I am thankful that I am able to say I cannot remember a time that I did not know the Lord. However, although I always knew God, my relationship with Him always felt one-sided. I believed a false narrative, thinking that the harder I worked, the more God would accept me. I thought my worth to God was directly proportionate to my work for God and I often acted out of fear, insecurity and my desire to please others. Thankfully we have a God who continues to show us His grace, mercy and compassion time and time again.
After graduating from college in 2005, I taught Spanish for ten years and always thought I was responding to what the Lord was calling me to do with my life. I struggled with severe anxiety and OCD while teaching out of state, away from all of my family and friends. My relationship with the Lord was still rooted in doubt and driven by fear.
During this time, a student recommended The Village Church podcast. I started listening to a sermon series called “Transitions” and began to realize how disconnected I actually was from the Lord and that my view of Him was completely distorted by my sin struggles. I listened to sermons on this podcast for years, left the Lutheran church I had previously attended and finally started to rightly see God and understood what it meant to have a true relationship with Him. My fear of the Lord is no longer motivated by anxiety, but an understanding of my position as His created child.
In 2009 I met my now husband, Taylor. We got engaged after a four year, long-distance relationship and moved to Texas from Wisconsin in 2018. After hearing that we would be moving to Texas for my husband’s job, a co-worker connected me to his old roommate, who lived in the Dallas area. He provided me with a list of churches that we could attend and let me know that he was currently working for The Village Church, but would soon be leaving to plant his own church. I thought, given the size of Texas, there was no way this could be the same Village Church that I had been listening to for years. Sure enough, The Village Church - Plano was only a 15-20 minute drive from our new apartment. The same man that was planting his own church took the current Spiritual Formation Ministry Assistant from Plano with him, opening up the job position for me. After we rolled off to become Citizens Church in 2019, I became the Executive Assistant to our Lead Pastors and Operations Pastor. I know the Lord purposefully led me to this place to show me what it looks like to be part of a church that enjoys God, loves people and makes disciples.
During a six month period in 2019, I lost both my mom and my grandma to ovarian cancer. As a result of the stress, my aunt suffered from two life-threatening heart attacks. Had I been in the same place I was before truly knowing the Lord and His love for me, my grief would have been accompanied by anxiety and depression, rather than a suffering that only drew me closer to the Lord. Only He can take something so terrible and turn it for our good.
I am so grateful I have a God who showed me my need to put my trust and faith in Him rather than relying on myself. He revealed to me that grace is not earned by what I can do for Him, but is given to me completely undeserved, because of His mercy. I started to focus less on what I could do for God and more on what He could do through me. Because of Him, fear and anxiety have no hold on me. His ways are always higher than my ways, His sovereignty never fails me and He is always in control.
My hope for Citizens Church is that everyone we encounter would find a personal, life-changing relationship with our Creator; in all that we think, do and say we would keep coming back to the question, “How can we be more like Jesus?”. I pray that we would not keep this relationship to ourselves but share it with everyone we meet so that they too may know the gospel.
We hold to the central beliefs of the Christian faith, as communicated throughout Scripture and summed up in the ancient creeds of the Church.