What can I say, with every end there is always a new beginning.
I remember that day so clearly. I was on the way home from church and was beyond ecstatic. The decision that I had made was going to significantly impact and change my life for the better.
To begin I would like to give you a back story on how I found out about Elevation Church. I got a message from one of my friends that they were having party and asked if I would like to go. Of course I was like yeah! While I was there, my friend Ben had on a shirt that read “Elevation Church”. I remember thinking where is that church at? So I went up to Ben and asked him about his shirt that read Elevation Church. He told me that it was located in Charlotte and that I should totally check it out, it was awesome. After that encounter with Ben, I decided that I wanted to go and check out this church. I remember the first time that I got to experience Elevation Church and it was at one of the Charlotte locations. From the moment I walked in, I knew that this church was different than any other and I genuinely felt drawn to the church. When I found out that there was a Raleigh location, I immediately was excited. I tried to attend as much as I could, but I lived over an hour away and didn’t think this drive every Sunday was worth it. Altogether I went to the church on an off for at least four years. Then, one day my life completely changed.
Back in October 2017, I decided that I was going to start attending Elevation Church consistently. I began going to the church every Sunday. It was during this season of the church that they were going through a series called, “Waymaker”. This series was truly powerful and opened my eyes up to a whole new dimension of Christ. During this series we got the opportunity to give an end of the year offering to the church and to declare a word over our life for 2018 that God had impressed on our heart. I will never forget this day. A couple weeks prior to this day, I began praying and asking God what amount he wanted me to give and the word for the year 2018. When God told me the amount, I literally almost lost it. I was like, really? God said, “Do you trust me?” Immediately, I responded in faith. The day had arrived to give our end of the year offering at church. However, God still had not given me a word for 2018. I remember asking God the whole entire morning while I was worshipping for him to give me a word. Then, out of no where the word movement was impressed upon me. I thought to myself, movement? Are you sure God? There has to be another word. I asked God again and the same word movement came to mind. I knew at that moment that my word for 2018 was movement. I had no idea what God was going to do in my life for 2018.
Fast forward to January 2018. I had not attended Elevation Church since the day that I gave the year end offering and knew that it was time for me to make a trip back to the church. It was an ordinary day. I got up and decided that I was going to church regardless of what I looked like. I had a on a sweatshirt, jeans, sneakers, and no make up. Honestly, I did not look my best, but I didn’t care because I knew I needed to be at church that particular Sunday. I get to church and attend the 9:30 experience. The whole entire time I am in church, God had impressed on my heart to go to e101 after the experience. I was thinking to myself, there is no way I am doing that. Do you clearly see what I have on? Not only that, but I am not qualified to even go in there? Do you really think they would use me to serve? I cannot even believe I had those thoughts, but I did. Even after those thoughts, I still felt that urge and instinct to attend the e101 class. By the way it just so happened that they had a pop up class that day and they were serving lunch. Who doesn’t love free food? Well, I decided to take a step of faith and check out what e101 is all about. Now during this time of my life, I was going through some very difficult circumstances. I honestly had no direction, no clarity, very lost, very broken, and extremely lacked in my confidence and identity. I had been consistently praying that God would build my confidence and give me direction and clarity for my future that would align to his will for my life. Honestly, I had hit rock bottom and was at a place where I didn’t know how I even ended up here.
I walked into e101 and was instantly greeted by such loving and amazing volunteers. They welcomed me right on in. I was finally asked the question after several questions later where I wanted to serve. Immediately I said my heart is worship, which is absolutely is. I truly love worship. I quickly learned that in order to be on the worship team you had to audition and immediately I was filled with fear because at that moment I honestly did not have the confidence in myself to even attempt to audition. I mean it already took great lengths for me to commit to e101. I remember Matt Bush came in and started talking to us about the church. In that moment, I thought how in the world did I end up at this church. I kept thinking, God who am I to come to this class and attempt to serve at this church, like really? I mean God have you not seen how many people are here?! What are up to God? These questions kept going over and over in my head. Honestly, I really had no idea what God was doing. Did not understand whatsoever.
There came a point in the class when Matt addressed the teams that we could sign up to serve on. As he was going down the list I kept thinking to myself..no..no..no..no..no. After each one of the teams he stated I did not want to be apart of any of the teams. My focus and heart was on worship. I continued to look over the list of teams. As he continued to go over the teams he stated one that was not on the list and that is eKidz Theater. As soon as he stated that team, you know what I did? I instantly said there is NO WAY that I am going to be on that team. I mean you have to talk in front of kids and people and act and so on and so forth. There is absolutely no way I am serving on that team. Well…let me tell you have funny God is…
It was time for us to decide what team we wanted to serve on and let me tell you I had no idea what team to serve on. Well, moments later Stephanie approaches me and says, “Courtney, I know that you want to be on the worship team, but I strongly encourage you to go ahead and get plugged into the church. Also, one great way to boost your confidence is to join eKidz Theater!” OK. Let’s just pause right here for one moment. Did she just say what I think she just said? Oh yes she did. I immediately thought to myself, God are you serious? This is the team you want me to join?! I sat there in my seat and had an intense conversation with God. Are you serious, God? There is no way that I am going to be able to do this. Guess what?! The team I signed up for was eKidz Theater…can you believe it?!?! You guys, as soon as Stephanie stated about building confidence, it was immediate confirmation for me that eKidz Theater is the team that God wanted me to be on.
I started serving on January 21st, 2018. What an incredible day. The whole entire week leading up to this day, Jennie (the most incredible human on earth) was reaching out to me to see how I was doing and if I was excited about joining eKidz Theater. Of course I was excited and extremely nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. By the way, remember I didn’t know anybody here. Like no one. This was so new for me. When I got to church the first day to serve I didn’t know what to expect. My highlight of that day was watching this girl run down the hall screaming and I thought to myself wow she is really excited…and you guys it turns out the girl was JENNIE! She has been such a blessing to my life and I cannot be more grateful for the friendship that we have developed over the past year. Jennie if you are reading this I want you to know that I love you dearly and you have impacted my life in more ways than you will ever know. Anyway, back to my story (I am almost done, I promise). Well, the first day was amazing! I got to meet incredible people and definitely stepped out of my comfort zone!
As the weeks passed by I can tell you that my confidence had began to be rebuilt. As matter of fact, my life had completely changed. I will never forget the day when Jennie approached me about Storytelling in front of the kids. She approached me about three months into serving. I was extremely nervous, but with the grace of God I made it through it. I remember driving on the way to church and was praying and praying and praying that God would give me the courage and strength to get through storytelling to the kiddos. Prayer works you guys! As soon as I was done storytelling for my first time, I was completely blown away. God NEVER fails! He was right there with me the WHOLE time. It was so natural for me to go up there and talk to the kids. After storytelling for sometime I transitioned over to hosting for the older kids. Once again, God was right there to get me through it. It truly is amazing to see how God has moved in my life over the past months.
I want to interrupt the story for a second and tell you that I am sharing this because this is so dear to me and God has completely changed my life. You may think that you have your life figured out, but until God shows up let me tell you..you don’t! God is the ONLY one who allowed this to happen. He already had this lined up for me and all I had to do was to surrender and obey to his will. I promise you he knows what is best for your life. I can’t even begin to explain to you what God has done in my life. I hope one day we can get coffee and I can tell you all about it. It really is a lot to write. Maybe one day I will write a book about what God has done in my life. Who knows?!
Also, God’s favor is always on God’s people. Following after God is the most rewarding things you can ever do. He knows what is best. Just trust the process regardless of what it is!
Back in March 2018, I was asked to be apart of leadership pipeline. This is a class where you learn about leadership to potentially become a leader at Elevation Church. Well, what can I say..this is another God thing. I had no idea this was coming. I ended up taking the class and WOW I learned so much! Throughout the couple months of the class, I learned more about God, leadership, met amazing people who love God, ate AMAZING food, and much much more. I will never forget Week 5 of Leadership Pipeline. They call this week momentations. During the first week of Leadership Pipeline, you are told that you will have to speak in front of class for 3 minutes on a core value and how it has impacted you. Ha. Once again I was going to speak in front of people. God?! Hello?! Are you there?! I am not going to be able to do this?! God said, “Yes you are”. We had five weeks to prepare and immediately I already knew what value I was going to use. Jesus is the Center. It’s about integrated priorities. Fast forward to Week Five. I had been praying and praying that this message would hit 3 minutes and that the Holy Spirit would speak right through me. I pulled up to the place we were meeting and I get a text from one of the staff that I was going to be speaking tonight. SAY WHAT?! Yes. I was going to be one of the lucky ones to speak. Prayer level doubled. Like 500%. God, God, God, help me! Once again, God was right there. During the time I was waiting to go up and speak I kept going back and forth between what message I was going to deliver. I finally told God, “Okay God, your taking over, Holy Spirit lead me.” I was called up to share my momentation and I was not even nervous. I can’t remember anything I said, except in the beginning when I said, “I have always been afraid to speak in front of people, so bare with me…HAHA”. After that, I don’t remember. The Holy Spirit took over. I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing it was. After the three minutes was over, Carolina says, “Girl, I don’t know why you are afraid because you did amazing. You need to stay right up there because that is right where you are supposed to be!” Wow! You guys this was ALL GOD! What an incredible night. God gets all the glory!
A couple of months later, July 2018, I was initiated as one of the leaders for eKidz Theater. This moment was indescribable. I can’t even begin to tell you what was experienced in that moment. We will have to get coffee for the details.
To think that all of this started with a step of faith to e101.
I am currently serving as a leader for eKidz Theater. God has and is continuing to restore my confidence and identity. I am no longer the same person that I was and I am so grateful for that. I am continuing to follow after God’s will and I can’t even imagine where God is going to take me. I hope that you continue to follow me on this journey.
As I close I would like to ask one question:
If God can do this in my life, can you even imagine what he will do in yours?
Photo Credit: Mike Wilson on Unsplash