I believe a lifestyle of worship begins when you first entrust your life to God. When you walk with Him closely through the ups and downs of life, the result is an awe of who he is and to fall more and more in love with him. I first gave my heart to God when I was 17. I had faith in God before this, but it wasn't till 17 that I understood and believed Jesus' claims to be the way, the truth, and the life. John 14:6.

I started my journey with God very much alive, passionate about him and eager to see others get to know him. But it was a challenge in my life since then that shaped a lot of who I am today. That challenge is waiting for God and his best for me in a husband. I've wanted to get married since my early 20s, and now I am 33 and still single. Many times I had to surrender this desire to him and trust him that he had my best at heart.

A particular aspect I had to surrender in the waiting was guarding my emotions. In my early 20s in university and beyond I gave my heart away several times to fill a void inside of me. I knew these relationships would not lead to marriage, but I continued to pursue them. In these relationships, I would sense the Holy Spirit telling me there was something more for me and to let them go but I struggled to follow what God was asking. During those years God's grace was so evident in my life, and I felt his love frequently but because I knew I wasn't entirely following what he asked of me it caused me to hide from God.

This hiding created a few years of spiritual drought. Again, God's love didn't change, but it was me who was moving away from him and not allowing him to give me something better. By mid-20s I gained victory in this area through God's grace and kindness toward me. By this time I started to realize that I was someone who was called to wait longer because of God's timing, though I didn't know how long.

I heard someone say recently that blessing is not what God gives me but that God is with me. This statement could be the theme of my life. Yes, it's been an incredible struggle not to receive one of my strongest desires year after year, but God carried me all those years. I felt his presence so strongly through things he spoke to me, adventures he took me on, and through loving others with the love I felt from him. It may sound strange, but I am grateful that I experienced this struggle because nothing else in my life caused me to press into God more and worship him with my whole heart than waiting.

Because of my love and gratefulness toward God and this relationship, I have with him I worship him in many different ways varying from day to day. Some of those ways are singing to him, creating art for and with him, serving and loving others, trusting him through difficulties, and thanking him for who he is and what he's done. I love walking with God, and he is so worthy of my worship.

- Cara Nacke (student MAD Oct. 2016)