My name is Mindy.
I was born in Southern California. My mom and dad and I moved to Hollister, Missouri, when I was 3 years old. I spent most of my childhood in rural Missouri. When I was 6 my mother had a stroke and has needed full time care ever since. My dad was working and taking care of my mom which kind of left me to care for myself. We were very poor and there were times when we went without hot water, electricity, and food. Eventually we moved closer to my dad’s family so they could help us out. This move proved more harmful than helpful however and resulted in abuse and neglect.
When I was 7 my mom’s in-home nurse took me to Vacation Bible School in a tiny country church. I remember listening to the pastor present the Gospel message so simply. He told me about Jesus and how kind He was, how no matter what happened He would be with me, and how no matter what I did He would still love me. The pastor then asked if anyone wanted all of Jesus, and all He had for them. He invited us to come to the front and tell Jesus that He could have all of their life. I walked down to that altar trembling and crying and gave Jesus everything I was. At 7 years old I knew that a man who could love me no matter what was worth giving all of my life to.
Although I wasn’t raised in church from that point on I know that the Holy Spirit was working in my life. He taught me right from wrong, gave me drive for something more, and a belief that I could be different than my family. As a middle schooler I attended another church and was promised that God would fix everything if I only obeyed – not the true Gospel. When I obeyed and life was still hard I began to doubt God was a good God. This doubt fueled my choices and those choices led to a rebellious life as a teenager. Alcohol and anger gripped me but God had never let me go. At 16 I attended a youth service so I could watch a few boys play basketball in the gym and I ended up confronting the youth pastor about what he was preaching. His response was to introduce me to strong familes in the church. Those amazing families took me in and taught me what it truly means to follow Jesus, to commit to a community, and to be part of a family. They demonstrated the Gospel to me and one of those families adopted me into their own family while I was still in high school! My life has been forever changed because I learned not only that God is real, but He is good, and does good for those He loves. He has set me free from more than I will ever be able to tell. And He has empowered me to do work for His Kingdom, beautiful work I would have ever imagined possible.
Now 23 years after that first encounter with Jesus at VBS I can say He really is all that little country church pastor promised and He is worth far more than I could ever give Him. I get to work in youth ministry and I host and mentor young adults each week in my home. I am also a part of the teaching team for Leadher, an international women’s ministry based out of Springfield, Missouri. I love the word of God and equipping and encouraging individuals in their unique calling as a speaker and a writer. You can find my blog here: In Reckless Pursuit.
God has brought me out of a difficult season of grief and loss. He has taught me that He will satisfy me with His goodness, that sanctification – becoming holy – although extremely painful brings great peace and intimacy with God, and that He truly is faithful to meet us in our smallest and greatest needs. All of my brokenness, sin, shame, bondage, and hopelessness was dealt with when Jesus died on the cross. I can choose to live a life of freedom if I choose to give all of my baggage to Jesus. The old me is dead and the new me has life because I am covered by the blood of Jesus. I am made pure, holy, blameless, and new before God because everything else was overcome when Jesus died on the cross and rose again on the 3rd day.
Some of my favorite passages of Scripture are: John 21, Matthew 16:18, John 1:16, the book of Philemon, and this passage from The Message:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of Grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30
The Message © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 Eugene H. Peterson by NavPress Publishing