What is your background of church? Where did you grow up? Did you go to church? What was the experience like for you?
I grew up in Granite City, IL. I attended church off-and-on, very minimally, and mostly with friends until I was about 13. My family was not religious at all, and one Thursday evening my mom picked up my best friend and me up from youth group and told me on the drive to my friend’s house (with that friend still in the car) that my dad wanted a divorce. I didn’t blame God, or church, but at that time, I didn’t really have a strong faith, and didn’t really see the point of attending worship, so I stopped.
Can you identify different stages in the growth of your faith? What are they?
At the age of 21, I was introduced to the world of personal development. Another female businesswoman I’d photographed casually mentioned that she had a life coach. I was beyond intrigued! I dipped my toe in slowly, and as I unfolded more of this “personal development stuff,” my experience of life increased. However, it was VERY expensive, especially for an entrepreneurial photographer, so, due to cost, I’d put it off and forego delving in. Every year or so I’d find myself longing for something more out of life, hoping and praying (without yet visiting church) that something could finally work out, that I could figure out a way, in my little photography business to make enough to live beyond month-to-month, or sometimes week-to-week. I’d built a food-and-beverage photography company, and worked with some of the top brands in the world, but I still hadn’t cracked the code to making a sustainable living, and I was exhausted and frankly, wanted to quit.
Was there a time you strayed away from God or the church? Why? What happened? How did you get back?
This cycle repeated from 2009-2017. In 2017, I discovered a book called The Game of Life and How to Play It, by Florence Shovel Shin. It became my bible. For some reason, when I read it, (which was multiple times a week) something inside me changed. I had hope. I was able to believe in the prayers I put out to the universe, but I still didn’t know how I felt about “God.”
The very first time I attended Mount Calvary, Pastor Dave’s sermon addressed equality for all people: White, black, brown, transgender, gay, etc. and the people in the congregation were of every age. This may sound simple, but the sermon was so powerful and so strong that to me, it showed amazing leadership in standing for love in all situations, and that can be a very difficult message to deliver, especially across generations.
When did you know that Mount Calvary would be
I’m still fairly new to my faith journey and I definitely came back to God and the church in an interesting way but I can say this, the more I practice having faith and turning over my problems to God and really truly letting them go, I experience outcomes and opportunities that I couldn’t have ever even imagined.
I’m truly grateful to have found Mount Calvary and I’m excited to continue to grow with the community!