One thing that I try to always show just by the way I live, is my love for Jesus. The way I live, the way I love, everything. My hope is that when people see me, they wonder why I’m the way that I am, and by their curiosity, I am given the opportunity to share God with them.
Another way to share the Lord with people whether they are believers or not is by sharing your own life experiences including your origin story…Of sorts. Your testimony. I am sure I will be sharing many different moments from my life with you on this blog, but this is going to be the sneak peak into my life. To me, testimonies are like a wonton appetizer at a Thai restaurant. Absolutely amazing, and sometimes quite eye-opening, but you’ll grow and still have so much to learn, that you can’t fill up on just the first dish that comes your way. You have to be patient for when the main course comes. Your testimony is the beginning of a wonderful friendship, literally. Like I said: Origin Story. So now I’m about to tell you how it all started for me. Strap in, my friends.
It was a dark and stormy October night in the year of 2005, and all nine-year-old Annie could see was black with rain slamming against the car window. She was moving. Moving to a completely new town that she’d never been to and was leaving the greatest person and place on Earth behind. Okay. I should probably back up a little farther.
I grew up in Lowman, Idaho, a tiny little town with only about one hundred people in it. My family built a home there and it was my favorite place in the world. Possibly because it was the only place I knew. My siblings and I were raised by my mother and father and we grew up in a Christian home. Going to church and studying the bible as part of our history credits because homeschooling is life. I was one of those little kids that were constantly singing praise songs, and praying to Jesus out loud, thanking Him for everything in my life. Getting baptized when I was eight years old was one of my favorite days on the planet.
One day when I was eight, I was sad (whining about something, no doubt) so I went walking around in our back yard that happened to be the forest service lands so it was the woods two yards from our doorstep. As I was walking, I looked over and saw a bright light coming from between two of the tallest trees. As I looked at it, I saw a figure appear in the air between the trees and slowly start walking down what looked to be a set of stairs appearing in the woods. As the manly figure neared the ground, I heard the man speak with a gentle but strong voice and he said, “Do not be afraid, Annie. You are going to have great hardship soon, but fear not, and always seek the Lord.” I sprinted home in happy tears telling my mom about how I just saw an angel. No matter what you believe on this part of the story, it was an important event that I didn’t realize until much later. And it did come true.
About a month after the woods encounter as I was nearing the age of nine, I found out that I was moving away from Lowman to a place called Salmon, Idaho with my siblings. My father and mother had separated, and we were going to be living with my mum in this other town while my father stayed in Lowman. Now it is not uncommon these days for parents to get separated or divorced, so it’s not exactly a shocking thought for many. As a child, of course, I was shattered. The only thing in my life that had stayed a complete constant was having my siblings around, and without that, I am sure I would have fared much worse than I did. I had to find new friends, get used to a new town, and the like when you move. I rarely saw my father because of the distance which was hard especially since I am totally a daddy’s girl.
Around the same time, we were living with another person in our home who was…Far from good. Because of this person, I soon found myself in a living situation with an authoritative figure who was unloving, twisted anything about God to something terrible, and was the cause for many emotional traumas. Due to all of these situations, I found little to no joy in those years, except for one. When my little brother was born. He became my shining light in the dark and still is to this day.
None of these negative events in my life are meant to get pity or sorrow in any way, but they are very important because it caused a disruption in my life that I wouldn’t fully understand for many years. Because of moving from my dad and my friends, and having to live in a toxic environment, I did what many people do in their lives. I turned from God. I blamed him for taking me from my dad, for putting my family in this terrible situation for so long, and for allowing all of the pain that we endured. The thing about the way I reacted though, was I wasn’t actively blaming God. Or I didn’t’ think I was, anyway. I wasn’t waking up every day cursing His name and saying how much I hated Him. I just…Stopped. I stopped loving Him, praying to Him, reading the bible. I attempted to end my relationship with Him because I was so full of hurt. Instead of doing what I was supposed to, I ran away. #Jonah, amiright?
Right before my Freshman year of high school, my best friend Grace asked me to attend Shiloh Bible Camp with her. I went along to make her happy, not expecting to enjoy it myself, but it was there that I felt the presence of the Lord once again after nearly 5 years of neglecting him. God used the camp and two of my leaders, Carol Hazen and TaylorRae Brown, to show me His Love once more. Through them, the Lord showed me truths I had never realized. More than just “God loves and Jesus died on the cross for your sins” like I was told by everyone all the time, but never wanted to really listen. I was shown that the Lord is not a judgy old guy in the sky who wants you to follow rules, but that He cares for you in everything you do. He weeps for you. It was then that I rededicated my entire life to God, and was filled once again with that childlike excitement and willingness to learn, praise, and love.
I like to believe that the Lord gives you challenges in your life so that you may learn and through that, teach to others. There is no evil too great when you have the Lord on your side and your faith is in Him, and we are constantly being called to stand against it.
“Your time will soon come. You will face the very same evil. And you will defeat it.” -Arwen, LOTR
Even though Arwen may have been talking about a flaming eye in a tower, she also meant an evil throughout the land, and I think she said it accurately.
That is about as condensed as I can get with my origin story. There were many parts that I chose to leave out, not because I want to keep them secret, but because I didn’t want this to be 100 pages long. Your testimony only grows, so I have much more that I could share, as I have learned hundreds of things since my first year of high school. If any of you want to know anything about me, my testimony or my beliefs, please message me and I am happy to tell you anything and everything.
*insert cheeky peace sign* ✌🏻 Bless.