationships and going out and having fun for satisfaction and validation. I found happiness in material items and excitement-driven moments. I believed the more I appeared to have it together, the better off I was, no matter how low I truly was. I lied to everyone around me because asking for help was not an option. Asking God for help was not an option.
In March 2017, my boyfriend tried to get me to go on a date with him to church at Prairie Heights. Weekly, he’d invite me. I didn’t trust his intentions. Finally, in May 2017 we went on our first date. Four days later I was sitting in a chair with him at Prairie Heights. I can’t remember the message that day, but it was exactly the message I needed and I was where I needed to be. For the first time in my life, I believed and felt God speaking to me.
It was an unexpected comedian brought to Sunday services on January 28, 2018, when I said "Yes!" to Christ. Towards the end of our hour with Michael Jr., he talked about the Father we all have; who loves us and is proud of us. He would repeat, “I am proud of you. I love you.” Each time, the more the burden and wounds of an absent father poured out with my tears. For all those years I felt completely alone, my Father was right there. For the first time in my life I felt and knew I had a father. I heard my Father. That day I said "Yes!" to Christ.
I am not perfect, but I have purpose. I am a child of God despite feeling like an orphan. I have a beautiful church family whom I trust and have support in. My daughters are growing and walking with me. There is no greater peace.