Rachel shares her story of how God brought her from the country-side to the big city, and from rebellion to discipleship.
My journey to this incredible city of San Francisco has been a long time coming. I never thought I would actually leave my home-town and become something so different than what my upbringing should have produced, but God in His great love, had very different plans for me.
I grew up a country girl, surrounded by wide open spaces with a distinct lack of street lights, giving way to expansive, star studded night skies. Our family was far from well off, often struggling to make ends meet. Government assistance helped my parents provide for us as they were trying to find their way through a destructive divorce. As a kid, I don’t think I was acutely aware that the food in the fridge or the clothes in the closet were hand me downs from various places, but I did realize that we were different from other families who seemed to have it together.
My sisters and I had to go back and forth between our parents’ houses every other weekend. If that wasn’t confusing enough, we switched primary parents every six months, on Father’s Day and on Christmas. As my parents were trying to figure out single life for themselves (often in less than responsible ways), I often assumed the role of guardian for my siblings. As you can imagine, I grew up very quickly and learned to make my own way in life, before most kids learn how to do long division. The system was clearly broken, and forced me to grow a tough skin, make hard decisions on my own, and created an intense defense mechanism of self-reliance.
When I was 13, I was introduced to Jesus. It was clear that my life had lacked stability, so the idea of a God who loves me unconditionally, and would never leave me, rocked my world. Everything I had wanted in a parent, I found in Him. All of the riches of life I had missed out on, I found in Him. The longing that was ever present in my heart, was satisfied by HIM. Immediately I immersed myself in my church, going on a missions trip to Mexico that following summer, and was with my church family every waking moment. I was ecstatic to be a part of a family that could support me like no other, and one that would help to shape me as a child of God.
All through high school I grew in relationship with the Lord and continued to be involved in missions as regularly as possible. My heart longed for the mission field so when I graduated, I moved overseas. It was during that time that I realized the impact my childhood had on my life. The wall of self-preservation I had built kept me from fully committing myself to doing what God desired of me. I started to notice that when I would do things contrary to the will of God, I became defensive when correction came, reasoning that I was more than able to direct my own life. With this revelation I started, little by little, yielding my will to the Lord. I encountered major hurdles along the way as I struggled through the process.
Nearly five years ago, during a lengthy departure from the path God had forged for me, I moved to the Bay Area. Shortly thereafter God presented me with a choice: I could live the way I was living, continuing to do things my way, which would lead me down a path of destruction, or I could yield my will to His and be truly satisfied. As it was, my plans were only leading me into danger. At that moment my choice was clear: I resolved to follow after God’s plans.
In the years following and up until now, I have seen the incredible things that come from yielding my will to His. There is no way I could have made this all happen by following my own will and desires. If it would have been left up to me, I would surely be a wreck. Instead, God’s wonderful plan has played out before my eyes. He orchestrated the meeting of my husband, the beginning of a relationship with an incredible church family and a satisfaction within my soul that simply cannot be matched. He placed me here, in this city, for a reason.
There is much to be learned from this place and there is much to give. He has given me a renewed desire in my heart for the mission field and this time around, my mission field is my home and oh, how humbling that is! None of this could have been orchestrated by my own sheer will. It is only because of God’s grace and love that any of this growth and any of these blessings have occurred. Who knew that a country girl, from a broken home, bent on rebellion would end up, by the grace of God, in this city for a time such as this? God’s loving plans really are the very best for us, there is no other place I’d rather be.
From a strong-willed country girl, to God be the glory forever.
Rachel can be found at RealitySanFrancisco, located at 2174 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114. Sunday services at 9am, 11am and 5pm. Come share in what God is doing in this City!