Category Archives: #IKnowHim Stories

Our #IKnowHim story today was submitted by Bethany McIlrath. She shares how she has experienced God in the form of friendships with others. If you have been praying for holy friendships, be encouraged by the words of her testimony and God’s goodness. Leave us a comment below so we can be praying with you! If you have ever prayed for friendship, we’d love to hear your experience in the comments as well to encourage those still seeking. 

With one semester left until I had a bachelor’s degree in hand, I donned a wedding band on my ring finger. All my friends were off to internships and first jobs hours or states away. My groom had led me to Christ a year prior. He and I were going to live in an inn and work there while my studies wrapped up.

Even with my new faith, my first “grown up” job, a marriage license, and the freedom to choose which drawer holds the silverware, I felt like a freshman all over again.

My most fervent prayer in the turbulent time of scraping by as a young newlywed, taking 18 credits, and talking with my husband about what in the world would come next?

God, give me a friend.

Silly as it may sound, for me, everything other concern paled in comparison.

I felt ridiculous.

As I understood it, God was mighty. A provider. The rescuer. He was my Savior, my Lord, and my master. The world, my world, was full of problems and lost people and sin and so much BIG stuff. In my still-new relationship with Him, I knew I served a BIG God.

Up until that time, I’d only prayed for the “big stuff.” My plate had been full of hard-to-swallow problems. So feeling desperate for a friend didn’t seem like something a Christian girl (or God!) should care about.

But for as BIG as God is, He really cares about the small things too.

Scripture doesn’t just say God is with us in huge battles. Instead, He’s with us always. We’re told He doesn’t just watch us when we’re out and about, prone to sin and failure- He watches us when we sleep. God, who is everywhere all at once, also became man. He can identify with being in one place, at one time, with a tangle of emotions and temptations. Jesus even knows what it is to hang out with a friend.

As I read the Bible and adjusted to the season of life I was in, I clung to getting to know Jesus as my friend.

Jesus Himself said it: “I have called you friends” (John 15:15.)

I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful for the closeness of friendship I enjoy with Christ, some of which formed through that season. However, I’m also thankful for the curly red headed gift He gave me back then.

Our friendship’s beginning was unexpected.

My husband knew my desire and my prayer. He asked me if I’d met her yet. He said her name and described her by her bright, corkscrew hair. I told him she wasn’t friend material. She was a co-worker at the inn. Plus, I’d crossed paths with her years ago. We didn’t hit it off back then (due in part to her poor taste in sweaters.) Why would we now?

When she and I interacted at work, I was polite and friendly. Co-worker pleasant. It didn’t cross my mind she might be an answer to prayer. It didn’t occur to me that God might be showing His care for my little longing. I didn’t even realize that bit by bit, I wasn’t so lonely.

I didn’t even realize we were friends.

Then one day I was reading the Bible. A minute late for my shift, I finally put it down. It was the first time I’d read Hosea and I just had to tell someone about the epic illustration of God’s unrelenting love.

She was waiting in the office to clock out. As I apologized for being late, I offered up my explanation. Feeling like a weirdo, I admitted “I was just wrapped up in Hosea.” Her eyes got huge. She exclaimed, “I totally understand!”

Taken by surprise, I leaned against the wall, replying, “It’s the craziest story!” She agreed. We went back and forth. The inn was quiet so I grabbed my Bible. We sat down and read passages and reviewed the story- and God’s love got personal.

The people whose stories are recorded in Scripture sought God for the big- and the little. God delighted to make Himself known to them in the big- and the little.

My seemingly small yearning was met with a friendship that has remained a big part of my life. And alongside that friend He gave at just the right time, I’m still getting to know God more and more.

Sometimes God answers us with just His self and His sufficiency.

But, sometimes He wants us to know that He also loves to share us. He loves introducing His friends to His other friends.

I know Him- and as I get to know Him, I find out more and more that His love for us is so personal that He actually does care about the little things.

Godly Friendships

Have you experienced God in your life? Click HERE to submit your story to be shared on the blog!

On today’s episode of the #IKnowHim podcast, Reid and Aimee Christner are sharing how their experiences with God have called them to live a life of servanthood and obedience. They discuss how fear and surrender have played a role in their faith journey, as well as how coming to Christ in adulthood influenced their faith. In this podcast, they talk with host Rachel Sweatt about how obedience in what God has asked them to do has built their faith, strengthened their marriage, and cultivated a life of purpose and intention.

Looking for God

 

Here are the resources mentioned in the podcast:

Seamless by Angie Smith

End of Me By Kyle Idleman

#IKnowHim Podcast with Aimee and Reid Christner

We are excited to welcome Laney Wooten, a long time follower of Jesus, who is giving us a transparent look at how she has experienced God as she wrestles with hard questions about her faith, and struggles with the doubt that so many Christians experience in various seasons of life. Laney also shares how God has revealed his goodness and his nearness to her through the tangible hope that sustains her every day as she points her family to Jesus through the countless hardships that come with having a child with severe autism.

#IKnowHim Podcast with Laney Wooten

Today’s guest is a wife, mom, University professor, engineer, world changer, and fierce Jesus follower. We are honored to share this conversation with Emily Hunt, who shares a raw look at who Jesus really is to her and how she and her family are experiencing God first hand as their unsuspected fight against the cancer in their seven year son old brings them to the front lines of their faith. 

Emily and Zander

#IKnowHim Podcast with Emily Hu

Brooke and Sarah, founders of Partners In Hope, are sharing how they have experienced God in their own lives and how they continue to see His goodness in hard places. On this episode of the #IKnowHim Podcast, we are talking about how they have seen redemption and restoration offered to prisoners and how they take the Light of the Gospel into hard places, as well as how they see the goodness of God firsthand in the lives of the children they serve through their program. 

Partners In Hope #IKnowHim

For more information, visit their website here.

To partner with them financially as they continue to serve children and prisoners in Uganda, click here.

Partners In Hope #IKnowHim Podcast

Today’s podcast guests are newlyweds Mikey and Cicely McDowell, who are experiencing God in their lives after recently beginning a new season in their lives in a new place, with God being their only familiarity. A law student and a musician in Nashville, they are sharing ways they are actively seeking God and seeing Him move when everything else is uncertain, and how they are pressing in to making Him known in their new spheres of influence.

McDowell #IKnowHim Podcast

 

Our guest today is Homer Allison, founder and pastor at Battle Cry Ministries in Houston, Texas. One week after Hurricane Harvey devastated their community, Homer is sharing how they are seeing God move powerfully throughout the recovery and rebuilding process. His ministry team has developed a long term strategy to help the people of Houston not only rebuild their homes but find new life in Jesus, sharing the Gospel with every family they serve. To find out more information on their recovery efforts, their ministry, or how to support them financially click on the links below:

The Epicenter Harvey Relief Facebook Page

BattleCry Ministries Harvey Relief (Donate + Serve)

#IKnowHim Hurricane Harvey

#IKnowHimPodcast Homer Allison

Our #IKnowHim story today was submitted by Kali Peddy, who one day found herself face to face with a truth that saved her life. Even in the trenches of depression, she knew that God was ever present, waiting to redeem, and longing to restore. Just as the sun continues to rise each day, she continues to experience God who is faithful to show up in the valleys, along the mountaintops, and every step of the way in between.

**Help us share her story and if you were inspired by her story be sure to leave her some encouragement in the comment section below!** 

Chocolate milk saved my life! Well, not literally, but in the most important way, this is wholeheartedly true. Let’s back up…

I grew up in the good ol Texas Panhandle, splitting time between Canadian and Canyon in the all too familiar world of broken homes; my parents had divorced when I was 7 years old. I grew up with a preacher for a grandpa; I knew about Jesus. I went to church regularly until I was 11 years old. I was baptized in a pool in a New Mexico hotel during a youth ski trip with a church that I attended, mostly alone, during my entire high school existence. My mom and stepdad had long since quit attending, my brother had no interest, my younger half sister just did what my mom did, and so that left me, 15 year old Kali, to decide if going to church alone in a small town was worth the whispers and gossip and humiliation that I felt almost every time I stepped through those doors. I knew at 15 that I knew who Jesus was, wanted to be saved, was obedient through baptism, but nothing significant remains in my memory from that event in my life. I could point out dozens of moments in my life and claim that that was my “salvation moment.” I attended church camp every single summer for six years when I would visit my dad in the summer. I “knew” all the things to say and sing and believe but I had THE hardest time living it out. You could characterize my high school and early college years in the words of Johnny Lee: “Looking for love in all the wrong places, looking for love in all the wrong faces….” Yup. Guilty. Horribly so.

Until chocolate milk saved me. On a stateside mission trip to Branson, Missouri with Campus Crusade for Christ at Oklahoma State University, a chocolate milk demonstration finally revealed the all consuming, life giving, irrevocable love of Jesus. I was completely enraptured as chocolate syrup (representing Jesus and his Holy Spirit) was poured into a glass of milk (my life), and we were challenged to try to separate the syrup from the milk. It all made sense in that moment: when I proclaim to follow Jesus, declaring him my savior, surrendering my messy broken heart to his will, ain’t no amount of sin gonna separate that syrup from the milk. Lamentations 3:22-23 says “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” LIBERATING! FREEDOM! RELIEF! I felt it all. That was such a monumental moment in my spiritual journey and what I consider my “salvation” moment. I knew it then, I had no doubts that I was saved; that I wanted to live for Jesus. It was amazing.

But we all know that life doesn’t always stay on the mountain top. There are moments and seasons in the valley. In a season of fear, and desperation, and loneliness shortly following my time on the mountain top, I hit absolute rock bottom.

I attempted suicide my junior year of college. My biggest secret; my darkest shame; my ultimate lack of trust.

My syrup was still there, but I was watering it down with all my might.  For some reason, a full bottle of aspirin and alcohol seemed more attainable and fulfilling than my Jesus. Oh but his mercies are new every morning. Jesus crawled in my nasty, dark, broken life and pulled me back to the mountain top. Great is his faithfulness. He loved me through the shame, and heartache. His mercies never come to an end. My story didn’t end on the mountain top in Branson, Missouri. My story didn’t end in the darkest valley in Stillwater, Oklahoma in November of 2010. My story is new every morning.

Redemption

Being a believer, a Christ follower does not guarantee a straight path from mountain top to mountain top; but it does guarantee a God who will walk with you, search you out, call you back, open doors, straighten winding paths, and wrap us up in love when we find ourselves in a valley. I will never stop loving my Jesus, I will never stop serving my great God, I will never stop being grateful for the steadfast love of the Lord.

Kali's #IKnowHimStory

Has God ever met you in a hard place? When did you come to understand that there is nothing that can hinder His love for you? We want to hear your thoughts! Tell us about your experiences in the comment section of the blog! 

Want to tell YOUR story? Click HERE to submit your story to be featured on the blog! 

Today’s story was submitted by Mandy Pugh. Read her story below to see how God revealed He had a greater plan for her life. 

Proverbs3:5

As a teenager, I can remember so many times talking to God and asking him into my heart but never taking that next step to salvation.  There was still something holding me back.  I truly believe God places people in your life for a reason.  My high school sweetheart’s family were devout Christians.  They will never truly know the impact they had on my life.  Even though it wasn’t exactly for the right reasons, I started attending church with them.  I knew God was working in my life.  On July 31, 1998, God gave me a second chance at life.  I was in a horrible vehicle accident.  For three days, I was in a medical induced coma due to the brain injury I sustained.  I walked away from the accident with a major concussion and minor scraps and bruises.  Many people would say I am lucky to be here today due to the fact I was wearing my seat belt that morning.  I know in my heart it wasn’t by chance or luck that I was given another chance at life.  God had other plans for me.  After the accident, something inside of me changed.  I wanted to savor every moment in my life but still I hesitated.  I want to think that I had to completely hit my lowest for me to see how much I needed God in my life. 

I remember sitting in the pew at Porter Springs Baptist Church and I knew in my heart it was time.  I had waited too long and God had a purpose for my life even though I still wasn’t quiet sure what that was at the time.  I was baptized in April 2002.  Almost a year and a half later, I married my best friend.  Life was great.  I gave birth to our first daughter in April of 2006 and the second just sixteen months later.  Family has always been important to me.  My family was shaken in 2008 when circumstances sent my father away for almost a year.  Being a “daddy’s girl”, I couldn’t wrap my mind around it all.  I was crushed and questioned why. As we communicated, he would tell me that he was reading his Bible daily and knew God would get us through it.  Here I was questioning God and turning my back on Him when He was the one person I needed to be turning to.  I had to get down on my knees and beg God for forgiveness. 

Proverbs 3:4-5 “Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”  This verse has such a powerful meaning.  We can’t lose sight of God in our times of trouble but, instead, we must turn to Him.  Give praise to Him and trust in the plan He has for your life.  I am blessed to say that I am a born again Christian.  A year ago, God laid it on my heart to take the role as Team Leader for Children’s Ministry at my church.  What a blessing it is watching children come to know and trust in Jesus Christ.  God is working in my life daily and can’t wait to see what else he has planned for me. What a blessing it is to know Him!… and an even greater blessing every day to know Him more.

Has God revealed a different plan to you, other than your own? How does trusting in God’s plan for your life rather than leaning on your own understanding influence your daily decisions? How have you experienced this in your life? We’d love to hear your thoughts, leave your comment in the section below! You can also SHARE YOUR STORY here!  

#IKnowHim story submitted by Mandy Pugh 

Mandy's #IKnowHim story