In some ways, I'm young in my faith. I started writing in my first online diary shortly after I was saved at fourteen. I served the Lord with my heart wide open for a few years before succumbing to the depression that eats at my insides still today, when I'm not guarded by grace. I turned from God for a period of time, setting up fear, pain, and affection as idols, only to find time and time again that nothing could take away the hurt in my heart. Numbing the pain only took me so far before I had to try something else, something bigger, something deeper.

I befriended the man who would become my husband in the midst of that dark cloud. He held me while I cried and grabbed my hand when I just needed to feel something real. We started dating at the end of high school, went to the same university, and although he wasn't a believer when our relationship began, he led me back into Jesus' arms just a short while later. We served God side-by-side through our degrees, leading worship and prayer and bible studies together. Shortly after graduation, we were married in a sweet little evening ceremony with so many darling desserts we were still eating them for breakfast the next morning.

We welcomed our first child into our family just before our second anniversary while still living in the university town where we'd chosen to trust Jesus with it all. Nine months later, we moved back to our hometown to be near to family, and with the hope of finding community that was a bit further out of high school, further into the marriage and family phase than the students we had been doing life with before. What looked on the surface to be shallow religion in this new old city has shown itself to be deep and enveloping community that I can't imagine being without.

In the past five years I've gone from full-time student to full-time wife, to stay-at-home mom, to working full-time outside the home again in a field completely unrelated to my education and experience, and back around to mom again with the birth of our second daughter in March 2015. There have been rough patches, for sure, but I can honestly say that I don't remember a time I felt so entirely content, so full of joy and life, as I have the past couple of years.