Gracefully Truthful


Read His Words Before Ours!

Psalm 46
Isaiah 40:21-31
Isaiah 41:8-14
Colossians 3:12-17


My parents were both raised with Catholic backgrounds, but never attended services.  As a result, I was unfamiliar with anything involving religion as a young child. However, when I was in grade school, a friend invited me to a Christmas service at his church. That was my first time encountering any type of worship. I was hooked and my curiosity grew. When he moved away, I was unable to go back to church until I began high school and started driving.

After the Christmas service, my friend and I attended the youth services and I really started honing-in on what Christianity was all about. I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the idea of a God who died for MY sins, who loves each one of us as His creation, despite our brokenness. I loved going each week and seeing the new friends I was making…
Each friend has a story and a background; some very different than mine, but some very similar.

After my friend moved, I stopped attending church and kind of felt like that entire season of my life was a dream; I forgot about God. In high school, before I started driving, I met a girl in band class who was involved in her youth group. She invited me to go with her and I was reintroduced to Christ, but this time, it stuck.

After I graduated from high school, I decided to go back to my now-current church where I volunteered in kids’ ministry, worship, and met more Christ-followers, which led to my baptism in May of 2016.

After being baptized, I started taking my relationship with Christ seriously.  I studied Scripture and listened to online sermons from other churches. I attended every Sunday service I could and stayed actively engaged in serving.

However, I was also on a teeter-totter after a relationship break up, a big move away from home, several deaths, and the loss of a job I loved. I definitely kept Jesus at arm’s length.
I wanted Him around, but I also wanted nothing to do with Him. I considered myself “Christian,” but I had drifted away from a deep relationship with Jesus and His followers.

After several months of skipping church, I “woke up” and returned. I saw the director of volunteers (my now-mentor) from afar, and avoided her. I felt like she was someone who could “see into my soul” and would know everything about my emotional and spiritual turmoil.

But God’s plan was bigger than my fear!
One week, she caught up with me after service, and after meeting later in follow-up, she connected me with the worship team.

I was incredibly happy!
I was FINALLY part of a middle school worship band ministry like I had dreamed of for YEARS. My way of communicating with God was through music, almost as if I had written the lyrics I was singing. God and I were chit-chatting as if we were best pals; I loved every single moment of it. 

I was on my way home from a full day of serving at church when I was involved in a car accident. I vaguely remember getting home after the accident and feeling that something wasn’t right. I collapsed to the floor in my front entryway, barely making it inside my house. I went to the ER, had scans done, and received terrifying news the next morning:
“You have a shadow on your brain.”

Strong words I will never forget.

Several weeks later, after my first seizure and losing my vision, I had emergency surgery to remove a good portion of this “shadow.”

More strong words: 
Anaplastic Astrocytoma
Grade 3 brain cancer

Following surgery, I wasn’t myself. I was so angry!
I refused to listen to or play music, knowing I’d hear God’s voice.
He was the last person I wanted to speak with.

I had so many questions for the Lord:
If we had such a great thing going, why throw a wrench in my plans by taking away my joy and dream? Why make me learn to trust You all over again?  

While I don’t have all the answers to my questions, this past year has brought deep spiritual growth I didn’t realize I was desperately craving.

Since my diagnosis last November, the Lord has brought people into my life for whom I’ve prayed since my teenage years. Both were strangers I’d connected with and are now as close as family.

My love for Christ has grown deeper than I ever imagined possible.  Even though I struggle with trusting Him, He has never left my side. Even though I prayed, and lost patience when I wasn’t given exactly what I’d wanted, He has never failed to give me something better.

Today, I have such a grand appreciation for life, friends, family, my church community, worship, music, gifts, God, and the list goes on. There are so many hardships God has brought me through, though He had no obligation. He has reminded me HE is good, even in the midst of darkness.

I get comments all the time about how “brave” and “courageous” I’ve been or questions about where my positivity comes from.
It didn’t happen overnight, but God drew near.

God has more for me to discover!
More songs to sing, and more people to meet and help them come to faith.

The enemy tried to silence me.
The enemy tried to discourage me.
The enemy tried to steal my joy.
The enemy tried to stop God’s work in me.

Changed everything.

October 7th, 2018.
The day that changed my life forever.
The day I so badly wish had never happened, but am so thankful it did.
A day that could’ve ended everything, but here I am.
. . .  because He’s not finished with me yet.

His words.
His truth.
His song within my heart.
These give me courage and hope.

A Note About Sketched

In Sketched themes, we imaginatively step into the shoes of various characters throughout history. Some are biblical, some are well-known in modern day times, and some are people our writers know personally.

We do our best to research the culture and times surrounding these individuals to give an accurate representation of their first-person perspectives on life and the world, but we can’t be 100% accurate. “Sketched” is our best interpretation of how these characters viewed God, themselves, and the world around them.

Perhaps we will find parts of our story reflected in theirs!

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Marietta Taylor
4 years ago

Paula, thank you so much for sharing your story! I know it will encourage many others who are struggling with trusting the Lord in their difficult circumstances.

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Sketched VI, Day 5
Digging Deeper

We are the people who God chooses to work through to accomplish His greater purposes just as He worked through those chosen in the Old and New Testament.

He sets us apart as holy and blameless through the sacrifice of Jesus because of His deep love for us. When we choose to accept that love and the gift of salvation, we become part of God’s chosen ones whom He wants to use to point the world to Himself.

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Prayer is central to our ministry as believers in Jesus as we carry eachother’s burdens and intercede for one another. Our team is honored to share the work of praying alongside you!

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Sep 30 - Oct 18, 2019 - Journey Theme #59

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