I received the Lord Jesus Christ into my life in my early 20’s. I haven’t always been faithful, and I haven’t walked with Him daily since then, but He has never left my side nor given up on me. He was always working in my life even when I didn’t think He was or when I didn’t notice that He was. I have had a hard journey, but it has made me the person I am today, and I thank God for the paths He has led me down and for the experiences I have encountered.
In July 2013, I thought my life was over when I lost my late husband to suicide. I had a teenager to raise, and I knew that I couldn’t just curl up and die with him, even though I really wanted to. God had different plans for me. I searched for a church to call home but wasn’t feeling comfortable in any so I stopped going to church. In 2016, God brought Steve into my life – he had made some bad choices and God sent me to talk with him. We became friends and kept in touch over the next year.
In May 2017, Steve and I started dating. We went to church together and after a few months we were both feeling like we didn’t fit in there nor were we growing with the Lord. We started to search around and visit other churches here and there. I finally asked God to direct us and show us where it was that He wanted us to be in our lives together, to show us the church He wanted us to be in. It took a few months, but God answered us.
In late August – early September 2018, we received a postcard in the mail for the launch of a new church in Hummelstown named Deep Rivers. We talked about it and said maybe God is sending us a sign. The launch wasn’t until the end of September so we just kept it in mind and prayed about it. The next week we received a second postcard for the launch of Deep Rivers. We jokingly said I really think God wants us to check this church out. The following week we received yet another postcard (#3) announcing the launch of Deep Rivers that coming Sunday, and we both said this is definitely a sign and answer from God that we need to go to Deep Rivers Church on Sunday, September 23rd.
Sunday came and we arrived at Lower Dauphin Middle School. Immediately upon walking into the auditorium, we were welcomed by Pastor Matt and his wife, Nicole. Others that were there helping to set up for the morning service introduced themselves and welcomed us with open arms. It was so calming and we felt at home from the very first moment of being there. I felt so good walking out of the school that morning and felt God’s and the Holy Spirit’s presence. It was very soothing and comforting, and I was so happy and excited to have that back in my life once again. We got involved in helping with the setup and tear down each week, and I helped out briefly with the coffee and the kids’ church areas.
During the week if I needed prayer or needed someone to talk with, all I needed to do was text or call Pastor Matt, Nicole or others that I connected with and they would stop what they were doing and pray for me right there. I knew this because I could feel the Holy Spirit working right at that moment in my body. It was truly amazing to me.
In August 2019, Pastor Matt announced that they were going to have a Baptism for those that were interested. Even though I was baptized several years ago, I felt that I wanted to be baptized again to renew my faith and my love and devotion to God. I wanted to thank Him for never leaving my side or giving up on me, no matter how many times I turned my back on Him. So on August 24, 2019, I was baptized and it was an amazing experience. I truly felt the Holy Spirit fill my body as I was dunked in the water. Nicole had given us each a paper with a Bible verse and prayer on it. The words that God gave her for me fit perfectly, and I reflect on them daily.
In October 2019, we attended the Discovery Class to get to know more about Deep Rivers and for Deep Rivers to get to know more about us. I really enjoyed the class – it wasn’t overwhelming or too advanced for me to understand. It was interesting and informative. I recommend attending the class when offered if you haven’t done so.
There were other classes or groups throughout the year that we attended. One was on prayer and one was on studying the Bible. It was nice to meet on a Saturday or a week night to be with others in Christ. It has helped me learn things in God’s word, as well as the importance and power of prayer.
Over the past year, we’ve had a lot of changes and challenges to walk through. Last year, Steve’s father passed away after a lengthy illness. Steve also had a stressful job change and spent some time battling his addiction issues. But through it all God has been good, and we were never alone.
In closing, God has definitely been active in my life since the start of my journey with Deep Rivers, and I am super thankful for that. I love going to church on Sundays to see my “family”, to worship God, and to feel the Holy Spirit fill that school and bless each one of us. As we prepare to move to Maryland over the next few weeks, I am sad to leave my Deep Rivers family, but I know that God is going to place us in a very similar church in our new “promised land” so that we can continue to grow and share our story with those God puts in our path.