I was introduced to Jesus as a toddler. I was three years old when God used my preschool teacher to show his love to my family and I. My parents were young parents of two, working hard to make a better life for their family. They moved out of the city where the both grew up in poverty with large blended families, began to create a home and found a church preschool to enroll my brother and I in. Through building relationships with the church and daycare staff they decided to attend a service and met Jesus there. They dedicated their lives to the Lord and raised my brother and I to know, love and serve Him. Despite their difficult upbringings they were determined to pass down a rich legacy of faith to my older brother and I. At ten years old in a childrens church service I gave my life to Jesus and began the journey of a faith for myself that my parents laid the foundation for. As a super shy quiet child, I quickly began to find my voice and identity in Christ. I grew to love scripture and serving in the local church. I learned about God the father’s heart, grace and mercy. I fell in love with Him. As a teenager, I struggled to balance living out my faith with the pressures of fitting in. I struggled to keep godly company, to be godly company and to godly share the word. I questioned my faith. A lot. But one constant was that I felt God’s love pursue me and when I was alone I couldn’t help but turn to Him in my failure. My family and I experienced many losses in those years. I clung to Jesus and my parents while my brother ran in rebellion. His choices broke our hearts and completely wrecked the peace in our home. My focus quickly shifted from fitting in with friends to being a perfectionist. After seeing my parents walk through stress and strife with my brother I was committed to never causing them pain and to show them and everyone else that they were great parents. Though my motivation was pure, the enemy was quick to use perfectionism to entangle me and rob me of the freedom Christ intended for me. I struggled with anxiety and never shared it. I struggled with depression and never reached out. I was a ball of locked up emotion and resentment towards my brother. Bitterness grew a deep root in my heart and bloomed as achievements that never satisfied. I exchanged my identity in Christ for academic and extracurricular success. At a high school youth camp, I had an encounter with God and was completely vulnerable for the first time in years. During worship and the message, it was as if the songs and message were tailor made with me in mind. The hard shell around my heart was shattered. I was filled with the spirit and called into ministry that night. I went home fired up and ready to live free. I forgave my brother and was baptized. I began to boldly live my faith and became known for loving Jesus by friends and family and even teachers and peers at school. Looking back I can see that my testimony is God’s faithfulness. He is who He says He is. He wants to know us and be known by us. The following years were filled with more trials, victories and adventure than I could have ever anticipated. I studied and graduated from a Christian university where I met my husband. Lived and ministered overseas for nearly two years and got to see lives changed for eternity. I traveled over 7 countries and 20 states. I’ve seen miracles and God’s miraculous provision time and time again. One of the reasons my husband and I are so passionate about young people coming to know, love and serve Christ in their youth is that we’ve tasted and seen just how good it is to give those years to the Lord. Just as Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 12:1 Don't let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor Him in your youth before you grow old and say, "Life is not pleasant anymore." My husband and I currently serve on staff at a local church in the Midwest as associate and youth pastors. We are just scratching the surface of God’s deep love and faithfulness as we raise the most amazing one year old baby girl. Our deepest desire is to make Jesus known and to pass down to our daughter the rich legacy of faith that has been so graciously handed to us.