I was brought up in Ketchikan, Alaska, in a Christian home where I was taught to honor the Lord from the time I was small. My parents were very involved in our church as I was growing up, so I was often at the church throughout the week for meetings or for practical involvement. I do not remember ever disagreeing with the doctrine I was taught, or ever resisting church attendance. I enjoyed the fellowship with people who loved the Lord and who loved me, and I wanted to follow their example in serving the Lord. At the age of nine, I expressed interest in baptism. After being sure I understood that Jesus had given His life for mine, and that baptism was an outward expression of a desire to follow Him, my parents agreed. My pastor, Arne Halvarson, baptized me on a cold, rainy day in Ward Lake. I believe I had a sincere desire to follow Christ at that time, but looking back, I now know that my understanding of the cross and of a surrendered, obedient life to the Lord was very limited. Involvement in church activities continued as I grew older, but a real relationship with the Lord was not cultivated. Loneliness and uncertainty were continual problems for me.
My family moved to Vancouver, Washington, when I was seventeen, and when I graduated from high school I began to wonder what plans the Lord had for my life. Lacking clear direction, I stayed busy with my church, took some classes at the community college, and did a lot of thinking, but God’s will seemed out of reach. Every effort I made at planning things brought more frustration, and deep discouragement. While reading Shadow of the Almighty, the biography of Jim Elliot, I was convicted of my need to surrender efforts for the future into God’s hands. It was then I realized God’s desire that His children wait on Him, learn to spend time in His presence, and seek His will in all things. I yielded my life to Him at that time, turning from my sin and my striving, and began to wait for Him to accomplish His perfect plan. Shortly after that the Lord began to open doors.
He led me back to my home church, Clover Pass, in Ketchikan. I began to grow under biblical teaching and through involvement in corporate prayer times with mature Christians. In the last twelve years the Lord has brought freedom from many burdens I had carried as a younger person: guilt, fears of many kinds, insecurities and doubts. My loneliness began to slip away as God brought His hope into my heart and blessed me with many Christian friends. His Word began to come alive to me as my eyes were opened to its relevance for my daily life, and I began to see something of God’s love, forgiveness, and freedom. He continues to guide my steps and show me in greater fullness what it means to yield to Him. I have been impressed with my need to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to know and obey His leading and prompting at every moment. I am learning that in ourselves we can do nothing, but in the Spirit we have power to obey, to serve, to witness, and to be formed into the image of Christ. Though these lessons have sometimes been slow and gradual, the themes of surrender, trust, obedience, and resulting fullness of life have continued to be made more real to me as I have grown in my understanding of who God is.