LUANN

"Anyone who loved me like Jesus did, deserved my whole life."

Place of Origin: Seattle, Washington

I grew up going to church, sometimes taken by my parents, sometimes by neighbors. I loved Sunday School and learning about the Bible. Before my Confirmation at the end of Junior High, my pastor asked me if I had accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Yes, I had. But then I went to high school, and pursued being cool, partying way too much. I had always known God’s Presence in my life, and now He was gone. I didn’t know where to go to find God. Some friends invited me to winter camp and I went just to get away from the parties. On Friday night as the Youth Pastor was preaching, he said, “God knows where you’ve been” and his eyes met mine. I knew what he said was true, and that I was in so much trouble. He continued, “And God loves you.” I knew that was true, too. God’s grace overwhelmed me. I didn’t deserve to be loved. Anyone who loved me like Jesus did, deserved my whole life. I cried for an hour... so grateful. I abandoned my pursuit of being cool, and pursued following Jesus instead. That night I decided that I wanted to learn how to teach the Bible the way the Youth Pastor did, so that I, too, could help others know the love of God.

Transformative Experience: As a mom with young boys and a pastor’s wife, I was working hard volunteering at the elementary school and our church. One day I thought, “Is this all there is to the Christian life? Working hard until I fall exhausted into bed?” I had lost my love for Jesus in my attempts to serve Him. I needed to fall in love again. Not long afterwards, my husband watched the kids so I could get away for a day. I asked the Lord to help me--I felt so cold and dead. He used one of the books I brought with me to break my heart with His love. That began for me the regular practice of taking time to get away with the Lord so that I could pay attention to my personal relationship with Him. I want my service to flow out of my love for Him. I never wanted to feel so distant again.