By: Becky Boland, Hennepin Avenue UMC (Minneapolis)
A key part of discipleship and a vitally important way to grow in our relationship with God is by sharing our faith stories with others. Periodically, we'll share a video or written testimony from a Minnesota United Methodist willing to share how they see God at work in their life. In this case, we have both. Are you willing to step out of your comfort zone and share your faith story? Email us or call 612-230-6132.
Watch video testimony here
As an older teen, I was devastated to learn that I would never be able to have children. When I became pregnant at 29, it was a toss up who was more surprised—my doctor, me, or my mother. Our joy quickly became panic as the focus turned to keeping me alive.
While within the first few weeks of being pregnant I was hospitalized for the third time, the doctor explained this was going to be a difficult journey and asked if I was all in and wanted this child. I absolutely did. So the medical team sent me home with a nurse and an intravenous line to funnel medication into my body.
That moment was a turning point. I vividly remember lying in that hospital bed, realizing I could very easily lose my life. I was also aware that I could live in fear of that possibility, or I could put my health and pregnancy in the hands of God. So that’s exactly what I did. Through many months of complications with my pregnancy, I was calm. I knew all I had to do was trust in God.
After a planned delivery that did not go as expected, my baby girl was born. I named her Elsa LaVone. Elsa means joy in Hebrew, and LaVone was my grandmother—the most courageous, stubborn woman I knew.
When Elsa was a couple of weeks old, I remember rocking and singing her to sleep after a middle-of-the-night feeding. It was then I realized that the greatest gift I could give her would be to raise her to be strong in her faith and to live out the Wesleyan creed of doing all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.
Elsa is now 8 years old and has a deep, abiding faith in God. She already lives her life every day by looking to do all the good she can. She routinely comes home from school and talks about making a new friend because
someone was lonely or getting picked on. Her first memorized Bible verse was Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
As we were driving home from church one Sunday last summer, my husband and I were sitting in the front seat talking about the service. Elsa piped up from the back seat, “I don’t know what you guys learned, but today I learned that God loves everyone no matter what…And mom, we need to go shopping for the new refugee family because they have no clothes to wear.”
In August 2017, after her school, Minnehaha Academy, exploded, she and I watched rescue workers looking for the last missing staff person. It was Elsa, not me, who had the right words in that moment. She reminded me that, “God has a plan—and even though we don’t know what it is right now, God does have one.”
I follow Jesus because Jesus was there, walking alongside me through the most lonely and difficult parts of my life—and now, I see Jesus walking alongside Elsa as she journeys through hers. Nothing compares to the true joy I get from being her mom; it is a privilege. Every time I look at my beautiful daughter, I see God at work—in her life, and in mine.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church