Read Theresa’s beautiful story of grace below, and be encouraged! Thanks for giving us your time, Theresa.
When and how did you start coming to the Covenant Fellowship Church?
I started attending Covenant Fellowship Church in the summer of 1986. My older brother was attending this church, and he asked our family to visit. We did, and I have never left! I was a sophomore in high school so it feels like I grew up in this church because I was saved here, met my husband, dedicated my children, and Lord willing, I will grow old and wrinkly here too.
Where do you live and what community group do you attend?
I live in West Chester, PA, and I attend the Campbell’s community group. My husband and I really enjoy getting to learn from the couples within this group.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Tyrone, which is a small town in central Pennsylvania.
Tell us about your family.
I will try to keep this brief, but they are all my favorites 🙂 My family humbles me, and God continually expresses His love and patience towards me through them. I have been married to Christian for almost 23 years. He is a humble, sacrificial, joyful, and funny husband who can make me smile even on my worst days. I have three wonderful kids: Abbey 20, Bethany 18, and Chad 15. I love them all so much.
Do you have an interesting family tradition?
Christian takes off work either on or around all of our birthdays. We have family devotions that include either a Proverb or Psalm corresponding to the number we turn for our birthday, and we do some sort of fun activity or outing. This has given us many opportunities to make enjoyable memories together.
What is your most embarrassing moment?
It’s probably good that I easily forget these. However, I happen to have a recent story. I met a Sovereign Grace pastor and his wife walking into a gathering. About an hour later, I re-introduced myself to the pastor’s wife, not even recognizing her. I completely forgot that we had a significant introduction only an hour prior! She was of course so gracious, but I immediately wanted to do a face plant into my plate of food.
Can you list “five favorites in five words”?
Christian (my husband), family, coffee, excursions, and Mexican food.
What ministries do you serve in at CFC and how have you seen God work in one of those ministries?
I currently serve in the bookshop. The thing I love about serving on a ministry team is how it positions me to meet new church members that otherwise I would not have a chance to get to know. They say this from the pulpit, but it’s so true: serving helps to make our big church seem smaller. God works through this ministry team by blessing me with fellowship and keeping me connected to my church family during a full season in my life. I am also on the Pro-life team.
What are you currently studying and learning in your devotional times?
I am currently reading through Romans, Mother Son, the Respect Effect, by Emerson Eggerichs, PhD., and I frequently journal my prayers. I am learning how to get better at cultivating respect toward my son as he grows into manhood. I am praying that as I learn this helpful knowledge that God would give me grace to consistently live it out, and the humility to repent when I fall short. My need for God is ever increasing.
What is your favorite verse or passage of scripture and why?
It is impossible for me to pick just one so I will give you two. The first one is Philippians 2, “Christ’s Example of Humility.” Amid the temptation towards pride and self-sufficiency, I have found this verse to be helpful. I love how it proclaims the Gospel. Christ is the ultimate example of humility in the way that He emptied himself. I need this verse in front of me at all times! Ephesians 3, the passage on “Prayer for Spiritual Strength” is another favorite because I am needy and weak. I love this verse so much because it reminds me that God is my strength and that He can do immeasurably more than I can ask or imagine. I tend to forget how BIG God is, and this verse reminds me of his power, it builds my faith and refreshes my heart.
If you could talk to a younger version of yourself, what advice would you give her?
I think I would tell my younger self to not be so high strung because I have appreciated the mellowing out process that age and experience have brought to me. It has allowed me to enjoy God and my family so much more. The seasons of life go by so quickly, and I think with my kids getting older, it makes me want to slow the clock and absorb my time with them. The busyness of life can feel like a time thief. I also think because of the way that I am wired, I can easily fall into temptations as I get squeezed from the stressors of life, and forget to enjoy God and all of his blessings.
When and how did you come to Christ?
I grew up in a very Catholic family. My oldest brother, Marty, gave his life to the Lord during college, and through him, our family came to Covenant Fellowship Church. Although I regularly attended church as a high schooler and loved it, my heart was far from God. My salvation came through a long process of God faithfully pursuing me even though I delighted in taking control of the way that I lived. His persistent grace was bigger than my selfish pride. Eventually, my heart melted with conviction of sin and the reality of getting to wear his righteousness and not earning my own dropped me to my knees at a single’s retreat. CJ Mahaney was talking about the life of Solomon, and God used it in a powerful way to help me to turn away from my sin and trust in Him fully for my salvation. The Lord helped me to understand that His ways are better than my ways and that everything I once held dear was all counted as loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ as Savior. Living in the truth of the Gospel has been my greatest gain. He is an amazing God, loving father, and faithful friend.
My salvation blows my mind every time I think about it. I was a rebel. I walked through deep hurt as a rape victim, was suicidal, was promiscuous, was at one time classified as a weekend alcoholic, did speed, smoked marijuana, shoplifted, and partied with friends. God’s grace is amazing. For some reason, out of millions lost, God chose me! I don’t get it. It’s scandalous, but that’s God; always giving me what I don’t deserve. I wish that I did not so easily forget the Gospel, but I am grateful that God never forgets me.
What is one situation you have faced or are facing? Share how God moved, or is moving, in the midst of this experience.
I remember when my husband was given 90 days to find a new job at his company. He went through several interviews and each one was a decline. It was a tough season of discouragement and temptation to fear. What I remember most from that time are the sweet moments of prayer and fellowship that we shared as a family and that I had privately. Despite the adversity, God drew our family closer, gave us meaningful times of ministry, and kept us persevering in our faith. God forged a deeper habit of prayer in my life. On the 90th day, Christian received a job offer! I cried happy tears. God is still moving in my life in the area of prayer. No matter what I face, whether it is big or small, presenting my requests to God comforts my soul. Most things in life are uncertain, but God is unchanging and steadfast. He knows my burdens even before I speak them. God moves through answering my prayers. It doesn’t always look like I think it will, but experiencing the power of prayer and hearing him speak builds my faith. I have plenty of room to grow, but prayer has been a rich means of grace and blessing in my life.