January 17, 2006
It has been 17 years since my Chrysalis weekend. Since then I have been on one Chrysalis team and 2 Emmaus teams. I still am overwhelmed by the love of our Lord. I have been to a lot of places and seen all kinds of things but the same basic truths are still unshaken. God loves us, Jesus died for us and the Holy Spirit can fill us. Our God is of love, mercy and infinite 2nd chances. I have gone through many phases on my Christian path, times when I felt like I was a million miles away from God and times when I knew I was resting in His arms. Through all of this, I knew God was with me somehow, somewhere. Even when I was doing things that I knew He didn't like he was still there waiting in the wings.
When I was 23, I moved to Florida. When I was 24, I was diagnosed wth bipolar disorder (manic depression). I experienced more severe depressive episodes than manic ones. I felt very much alone, no one seemed to understand what was going on with me. I went through a time when suicide was all I could think about. Many times, I tried, but God's hand was there to pull my out. He was there through it all, even at the times when I felt He had left me to deal with things by myself. I knew though, that through these trials there was a reason and a plan. I found one of the reasons when I met my best friend, Ame. She was a Christian dealing with depression herself. She was there for me and I was there for her. We understood each other's situation. God really blessed me with her friendship. I felt God's love for me through Ame's love and actions.
I felt His love for me again the man who would be my husband came back into my life in 2004 after his first wife passed away in 2003. We met when we were 13 at church camp. We knew almost immediately that God wanted us to marry. We did in January 2005. Now I have a loving Christian husband and a wonderful 7 year old daughter. Stephen went on an Emmaus walk in Dayton in 2002. He is very involved in the Emmaus community and I feel strongly lead to get involved too. It is such a blessing to serve the Lord with him. It draws us closer every time we volunteer for Emmaus or pray and do devotions together. I had been renewing my relationship with God for about a year before Stephen contacted me. He encouraged me in my walk with God. I've never felt so supported in Christian love.
These days, I find myself in a constant state of prayer and praise. I usually have an old hymn in my head. I chat with God many times during the day and I keep a prayer journal for praises and concerns. I have never been closer to Him. This is partly because of the people He's put in life. They love me with the love of the Lord and show me Christ through their actions. In the past 2 years, I have truly learned that when I put my life in His hands, I needn't worry, He'll take care of everything. It may not always be my wants but there is a plan for me and God's way is always the best way. I have been blessed more than I know and much more than I deserve. It is a great life to live in the Lord. De Colores.
AJ (Tranter) Puderbaugh
West Ohio Girl's Chrysalis #4
Table of the good news bearers.