I am so excited to kick off this series with my friend Kimberly’s story. Kim is one of the reasons I love the Internet. I “met” Kim last October through a mutual friend on Insta and we’ve been messaging one another almost daily since then. As a fellow educator, foodie, and Jesus lover, we have an endless supply of topics to chat about. I am mostly drawn to Kim’s sweet spirit and incredible sense of humor. Her middle school horror stories, her encouraging scriptures, and worship lyrics are the antidote for a really rough day.
I’m so grateful for her testimony and I know it will bless so many who take the time to read it. Thank you for sharing your heart in this space, Kim.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR LIFE BEFORE JESUS?
I am that girl who grew up in a faith household. I am that girl who had parents who had parents, who had parents, who had parents of faith. I am the one who was rescued by His great love, long before I ever knew it. It was not your typical, “Oh Come to the Alter,” song moment. It was instead, meeting Jesus when I was only a few breaths old. I met Jesus on the way to my adoptive family, whom I would join at 7 weeks of age. I met Jesus who was standing outside the door of the door, behind the big, black cast iron gates at the Hospital del Ninos on Paseo Colon in San Jose, Costa Rica. I turned my head. I was given to Him. He held me. He took me. He hid me. Most of all, He covered me with His great love. I didn’t know I needed it. I didn’t deserve it. I didn’t earn it, but that is what grace is. Unmerited favor.
My story could have been different. My life in Costa Rica, growing up in my birth family would have been nothing like the life I was given to live instead. I always knew that. I have never blamed my birth mom for anything; she did not ruin my life by placing me for adoption. She gave me life and gave it to me in a double portion when she gave me away. She was a scared girl, a single mother of two already and I was to be her third and in a family with many secrets. She continued the legacy of secrets by not telling anyone but my Uncle Johel that she was pregnant and he went with her to the hospital to deliver me. He held me, kissed my forehead and gave me to the nurse. They went home. A home that was separated previously due to secrets and would be drenched in confusion and sorrow again for years to come because of her choice. She too went home and by the time (weeks later) that other family members would try to find me, I was hidden, like Moses in a basket in the river. There the situation would sit for 46 years. Veiled. Only seen by God.
HOW DID YOU MEET JESUS? THE HOLY SPIRIT? GOD AS FATHER?
I met God as my Father, for no one at that time on Earth stood up as my father. God my Father, adopted me into His kingdom, into His family and called me His own. He physically pulled me out of one path and set my feet on another. Psalm 68:6 says, “God sets the lonely in families,” and He did. He found an earthly father and mother for me. He found two people serving God on the mission field who raised me in a faith-based home and who gave me every advantage I would have lacked if I had stayed where I was. I was grafted into a new family and the roots for 46 years ran deep and wide. I learned to lean on what it meant to be adopted into the Kingdom of God because I was adopted. Being adopted never meant I was rejected; it meant I was found. God redeemed a bad situation for His glory. Great is His faithfulness.
HOW DO YOU JOURNAL OR TRACK WHAT THE HOLY SPIRIT IS TEACHING YOU? WHAT DOES YOUR QUIET TIME TYPICALLY LOOK LIKE?
My quiet time is in the morning. I read from the Old Testament and the New Testament. I read from the Psalms and from Proverbs using the NLT version of the One Year Bible. I journal my prayers as if I am writing to God. Sometimes as I pray and write, I address God personally using my name in the Scriptures to make it more personal. I try to write down God’s history of faithfulness to me first. Then I pray circles around my family and for wisdom as I raise my children. I pray circles around my job as a teacher and I pray for wisdom and patience. Then I write down key thoughts from my readings. I also like to turn my key thoughts into social media posts. I also anchor my spirit in worship with a song.
WHAT SCRIPTURE(S) DO YOU GO BACK TO WHEN YOU’RE STRUGGLING WITH FEELINGS OF ANXIETY, FEAR, WORRY, ETC.? WHAT DO YOU DO TO BUILD YOUR FAITH?
When I am facing battles, I will rest on two key sections of Scripture. The first is in Joshua 10. When Joshua and the Israelites had a massive battle on their hands, they worshiped, they prayed and then repeated their worship and praise again. God caused the sun to stand still. Something that has never been done since that time. God is a miracle-working God. Because the sun stood still, Joshua won that battle.
Joshua 10:12-15 (NIV) says this, “Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon. So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel! Then Joshua returned with all Israel to the camp at Gilgal.”
The other Scripture I rest on comes from 2 Chronicles 20 when Jehoshaphat had a battle on his hands to fight and it was going to be fierce.
Jehoshaphat prayed this in 2 Chronicles 20: 5-10, “Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in the front of the new courtyard and said: “Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’ “But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
He pointed people to God and what God had done for them in the past and encouraged them that God who is faithful and true, will do it again.
It goes on to say in 2 Chronicles 20:20-28 (NIV), “Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.’ After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.’ As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another. When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped. So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing and also articles of value—more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it. On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berakah, where they praised the Lord. This is why it is called the Valley of Berakah to this day. Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the Lord had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the Lord with harps and lyres and trumpets.”
From this Scripture, I know that in a battle, my ONLY job is to praise, worship, and repeat. That is how I fight my battles. My worship is my melody to God and that is all God wants. He will fight for me. He will give me wisdom. He will set my path. I need to be so focused on him, that I don’t miss one thing. He is for me as He was in Egypt for the Israelites, a cloud by day and a pillar of fire at night. I pray that I will want nothing less than His blessings for me since He knows me so completely.
I also rest in Matthew 9 when the woman with the issue of blood who had lived over a decade unclean, who had no hope left but to get healing from Jesus as he walked by, touched the hem of His garment. Jesus felt the power to heal leave Him and go into her. I know that I need to pray big prayers, have big faith and to reach out for God.
In Luke 7 I meet the woman with the alabaster bottle full of expensive perfume. She was not considered worthy to be touching the feet of Jesus and she was uninvited to the dinner, but she came, just as she was, cringe-worthy and full of the condemnation of others when she poured the rich perfume on His feet, washed them with her tears and drying them with her hair. She was put to shame for her outlandish actions, but Jesus met her at her point of need and pointed out to others that she had done what they would not do. I need to humble myself at the foot of the cross, at the feet of Jesus and pour myself out to Him. I need to declare His holiness and pour out on Him my adoration and praise. He takes my unworthiness and calls me loved and forgiven.
IF YOU’RE WILLING TO SHARE, WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR MOST MEMORABLE PROPHETIC WORDS SOMEONE HAS GIVEN YOU? HOW ARE YOU STEWARDING THAT PROPHECY?
Forgiveness is my scarlet thread. I have had to work on that and understand what God meant for me to do. When resentment and unforgiveness fester, when I remember a situation that was completely overwhelming to me at the time, I choose to walk in forgiveness. That doesn’t mean I forget; it just means that I tell my accuser that I have already dealt with this, I will forgive, and I will walk in forgiveness toward others. It is not easy. My accuser is very loud and sinister and likes to stir the pot. My accuser loves to make a calm day end in a tornado, but because forgiveness for me is as a scarlet thread, I know that thread is scarlet because it is dripping in the blood of the Lamb, sacrificed for me on the cross and that forgiveness that the cross offers me is what I must offer others and walk in. I need to remind myself who I am in Christ, who Christ is in me, and that as I was forgiven, so must I forgive.
This forgiveness is even extended to my birth mom, who was not forgiven by my birth grandmother for placing me for adoption years ago. It is not my job to forgive her; she did nothing for me that I have cause to forgive, but I am the go-between the realm of Heaven and Earth and she needed to know she was forgiven and because of God, all is well.
JUST A FEW MORE QUESTIONS THAT I’M CURIOUS ABOUT! WHAT SONG DO YOU HAVE ON REPEAT THESE DAYS? WHAT ARE YOU READING THAT IS CHANGING YOU?
The song on repeat is a melody of songs that starts off with the song from Upper Room worship music, “Fight My Battles” and goes into “Defender” then it slides in to Bethel Music’s, “Raise a Hallelujah” and then Elevation Worship’s, “Do It Again,” “Unstoppable,” “Hallelujah Here Below,” and it goes on and on from there.
As I said earlier, I am reading through the Bible and I am loving the books of the Bible I used to skip over, like Leviticus and Numbers. In 1 Kings and 2 Kings, I learn that God is unpleased with partial worship; He wants it all. The laws make no sense sometimes, but God was not asking them to have it make sense; He was saying to them, “Follow Me.” That is still true today. God’s plan for us is good, however, a partial offering of worship, praise or prayer is not want God wants. He deserves it all.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on juliehills.squarespace.com