My parents divorced when I was two-years-old, and this created a deep hole of insecurity, which I attempted to fill with unhealthy behaviors throughout middle school, high school and college. Although I grew up in church and was baptized when I was fourteen, it wasn’t until I got to college that I started pursuing Jesus in a more relational way.
After going through a bad break-up, I was invited to join a Christian organization on campus and started attending student-led worship. Even though I knew Jesus, I was still trying to please Him from the outside in. I would cycle from trying to have a relationship with Jesus to having feelings of deep guilt and inadequacy when I did not live up to the standard I had created in my head – all because I was trying to serve Jesus out of my own strength. During college, I traveled abroad on mission trips to Senegal and Peru. Ironically, although I was going on mission trips to share the peace and love of Jesus with others, I found that both experiences taught me much more than I was able to give.
After college, I found myself once again in a relationship that was very toxic. I struggled desperately with trying to save it, but meanwhile, I was the one needing to be rescued. This relationship brought me to Wilmington and introduced me to a counseling ministry. It was there, on July 13, 2005, that I had an encounter with Jesus that started the process of healing my deep wounds. I began allowing the Holy Spirit to transform my mind and heart, changing me from the inside out, and I felt peace and trust for the first time in my life.
Since then, I have been walking closely with Jesus, needing Him daily and learning how to use the power of the Holy Spirit to walk through life. These years, however, have not always been easy. I was single for eleven years, and Jesus taught me to lean on and trust in Him during that time. In 2011-2012, I was faced with three experiences that led me deeper into my dependence on Jesus. First, I was diagnosed with Acute Stress Disorder following an encounter with tornadoes while driving; then, I contracted Dengue Fever on a mission trip; and finally, I had to have major abdominal surgery due to a large tumor. Through all of those experiences I had to lean on the truths found in Romans 8:28 that “God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Although these experiences may appear to be negative, looking back, I am so grateful for them. Not only did they create in me a deeper dependence on Jesus, but they also created in me a deeper humility – and this humility is what led to the restoration of previously lost relationships. The Bible talks about restoring, and although I had forgiven past offences many years ago, these events led to complete reconciliations. Through the years, I have learned that the more experiences you have that cause you to trust in Jesus, the more you are willing to surrender and submit.
The Lord has led me all over the world, from Vietnam to Europe to serving on mission trips to the Philippines. After many years of being single – and after finally accepting the fact that I was single – the Lord gave me the wonderful gift of marriage to an awesome, spirit-filled, healthy man. While the first year of marriage was fulfilling in many respects, we struggled with having a baby. Having children was something that I had desired my whole life, and when it didn’t happen easily, I struggled emotionally. I constantly had to remind myself to stay focused on Jesus and not on the circumstances.
Being that I was older, we had access to testing earlier, and when we learned that there were some infertility issues, we were referred to an infertility specialist. While in the early stages of working with the specialist, we found out that we were pregnant with triplets. During this pregnancy, I have been reminded how the Lord has walked with me every step of the way, not only now, but throughout the years leading up to it. True to His character, every detail is falling into place.
All of these encounters with Jesus have created such a deep sense of love and gratitude and grounding that have led me to have a deep passion to help women find freedom in Jesus, the only one who can satisfy all of our longings and desires.
Kelly’s story speaks to the God’s faithfulness and how He never leaves our side no matter what circumstance we might face. We invite you to join Kelly and hundreds of other ladies on Friday, October 27th (7pm – 8:30pm) and Saturday, October 28th (9am – 12:15pm) at our Wilmington campus for PC3’s Fall Women’s Conference with Bianca Olthoff. To register or get more information, please visit portcitychurch.org/women.