I hope you'll enjoy my blog.

I'm a new Christian, a wife, mother, daughter, and sister. I own a small business in a super sweet small town. I am just learning how to apply Godly living to the roles I fulfill in this life.

The purpose of my blog is to give me a reference point of where I've been and help guide where I need to go. But, most importantly, my hope is that my small life story will shine the light of Christ on those who need Him most.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I've got the ticket!

I can't explain it. I don't know how. I pray the words will come from my mind to the computer with grace and ease, but it's not exactly working out that way. In fact, this is my third attempt. I've CTRL+A'ed to delete what I've written a few times now. My husband, the computer geek of the family, would be super thrilled that I remembered that shortcut. He knows them all. SUPER big geek. Back to the point. I'm concerned I'm gonna screw this up. Luckily, there is an 'edit' option! I'm worried that people will judge my thoughts, my ideas, my past. I'm worried that I'm not good enough. I'm worried about stepping on people's toes. I'm worried about a lot! My writing has always been so personal to me and this is the first time I'm sharing it so publicly, I think. Sorta wearing my heart on my sleeve. The good and the bad parts of the ol' ticker.

I wanted to post a most memorable blog, something compelling, perhaps even moving to someone out there. Okay, ultimately, I hoped someone besides my mom and husband would read it. I would throw my two girls in that audience, but they can't read, yet. So, we'll start with two. My hope is that through my story, through my pretty boring and average life story, I might just change the world. Isn't there a scripture or saying about having faith as small as a mustard seed and being able to move mountains? I kind of see my story about the size of that mustard seed. The thought in the back of my mind is that maybe, just maybe it can move a mole hill. Or a nice slope. Or, some geological mass of some sort.

Recently, my husband and I found faith in Jesus Christ. We, um, do not have the friends, lifestyle, and such that one would think we were fans of the Savior. We are those people that used to laugh at Mormon Missionaries and also midgets. And anyone we classified as different or lesser than us. I so hate to admit that about my history, but it's true. I would say that if one - either missionary or midget- fell on his bicycle, we'd be the ones in the car laughing at him and not the ones helping. "Where is your God now, Brother Boyle?" Toby had an experience with Brother Boyle at his apartment when we just met. That is neither here nor there. The point is, and you can ask any of our friends, he is, I am, we are the *LAST* people you would expect at the alter under a large South African black pastor named Ezekiel accepting Christ into our lives.
Upon completion of my prayer for forgiveness, acceptance and eternal life, the only feeling that consumed my body was how unworthy I was. I felt so terribly humbled. I watched "The Passion of the Christ" and with every strike of the whips I wept. I felt so guilty. I could hardly believe that I would be accepted. The following days I felt elated. Joyous! And relieved.

I don't know how it works or why it works. It's sort of like electricity. I know it turns stuff on, makes stuff light up and junk, but I don't have any clue how electrons and protons and neutrons work. Maybe those are atom parts, not electricity parts. See, that's how teeny tiny my brain is. But, I love electricity! I would know if it were missing. There are lots of things I don't understand but I can surely tell you they work. Something about believing in Christ has made my life work.

We were driving to Boise and I told my Toby that one thing I thought I'd learned in my ripe old age of 30, is that the majority is usually right. Of course this is not always true and please don't hold this thought against me. Maybe re-phrasing it to say the majority is usually onto something. The majority of people in the world believe in a higher power. We believed in it. We thought. We didn't know who or what it was, but we said prayers every night to it with our girls. I think we called it "God", even. We knew all too well that there was a higher power above us and among us. Something connecting us to each other. Divine intervention. Karma. We called it all kinds of things. One thing we surely did not call it was Jesus!

Because, you see, Christians are lame. And losers. And bible thumpers. And holy rollers. And snobs. So we thought. They were boring, uptight and judgemental hypocrites! And probably not fans of Will Ferrell and his work. You were either an Evangelist, weird, or really weird. Most of the Christian friends we had were Ex-Christian or sort-of Christian. And gosh dangit, you can't deny evolution!

So, here we are driving to Boise and I think to myself that maybe we need to nurture our spiritual side. I had finally got in a regular exercise routine. Against my maternal protectiveness, my Toby trains to fight mixed martial arts. He has fought a few times. He is physcially extremely well fit. (Okay, he's hot. That's right, ladies. That's MY husband!) We both exercise our brains quite a bit, too. My business keeps me mentally challenged (Mentally challenged does not sound intelligent, evidently I am mentally challenged?) and Toby's job keeps his brain working. Plus, we watch A LOT of TV. That makes us practically liken to Einstein. I could process a crime scene if called to do so. Thanks CSI. The physical and the mental were going. But, we still had that dang spiritual side dragging us down. It certainly wasn't lifting us up.

Toby, in his very good husband obedience, said that maybe I was right. Maybe we should look for a path to God. We believed that there were many to choose from. We didn't think that Mormons, Catholics, Buddhists, or Jewish were right--- we thought they would all lead to the same place in the end. It's just the path that works for you. We thought maybe there was something for us. So, that was it and life was good, and we went about the next few weeks like nothing was different.

But, something was different. The seed had been planted. It had started sprouting right there in my soul. Oneday, this God named It sent a cute little messenger into my flower shop. Something in me made me ask her about God. I asked a little about Jesus and my ignorance of the man really blew me away. How could I be so stupid? I knew of him, but didn't know him and it was clear I didn't know his story. That day that little plant of God in my heart got a little more water and it grew just a touch.

That night I did what every spiritual seeking person does. I googled "Jesus." I followed a couple links and read about Him. I was still extremely skeptical. However, I was able to first accept him as a moral philosopher as one website indicated he could be. 'Jesus for Dummies' or something close to it, I think. Anyways, that night my spirit grew a little bit more. I had read about accepting Him into your heart. It's very good of the website publishers. At the bottom of each page they asked if you were ready to commit your life to Christ. Good spin. Marketing wizards, they are! It was just enough to make me start thinking on the process of accepting Him and wondering if it really were just as easy as one little teeny tiny click of my mouse.

The next day, we're at the salad bar in the pizza place. We're talking about God, knowing him, finding him, and I say to Toby, "I think it could be Jesus Christ." At that moment something reached into my chest, grabbed my heart, and squeezed it. I felt this jolt, almost as if I lost my breath. There was something about it. At that moment I knew. I knew that He was the One. At the same moment that I internally processed what I had just felt, Toby could have passed out from shock. He was not exactly down with the Jesus. I think it took about two hours for the blood to circulate in his body. That was a Thursday.

I felt so awesome the rest of the day. I thought, if anyone had just sipped what I just tasted, they would want more and more and more. I felt so comforted. All of the worry I had about the world faded away. I had a bounce in my step. The realization that I do not have to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders exhilerated me! I was a tired woman! I had been stressed out, sick, and tired for 10 years straight. Probably my whole life. And for the first time in a long time, I wanted this life. I was excited for this life. I was joyful. And all it took was a teeny tiny ounce of belief.

It took until Friday for Toby to admit he had hope in Christ. He wanted to believe for himself, not just because I had. I think he was just being difficult. Like I would lead him astray! He never has trusted my driving. I can understand where he was coming from and I know now that coming to God is an individual process. But, I was worried. I worried that he thought I was wrong. That he thought I was loco en da cabeza. I worried more about what he thought than what God thought and that realization scared me! More than a couple times I questioned my sanity. I seriously thought maybe I had been brainwashed and didn't know it. Or, that I was so desperate that I was believing something I shouldn't if I were sane. Ya know? I really thought maybe I had, indeed, finally gone crazy.

My special messenger that had come to the flower shop had invited us to go to her church. And, before church, even invited us over to her house for dinner. We were so nervous getting ready. We had always been accquaintences with the messenger and her spouse, we just didn't realize that they would someday invite us into their home on a personal level. We were so intimidated. These were older, more professional, sober people. Mostly only non-sober people invited us to their homes! We thought maybe they were some weird clan and were going to try some weird stuff on us. We had no clue what to expect.

That night we knew. We knew we had to learn more. We knew we had to keep digging. We knew that we were onto something bigger than any of us could possibly explain. We were on fire. We walked into church on Sunday and were greeted by more people than we could imagine. A lot of them we already knew. It felt like we were home. It was a wonderful welcome. And, they were not weird! Mostly. Okay, there were a few weird-o's, but that's a given. Anyways, we and our girls, were welcomed into this magical place and it was like the service was tailor made just for us. Just what we needed to hear. Later that day we bought bibles at Walmart. I didn't know if I was cheapening God by buying them at Walmart, but it seems to have gone okay so far. We didn't know where to begin once we had them anyways!

One thing I learned real quick, was that I don't know anything about the bible. I know basic stories. But, very few details. I really thought that the dude in the whale, and the parting of the sea, were all folklore and people really didn't believe that they happened, but they were exaggerations of things that could happen if God wanted them to. But, then they'd be pointless, so now I, too, believe some dude was in a fish for three days because you know, you just don't put God in a box! I don't believe because I am a follower, I believe, because I now believe in Him. With God all things are possible.

A couple days, I thought maybe I lost faith. I tried and tried but could not, no matter how hard I tried, get that feeling back. That mountain top feeling of being with Him and knowing life was good. I felt anxious, tired, irritable. I realized, through a very casual, honest chat with God on my flower shop steps, that God does not just give himself out to the loudest prayee, you have to work for him! I found him again through His word. I memorized my first scripture Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be brave and of good courage; do not be afraid nor be dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." You know what this means? In all those moments I felt so alone and wondered where God was, He was there. Right there beside me. He knew I needed to go through that and he needed me to find my way back to Him. He needed me to show my faithfulness. And boy, I have been rewarded in ways I cannot express.

I have friends today. Genuine friends. I have released all of the skeletons in my closet. The light has shone on me so bright and I have nothing to hide. I can be free through Him. I am liberated! It's better than not wearing a bra! My family is coming together. We are turning off the TV and turning to each other. We are spending our time reading the Word, reading empowering books instead of watching meaningless shows on TV. We are joining other Christians in fellowship after church getting ideas on parenting, religion, and life. My business is booming. A blessing I didn't even ask for!

I went and got another book. Which I am totally crazy about even though it received one bad review from someone who said it was Calvinistic which I do not know what that means. But, I do know the book bears good fruit, so who cares if its Calvin or Hobbes, right? I loved it and it motivated me to become the mother and wife that I always wanted to be, but wouldn't be and that I griped about being. The one that cleans house and stuff. I hated being that wife! I hated being the one who had to do it all! Now, I can see so clearly that it is my very special gift from God to care for these wonderful people. And, it's not like I'm a slave or someone's property. I have wants and needs that are fulfilled by Him! I know that if I take care of this special family He has given me, all of my hopes and dreams will be fulfilled in His plan. He knows what I need. And better yet, I believe He will provide.

So, here we are in this wonderful bliss of new Christian life. Trying to process everything. We have to learn everything to begin with. Followed by applying it. Applying it gets tricky. Putting God at the forefront of your mind all the time. Purposefully making every decision with Him in the forefront of your actions.

We have the ticket. The promise of salvation. A seat on the train to the eternity. I want more than the ticket. I want to choose not only a good life, but a Godly life. We can all be forgiven - it's a gift. But, this life is a great gift, also. This awesome opportunity to touch, feel, hear, see, and smell the world. I am here for a reason and now I can say with confidence that I am here to find faith. I am here to shine the light on his people that He has so awesomely shined on me. I am here to love, to play, to persevere thick and thin in His name. I am here to serve His people.

This life is so much more than getting a ticket.


  1. Thanks for being so awesome, Dana <3

  2. Wow...you not only have "the ticket", but God has also given you a most amazing gift of sharing it. You brought tears to my eyes and I rejoice with you and your sweet family. By the way, my name's Jen--my husband Brian trains with and is a good friend of Toby's. I'd love to meet you sometime. We pray for your health needs! I also want to know the name of the book you read about being a wife. It sounds like one I read and loved early in our marriage. God bless you today and thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your story!!!

  3. I am so happy for your family. I would also like to know about the book you are reading about being a wife. Welcome to the family of Christ!!!

    Susan Stuart Samson

  4. Yay! I'm so happy for you guys! I just wanna hug you... Jesus IS what it's all about. p.s. I hope you don't think ALL mormons are snobs! At least I hope I'm not. :-)

  5. Dana,
    We are so thankful for you and what the Lord is doing in your life! this is an amazing testimony, thanks for sharing!

  6. I love you so much, Dana!!! :)
    Your testimony here is so authentic... You are full of genuine faith and humility. Your honesty and your joy light up my heart. I have been blessed, more than you know, by you sharing your spiritual journey. There is only ONE way!... Jesus IS the way... and my heart has always yearned for the people I know and love to find that way--undeniably. You have. Thanks and praise to God!!!! And, yes, within the 'Christian' realm there truly are all those things you mentioned, from holy rollers, to hypocrites, to judgmental 'better than thou's'.... but those type of 'flaws' will be found anywhere if you want to find an excuse to avoid something... We are responsible for finding the convictions in our own heart and not basing it on what others choose in their own hearts and lives, things that ultimately hurt THEM... We can not let all of that get in the way of what we KNOW is most true and most meaningful... I love the verse you quoted... 'Be of good courage...' it is so true. Don't ever lose sight of that, because it will take courage from here on out. But you HAVE a beautiful Savior holding you up, comforting you, healing your soul, reviving your spirit, giving you life, and loving you no matter WHAT has, is, or will occur in your life! "The Passion of the Christ" is such an amazing, sobering reminder of how INTENSE Jesus' love is for us... and an impressive motivator to remember what's important in life and to love without restraint. I read your blog with Jason. He, too, has a friend who recently found faith in Jesus. This friend was always such a good person, more kind, compassionate, and genuine than a lot of Christians even... but without Christ, 'good' is nothing. And that is something that makes your heart ache to see, when you know that God is everything, and yet has not been invited into this person's life. This friend and his wife lost their little girl last year... and through this utter heartache God has done amazing things in restoring their lives, giving them hope in a future rather than just a drive to be 'good' in life. Their eyes have been opened. True hope is something precious. Jason and I are so blessed to see God working in the lives of our friends. Dana, if we were there I hope it would mean we could get together with you and Toby and share in the joys of life together. I would so enjoy that! To have Christian, genuine Christian friends is priceless. Surround yourselves with those who will lift you up and not those who make the challenge of pursuing your convictions even more of a struggle. Pray for those who do not see what it's all about. You never know who or when someone will surprise you with a "Thank you for believing in me and being an example..." And by the way, I cannot tell you how uplifting it was to hear from you the day you took that step of faith and brought your family into the house of God. Thank you, for building my faith to be even stronger. I love you and I pray that God's work continues in your life in a way that you are blessed beyond belief!