It began 10 years ago
My grade 11 year in high school (2008) was a very significant year.
I was growing as a new Christian and God was starting some big changes in my life. I was learning what it meant to follow Jesus in the areas of idols, academics, and in my friendships. But looking back, there were two separate moments that stand out as the most significant.
Two men, one for evil and one for good, who changed the trajectory of my life.
The first man was my dad who threatened to kill my family while I was talking to him on the phone. That moment was the ending of our relationship, and the start of a journey of healing and the freedom from the abuse in my life. You can read more about that journey of forgiveness in an article I wrote last year for The Gospel Coalition Canada.
The second man was Will Walker, a youth Pastor from Willow Creek Baptist in Midhurst (the church where I accepted Christ a few years before). He came to our Christian bible study club at school and shared about evangelism. Growing in my new faith, I had no idea that sharing that faith with others was part of the Christian life. Will Walker impressed upon me the opportunity of seeing friends journey to know Jesus.
That year I didn’t realize that I was going to spend the next 9 years of my life being involved with (and working for) a Christian ministry, experience God's healing and restoration in my brokenness, be part of a thriving and deep community, and get to share my story as I help others know Jesus too.
It was a joy to reconnect with Will Walker this past week at our Power to Change Canada Staff Conference in Ancaster as he led worship for 500+ staff members as we remembered the past 50 years, and looked forward into our future.
I cried as we sang Glorious Day by Passion.
I needed rescue
My sin was heavy
But chains break at the weight of Your glory
I needed shelter
I was an orphan
But You call me a citizen of heaven
When I was broken
You were my healing
Your love is the air that I'm breathing
I have a future
My eyes are open
You called my name
And I ran out of that grave
Out of the darkness
Into Your glorious day
I could see God’s faithfulness as I looked back to 16 year old Erin. Who felt abandoned by her earthly father and broken. Fatherless. I needed emotional and spiritual shelter. My heavenly father was very much leading and providing that. He was my healing, and he gave me a future. He opened my eyes to run towards him, out of the pain and darkness that tried to overwhelm me. He called my name. It was through discovering the healing and peace of God that I was able to share with others that they had access to it too. It gave deep purpose and meaning to my life.
There was hope for my life, even in the moment it seemed lost. And there’s hope for your life too. God isn’t done writing your story. Your story is part of his story. And God’s story never ends with ashes.
I'm deeply grateful for Will and his small and significant part in my story. That lunch bible study in my grade 11 year, he had no idea what God was doing, and going to do in my life.
That's the power of the Gospel to work even in the darkest and most troubling places. And why we should always press in to helping others know him.
We never will know the full impact of all the conversations we have or people we meet. But hopefully one day in heaven we will see the spiderweb of glory that God worked in the background, interweaving all of our lives and stories. It will be marvellous.