RON AND AMANDA BARRETT-
Transformation as a Family- A Made New Story:
"During the last 3 years, our family has been remarkably transformed by the Grace of Jesus Christ. Our journey has taken us on a lot of unexpected turns along the way. However, we've come to experience God's goodness through it as we've learned to surrender to His will for us.
Like many people, if someone would have previously asked, we would have identified ourselves as 'Christians'. Both my wife and I grew up in Christian families and on a surface level, would have seemed like good enough folks to an outsider. Despite our upbringings, neither of us had a real relationship with God. We based our decisions on what we wanted in the moment, what seemed practical, and what was socially acceptable. God didn't factor into our lives or our decisions much.
I guess you could say my warped perception of Christianity was to be just “Christian enough” to avoid Hell...but not so Christian that I'd be uncomfortable. I recall that there was an emptiness to life that success just couldn't mask. We had been treating God as a genie in a bottle, there to grant our prayers and then return to the the small space we assigned to Him.
As parents of a then three-year-old, my wife and I started to have conversations about how we wanted to raise our daughter. It was at this point we realized we were spiritually lacking. My wife had initially proposed we look to start attending a local church, but I'd been skeptical of church people based on bad past experiences.... and this idea was put on the back burner. We did however start praying as a family before tucking my daughter into bed at night.
Several weeks after starting to pray together as a family, a friend from work shared that he was playing in the worship band at Overflow Church and invited us. I took the address down, partially in lip service, not expecting to attend. That Sunday morning in April, I felt a nudging that we needed to go. Somewhat skeptically, we entered the building completely unprepared for what we would find.
I remember during our first service there that tears streamed from my cheeks as I realized the love that God has for me and that through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we have more than “just a place to go after we die” but rather are offered a real, meaningful, restored relationship with God that could begin right then and there. As I sought to let God into my life more and more, I saw many of my previous broken ways in a new light and found myself being changed in this process, no longer a slave to my old sins.
As weeks passed, we had gotten involved with the local missional community and started to appreciate that following God was not about inviting Him on our own adventures, but rather giving up ours for the better one He has for us. We have been blessed to serve at Overflow and, by God's Grace, to be light to our community.
I pray that for anyone who has questions about God that our story would be a reflection of the sort of unimaginable transforming Love He can offer you."