Sabaneta Missions
Declare His Glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples! ~Psalm 96:3

My Testimony

Courtney

I am so humbled as I type what God has done for me. I find it hard to put it all into words. He has been so very good to me. The beauty of what God has done in my life- in spite of me- is just too much.   

From my beginning, God showered me with His grace. I was born into a loving, middle-class, Christian home. Our home was a simple home filled with two loving parents, a sister that's become my best friend and a brother- that's still my little brother even though he has always towered me in height. My parents were not wealthy, but there was nothing I went without (except for a trampoline- It's still tragic when it's brought up.) We always had company- family (lots and lots of family) and family friends. We were always in church. It was a part of who we were as a family. Our faith and devotion to one another defined us. I'm not sure I even realized how very blessed my childhood was until I began to experience so many people in the world who have had very different life experiences- from abuse to grief to desperate situations. Mine was so good.

My walk with Christ began at the age of nine. The memory of that evening service is so real- like it just happened. I remember listening to the alter call and having an overwhelming feeling of knowing I needed Jesus. Knowing I wanted to be His child. I loved singing for Him (still do!) I loved the prayers and the learning that took place early in my walk with Christ.

But as life rolled on,my teenage and early adult years turned into years of compromise. I compromised my convictions, my choices, and my witness. I looked no different from the rest of the world. My life didn't reflect His. I could always justify it because there was always someone sinning way worse than me, but my sin was stained me and I didn't love what I was becoming. My choices were not gloryfying to anyone- choices that made me later question whether I was even saved. The conviction I felt in this season was overwhelming at times and it was what ultimately drew me back to Christ.

 God poured out His grace again when He gave me my amazing husband, Jay. We married and God moved us across the state. At the time, I was so mad at God. I was away from my family. I had no friends, no job, and nothing to do. I was all alone with my new husband- and he was working all the time. This season of loneliness was exactly what I needed. Jay and I were forced to depend on each other, to learn to work out disagreements, to fall on each other when life got hard. And we came out stronger for it. 

God led us to a church filled with beautiful people- His people. People who became true friends. Friends who love you even at your worst. Friends who love you through loss, joy, changes, life. We celebrated milestones and comforted losses. I became a Mom and these friends loved Caroline as much as I did. It was in this church that I began to dig into His Word and my faith became real. It was MY faith- not that of my parents or of the church. My relationship with Christ was real and I hungered for His Word and His truth. Little did I know, God was preparing me for some of the hardest experiences I'd faced yet.

The next three years were so extremely difficult- filled with so much loss and brokenness. We found out we were pregnant again and were filled with joy. Until we found out the baby wouldn't live- and our joy turned to sorrow. I could see the baby on the ultrasound. It had a heartbeat. But it was in the wrong place. I couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that God created life that He didn't intend to be born. Four weeks later, the pregnancy ended in an ectopic rupture. God taught me so much in that extremely long four weeks. It would take pages to tell the story. He was still teaching us a year later when we found out we were pregnant again. The baby was perfect on the ultrasound and plans underway. We couldn't tell anyone because Caroline would beat us to it- pure joy! Until 14 weeks later when the baby's heart wasn't beating. Our hearts were broken again. 

This season of loss was so hard. During this time, the doctor told me I had precancerous cells in my body. My cousin was hit by a drunk driver and still suffers to this day. My precious nieces watched their father go to jail. In addition to our babies, my grandmother, the last of my grandparents, died. It seemed like we were in a non stop cycle of pain, hurt, loss, sadness. Like an earthquake that wouldn't stop. But God knows that when are completely shaken to the core and broken into pieces, He can step in. Because He is the One who cannot be shaken. He can pick up our pieces and remake us into who He wants us to be. Into His image of us. Who He wants us to be. It was a season of the "Peace that passes understanding". He showed His power over and over. In this season, I pressed on to worship- even when I didn't want to. I forced myself to serve others. In serving them, He always showed me someone who was suffering greater, hurting more. The wisdom I gained from the homeless in Memphis, from this precious, young Mormon girl who used to come by and hang out in my house while out witnessing, from youth we were discipling, and from these precious girls from Uganda who stayed with us during this time was more than I could have ever gained on my own.

Then, in God's perfectness, this season of loss was followed by restoration. We celebrated the birth of our precious son Jude. We watched the adoption of my nieces by their stepfather- a picture of the Gospel here on earth. We rested in Him. We are still resting in Him. He breathed a new life in me in that season and changed my heart. He loved me with the everlasting love and loving kindness He tells us about in Jeremiah. 

It was in this season of restoration, that we knew God was calling us into full time service in missions. We were involved in a Bible Study at a friends home at the time. God called Jay and I separately during this study, although looking back I know that God was drawing me to this call for a very long time. I remember the night we shared with our friends that God was calling us to serve overseas. They celebrated with us. We didn't tell anyone else for a long time, knowing that we wanted God to work out the details.

He moved us back to our hometown, which seemed so odd since it coincided with Him calling us to serve overseas. We now see His hand moving in the details. He brought us back here and to our home church to continue to grow us, to confirm His call for us to go and serve, to take us to the Dominican Republic and show us the need, and to prepare us for what is to come. 

He has always been so faithful. So constant. So loving. So faithful. He's forever the same- He didn't change. He changed me. He refined me- He's still refining me. I still have so far to go. So much of me to let go of. When I look back my story so far- its so beautiful. He's made it all so beautiful. My mess, my hurt, my joy, my failures, my loss- He's used them all. And what's even more amazing is that He's still writing my story. He's not done. He has so many great things to show me. To teach me. He is so wonderful. He is so worthy. So worth it. I can't wait to see what He's going to do in this new season of serving in the Dominican Republic. He never ceases to amaze me.

Jesus, Jesus how I trust Him. How I've proved Him over and over. Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus, Oh for Grace to trust Him more.