I grew up in Madison, SD. I was active in church activities throughout my childhood and teenage years. Sunday School, VBS, choir and youth group were among some of the activities I participated in. Growing up in the church and a Christian home, I realized from an early age that Jesus had paid the ultimate sacrifice for all of my sins and put my trust in Him.
Matt and I started dating at the end of our senior year of high school. This is when I first started joining Matt and his family for church at West Center Baptist. While it was a bit different from the Lutheran church services I was used to, I enjoyed the matter-of-fact way the gospel was preached. From early in our relationship, we both knew that God needed to be an integral part.
I went off to college, to pursue a degree in advertising and public relations. After one year studying in Chicago, I decided to finish my degree at the University of South Dakota. Matt followed and we both graduated in 2010. Throughout college we were both active in Cru, but I feel for me it was just on a surface-level. We got married after graduation and one month later moved to Madison, WI for Matt to pursue his master’s degree.
After moving, we realized how much we had depended on our family and close friends for accountability when it came to our relationship with God. We quickly found a church to attend, but the size of the church made it easy to be anonymous. We found ourselves going on Sundays when it was convenient but avoided getting involved with anything outside of our anonymous Sunday worship.
After Matt completed his degree, we stayed in Madison, WI for a few more years before moving back to Madison, SD to be closer to family and friends. We started attending West Center Baptist upon returning home, and quickly learned that the church family here was a much different dynamic than our previous church in WI. We joined a life group, began teaching Sunday School and helping with Awana—it became clear that God had a plan to use us in His mission.
It is incomprehensible the love God has for us and the plan he has for our lives. Despite anything I ever do, Jesus paid it all for me. How humbling is that? Paul says it perfectly in Romans 5:
"For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." -Romans 5:7-8 (ESV)