Give us a backstory to who you are (i.e., a small life story).
I was born in Illinois, but as a baby I moved to Garland, Texas when my parents separated. My mom was a single mom doing her best to raise us. Spiritually, I never learned about God or the Bible growing up, and I didn't go to church. I first heard about who Jesus was from my best friend's mom. I went to church with them whenever I was with them, which was often. I got saved there when I was probably around 11 years old, but I didn't live my life for Christ. Later after high school I met my husband and we have four kids together now. Neither of us was walking with Christ, but I started going to church once the kids came because I knew I wanted them to know Christ. After kid number four, my husband got saved and we started pursuing Christ in our marriage and our life. Now we are involved in church and have friends and community to help us walk through life in Christ.
How you were presented with the opportunity to go on a WayForward trip?
Well, the first time I heard about a WayForward trip was at my gym, and there was a men's group that had gone before. I heard how great it was, life changing even. The following year, Becky Strahan - a friend of mine - told me she was putting together a girl’s trip from the gym and asked if I wanted to go, and I was like "yes I'm in!"
What was the struggle (if any) as a mother to leave your home and go on a WayForward trip?
Some obstacles that immediately came to mind was the cost, the length of time away from my kids, and my physical ability to do a hike in Colorado with a heavy backpack.
What motivated you to say yes to a WayForward trip despite these perceived struggles?
I said yes despite these struggles, because through prayer and discussion with my husband and friends, I felt God saying I could go and it would be okay. My husband was surprisingly willing to keep the kids and care for them while I was gone, and honestly he is perfectly capable to do so, even if it's not how I would do it. Wayforward worked with me to get the payment done over monthly payments, so that was no longer an excuse. Also when I went to an information night which was hosted, I found out many people said that the group goes at a pace that is needed and best for everyone, so my physical ability was no longer an issue.
What was the realization, epiphany, hope, or takeaway you received?
My hope was to grow closer in my walk with Christ, but I got so much more than that! The time away from all the distractions of life - being a mom of four, being a wife - were gone and I could just focus on God's call for my heart back home. I was able to listen to what God was saying that I needed in my life to grow and be useful for His purposes and glory. Not to mention, new friendships were deepened in a way only this kind of trip could do.
What would you tell someone who was in similar shoes to you if they were considering a WayForward trip?
I would tell them that God will work out the details and that HE wants them to go and get away from all the distractions. He wants to bring new joy and purpose to them. I would also say the WayForward family is amazing and will work hard to make sure there is no reason to say no. It will be full of life change and the refreshment which we all need.