Dementia, Jesus, Writing

Happy birthday, Dad

My father passed away in 2016 due to dementia complications. His birthday is the day before mine this week, and in honor of his legacy every year, for his birthday, I share my testimony in Christ.

Me and my dad when I graduated with my master’s degree in 2008

First, let me say this – I believe a testimony should be a constantly evolving process. I want to be able to look back at certain times in my life and say, without a doubt, “Ah, that’s how God moved in my life.” I want to be able to say next year that I am closer to God than I am this year. I never want my testimony to always be about something that happened five or ten years ago. While I do believe it’s beneficial to see how God has moved throughout my life, during these particular writing occasions, in honor of my dad, I want to offer a testimony of how God has moved in my life more recently. I could tell you the story of my salvation, but it is fairly straightforward. One day, I might delve into its depths a little more, but I don’t feel called to that right now. I want to tell you how God has pushed me in the last few months.

When I look back this year, I see a visible change in emerging from my comfort zone. I spent about the first six months in a comfortable lull – everything was going well, everyone I knew was happy, and I just continued on a stagnant path. I didn’t see it as stagnant – my prayer life didn’t generally include anyone who was seriously ill or who had gone through a tragedy, which was a pleasant change from the norm, and I was enjoying the calmness that comes with a lack of overwhelming trials.

That changed in the summer when a dear friend challenged my ideas of stability and normalcy and rocked my perspective on my life and our church. Yes, everything was fine, but was fine the limit I had set for myself in terms of achievement? Did I want to stay fine or did I want to go further? Didn’t I want to be in movement to mirror Jesus more? Why stay in my comfort zone when there was so much need in my community – whether or not I was seeing it?

For a week or two, I fought with these ideas. I was angry, I was confused, and I was unsure of myself. I had been praying and reading my Bible regularly. Why had God not told me these things if I needed to push beyond my comfort zone? Why didn’t He reveal Himself to me?

He did – through my friend.

I rediscovered my walk with Christ as more than something just for me and my family and more for the world around us – neighbors, friends, Sunday School classmates. Suddenly, I saw that my comfort zone had become a clutch – a clutch to keep me from pushing myself.

I do like my comfy life. I’m the girl whose favorite evening includes pjs at 7 p.m., Netflix, and a good, warm drink. And while none of that is bad, I do need to remember that I have been called to stretch myself out of my introverted comfort zone.

If I don’t engage, how am I helping anyone? I’m not even helping my family. My girls need to see me out in the community, serving and leading – and following Jesus.




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