I became a believer in Christ when I was 14 years old. My family was not particularly concerned with faith, but we had gone to Catholic church and schools since a very young age. I knew that God existed but I did not know that you could know Him personally and I actually had no clue why His son, Jesus, hung on a cross at church. Because of the nature of my father’s job we moved often. I attended 3 different high schools in 3 different cities and 2 states. I was introduced to Christianity through a high school ministry called Young Life at my first High School in Tyler, Texas. I was blown away and quickly became enthralled with studying the Bible and trying to understand what this book said. By the end of my freshman year, now in Orlando, Florida, after hearing a year of Young Life talks (brief explanations of Christianity) and attending a beginner Bible Study, I gave in. I was very unhappy with myself and was struggling with changes in my family. All I knew to be true at the time was what I had read in the Bible and what I saw in the lives of those who believed in it.
My Christian walk was very rocky for almost a decade. I was very insecure in High School and lived a double life. I was a straight A student and top tennis player, but at the same time I got heavily involved in the party scene and all that goes along with that. I have always been a fun-lover and was always trying things for the first time. There was a great tension inside me as I continued to live this lifestyle and also grow in my understanding of Christ and faith. There was a short stint in my high school years when I successfully distanced myself from all of those things that had weighed me down, but they entered my life again when my family faced major turmoil my Senior year. As I fell back into my old ways of life I struggled with whether my faith was legitimate or not. I also struggled with wanting to separate myself from my family and the troubles that we were going through.
In 1995 I began my Freshman year at Texas Christian University with a bang. I came a month early for various freshman orientation activities and quickly fell into the fun-loving party crowd once again. I loved my new friends and all the fun I was having, although I felt something beneath the surface fighting for my attention. About a month into school it finally got my attention. It was the first night of the Young Life leader training for TCU students and I had planned to attend. But the two nights previous to this I had spent partying and having a “blast”. I remember sitting in my dorm room, under the covers, with the lights off, feeling torn and stricken. There were truly two voices inside of me telling me what to do. One voice asked me to consider the fact that college is only four years long and it is suppose to be the best four years of your life. If I was to become a Young Life leader now I would be giving all that up and making sacrifices that were unfair to ask a college student to make. The other voice hardly spoke, but clearly told me that I needed to go to the leader training, it was the right place to be. Desperate to make the right decision I made two phone calls. Both confirmed the first voice, don’t do it.
To this day I don’t remember walking to the Student Center for that first Young Life leader training, but I can clearly remember sitting in the dark during the worship time, leaning against the back wall with my ball cap pulled low over my eyes, weeping. I wept because I knew I had not been strong enough to make the right decision, and that God in His great love for me had made it for me. And it had been the best decision of my life. Many say that the day you decide to believe in Christ is the best day of their life, but for me it was the day that I surrendered my way of life to follow His. Its called obedience, and its not easy, but it always feels the best in the end.
I spent the next four years at TCU learning more about God, telling high school kids about Jesus, learning how to make better decisions, and looking to others who were more experienced and could show me how. My life was filled for the first time with Christians, I had no idea that so many existed! God changed me and shaped me in so many ways. I knew in those years that God had called me to full time ministry. After graduation I spent one more year in Fort Worth leading the Young Life club I had led for the past 4 years and then I interviewed to go on staff with Young Life. Through an amazing series of events God led me to serve Young Life on the coast of Texas in a small town called Rockport.
These first two years of my adult life were two of the hardest, but most fruitful, in my life. God used this time to break me and bring me to a place where I was willing to face my greatest weaknesses and flaws, and depend on Him. At the same time my ministry in Young Life there was incredibly fruitful and exciting. I truly loved those kids and was so grateful for being a part of establishing that ministry once again in Rockport. When the end of my two year internship came to a close, Young Life asked if I would come to Dallas to help with a struggling leadership training program they had been trying to establish for many years at Southern Methodist University. So I moved to Dallas and headed up the leadership training program at SMU in addition to leading a Bible Study of 9 students for 4 years. My time with this ministry was incredible and through it God showed me how He had gifted me to teach His Word and disciple young women.
After those girls graduated I decided to step away from full time ministry for a little while in order to go to seminary. I attended Westminster Theological Seminary’s Dallas campus and earned a Masters of Arts in Religion as a part-time student. In order to pay the bills, stay connected to ministry, and experience what its like to work with the church, I also got a part-time job. For 3 years I was the Administrative Assistant for the Women’s Ministries at Park Cities Presbyterian Church. This job was a gift from God and met all three criteria that I had hoped it would. In this position I was able to identify and meet a need in the church of connecting young women in the church with older women there. I started the Young Women’s Ministry which offers a Bible study for women in their 20’s and 30’s and also a ministry called The Bridge which helps women of different ages connect with one another.
After getting married in February of 2008 I graduated and left my part-time job at PCPC. I then spent the next few years teaching Bible studies to young women, speaking at various conferences and retreats, and mentoring young women. In more recent years I have been teaching God’s Word to my two young daughters and serving as a volunteer with women & children at Mercy Presbyterian Church, which was planted in 2014. And if you are curious to know about the first true love of my life then click on “Maggie’s Story“…