Calvary has been my church home since coming to saving faith 4 years ago – Easter 2015. Interestingly, I had told myself years prior, that I would never attend that huge church on the corner of Peace Haven and Country Club or live even close to it. I have now resided 2 blocks from Calvary for fifteen years. God does have a sense of humor. Never say never… to God.
All believers have a time – a salvation experience – where they remember asking for forgiveness and accepting Jesus into their hearts. I guess mine was a bit unique as I was past middle age and also because I wasn’t seeking a Savior or a new life. I was plenty content with the life I had grown accustomed … until I wasn’t. God opened my eyes to a whole new way of thinking on Easter Sunday of 2015. He rescued me when I didn’t even know I needed to be. What a true gift of love and grace!
I was baptized at Calvary one year later. I waited to be baptized for several reasons, but the main one being that I was not convinced that I was not going to lose this new found enthusiasm for the Bible, Christ and my Heavenly Father. I didn’t want to publicly admit something that was going to leave me as fast as it came. I doubted that I could do a true 180 degrees at age 54.
My dad was the one who brought me to Calvary for the first time. I came to Calvary as a brand-new believer and I was terrified! I truly didn’t know what I was supposed to do. God did though. He knew exactly how to maneuver the chess pieces of life around these last 4 years so that many beautiful women of faith would come into my life. So many ladies in this church have been instrumental in my walk of faith and in learning what it looks like to have a close relationship with Christ.
All have become friends, mentors, and/or teachers. All wrapped their arms around me, never judging my past or restricting, minimalizing or squashing my enthusiasm for Jesus. They were never too busy to comfort me, guide or help me understand, or be there when I needed them. They were all loving servants doing exactly what God called them to do. They have coached, prayed, enlightened, encouraged, inspired and helped to mold and grow my faith. I want them all to know how much I appreciated them showing me what “true lights of Jesus” looks like.
The first year at Calvary, I started my Sundays in Worship at 8:00, then a Bible Fellowship Class at 9:15 and then a 2nd Class at 10:30. Sometimes I helped with a children’s Bible Fellowship class.
I became involved with the Encouragement Café Women’s Ministry working in several different capacities. Several Ladies from Calvary worked with this organization and I got involved because of them. I helped with large events at West Campus.
Calvary Southside Kids Ministry was where God placed me for a year. I helped with an upper elementary Bible Fellowship class on Sunday mornings. On Tuesday and Thursday nights, I actually ended up teaching a class to middle school Hispanic boys. Honestly, God knew that was a great place to start as I – just much as they – were just beginning a journey of learning and “taking-in” God’s Word.
I took several Wednesday night classes at Calvary – I just couldn’t get enough. Honestly, I have always been an energizer bunny – but never thought I would be fast-tracking with the Lord to get the Word in my heart and head so quickly!
I did summer Women’s Bible studies with Calvary ladies at their homes.
After 22 years of teaching elementary school, God called me away from a job I was passionate about. I had hopes and dreams to continue working with children, and did do that for a while. I soon found out that was not God’s plan for me long-term.
After retirement, I had the opportunity to work at Calvary Day School as a substitute teacher and also work in their afterschool program.
In August of 2016, after writing a letter to Jay McGuirk and having Gina Bess’ encouragement – the beginnings of a Single Moms Group began at Calvary almost 3 years ago. Although married twice, I had been a single mother over 20 years and knew this family dynamic well.
Although I knew this lifestyle and the ups and down of it, I felt ill-equipped to handle this responsibility. I was clueless as to how to begin or what God had in mind. He gently helped me through the awkward steps of learning how to do ministry teaching and I learned to trust him to help me in facilitating this group of phenomenon moms.
The group started as a Wednesday night class under the umbrella of Gary Chapman within the Women’s Ministry here at Calvary. Our first class started September 2016 with only 6 mothers and ended up with 15 by the end of the quarter. We have had 40 active moms since then.
We did several small events even at the onset. We had our largest event this past May. We had in attendance a total of 75 at Calvary Peace Haven. That included single mothers, kids, volunteer and those who came by to offer support and encouragement!
We are so thankful that God has opened many doors of opportunity in the last, almost 3 years. We now have weekly Bible Study classes on Mondays and Tuesdays. We have a Potluck Dinner and Parenting class each Thursday. We always have babysitters on hand for any class. Each Saturday we have a Consignment Store, a Food Exchange, and a Library open for mothers from 10 – 5pm. Our current Headquarters is my home.
We have a Facebook page with over 100 mothers in membership.
We are thrilled to announce that Single Moms THRIVE is actively seeking non-profit status this year. We are also in search for a new residence and a headquarters that would house single moms and their children for up to 9 months.
My Calvary connection didn’t stop with this ministry! What a blessing and a privilege that last year, in 2018, I worked as Matt Willis’ part-time administrative assistant in the Missions Department at Calvary for 10 months. I certainly learned the ends and outs of how a church organization works. I also learned about all the “behind the scenes” folks who do so much for the Kingdom and are the Lords hands and feet in so many ways.
Calvary’s 100 Anniversary is such a time to celebrate! Those like me – who have had such a wonderful opportunity to grow their faith in a church body of Godly men and women who love the Lord, are willing to serve, and seek to show others how that looks and how to do that well.