Louisiana – Tifa

I think miracles are amazing and I love to see God working in other people’s lives. But I don’t think I truly believed that He would do the same work in my life. I didn’t feel deserving of anything, much less a miracle.

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I’ve always been painfully timid. I can recall being in school, getting my name called for roll call, and fighting back tears as I whispered “here”, only to have the teacher repeat my name louder because she didn’t hear my response. Through many trials as I grew older, I eventually developed from shy and timid to rude, mean, and very anxious.

I had dug myself into such a deep hole that I began to suffer from severe depression and anxiety that was truly crippling me. God found me and just before the New Year I decided that I wanted to devote my life to Him. I decided I had nothing to lose. I started attending church very regularly and – completely out of character for myself – I joined a small group. I had hoped that I could create a new identity for myself that didn’t involve all the negative attributes that consumed me. And I secretly hoped I’d find some “Jesus friends.” I began to pray daily for God to change me and to use me how He saw fit.

Father I ask that you use me to do you work. Shove me out of my comfort zone. Push me to be the best I can be so that I can better serve You, my family, my friends, my job, and everyone I meet. I want to be a vessel for you and I pray that you can use me.

My advice to you: Be prepared for God to answer those bad boys in a mighty way!

I came across a Facebook link to an event called the Open Door Movement and decided this was my ticket to finding some Jesus friends. After much internal debate I took the 20 minute drive to an unfamiliar place with no one I knew. I arrived, sat in my car for a few minutes, and gave myself a pep talk to calm my trembling hands. As I slowly walked up to the building, two smiling faces greeted me. I kept the conversation brief, walked in, and found a seat. I just sat and prayed. God, You’re going to have to make someone talk to me. You know I can’t do this. I really want to grow some faithful relationships, so please just put some people in my path.

Someone placed a hand on my shoulder, so I opened my eyes to see the most intense blue eyes I had ever seen staring back into what felt like my soul (Sorry Jess, I’m still scarred). He asked if he could share a word with me. Honestly, I didn’t hear much of what he was saying. I was really focused on how I probably wouldn’t sleep that night because his intense eyes were sort of creeping me out – don’t get me wrong, those things are beautiful! But could you warn a girl before you try to invade her soul?

One super excited guy got up and spontaneously spoke about his love for JC (Jesus Christ) and shared a few stories of evangelism. That’s nice, but I hope you don’t come over here with that crazy business. Worship began again and I sat there praying that God would answer some things I had on my mind. God what do you want for my life? What do I have to offer that you could use for Your glory? I can’t imagine how you could use this mess of a life, but I’m praying that you show me.

There came another hand on my shoulder. I opened my eyes to see the girl who had posted about the event. Janea asked if she could pray for me. She began to speak and I was dumbfounded “…God is going to use you… He is going to take your unique gifts to do a work for His Kingdom.” I smiled and said thank you, slightly creeped out that she had repeated some of the same things I had just said IN MY HEAD!

As I was walking to the door (like I touched it y’all, I was escaping!), I had decided that maybe all the Jesus stuff wasn’t for me. Then the really “extra” JC loving guy – sweet Derek – asked if he could give me a hug. Good one God, you know I can’t say no to him. (Third times a charm I guess) It sparked a conversation and I shared how I ended up there that night. Derek listened intently and also shared with me. His genuine spirit encouraged me to come back the next day.

The next day, I ran into Jess. His eyes were a little less intense in the daylight so we stood outside to chat a bit. This guy isn’t so bad and he’s smart. Two points! The next session the third part of the trio – Josh – was up. I sat and stared at what was easily the longest beard I had ever seen in person. How does one grow a beard so long? I began to listen as he spoke one of the most beautiful pieces I had ever heard. Wait, did he say he wrote this? I have got to talk to this guy! I came back for the last session of the night where Jess shared such an awesome message. His final words were, “I just want to encourage you guys to never stop seeking why you believe what you do.” He set ablaze a new fire in my heart because until then I had been afraid to search for answers – I’ve always thought my views were supposed to be set on faith alone.

I absolutely believe God had been aligning my path for weeks just waiting for me to take the first step. God placed these three incredible guys and the Open Door Movement in my path to fulfill the need I had been in search of for so long. Combined with the changes He had already begun to make, God used that weekend to confirm what He could and would do for me. He allowed me to experience a small miracle in my own life.

With new-found encouragement I finally made the decision to be baptized a few weeks later. As I stood in the water and listened to the testimony of my life that I had written with ease a few nights prior, I was overcome with such emotion. Coming out of the water, I felt so renewed, complete, and overwhelmed with such joy. “…whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24 Not a day goes by that I don’t hold my kingdom key and pray that God continues to do His amazing work through sweet Derek, talented Josh, and smart Jess.

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I am so blessed y’all.

-Tifa

 

 

5 thoughts on “Louisiana – Tifa

  1. Tifa!
    I’m so happy you trusted God to take care of you. Your story is such a blessing for me in this season of my life. God has BIG plans for you. Thank you for opening your heart and sharing your story!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m truly so glad that my story could bless you! Your kind words are so appreciated.
    I am embracing everything God has for me and accepting that He is using me for things much greater than me. I find joy in sharing in hopes that someone else will accept and receive all the love I’m getting!

    Like

  3. Tifa. Reading this story all over again truly pumps me up and inspires me! Love you girl. Thanks for being so bold and sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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