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Today, we’re talking about our testimonies! Why would we share our testimonies? Ultimately, the Lord gets glory when we share our testimonies. But also, once you get out of the youth group stage (where everyone shares their testimonies all the time), in general, a lot of people don’t really talk about their testimonies.

I (Nathaniel) love asking people up front what their story is. Because for me, there’s probably no better story for me to hear than someone’s testimony, because it truly is. I don’t care if you were raised in church and became a believer at five years old, or if you were the most hardcore, in jail, on a life sentence, and have a “crazy” testimony. It doesn’t matter what you have done- the story of someone going from death to life is always incredible.

If you are a believer, you have a testimony. You had a time in your life when you were a child of wrath, but now you are a child of God. And that’s just an incredible story, no matter how it happened.

I (Xan) used to think that my testimony is so boring. But there’s no such thing! When I hear a “boring” testimony, (you know, nothing crazy, no radical sin transformations or anything like that), they usually speak to me in some capacity. I think testimonies have the most powerful capacity to speak into your life. We see that all throughout Scripture. Paul is a walking testimony all the time and speaks and teaches through his testimony.

Xan’s Testimony


I grew up in a Christian home. We went to church every Sunday and had Bibles. But, I wouldn’t say that this is where I was spiritually discipled. I definitely had a childlike understanding of the gospel and that Jesus died for my sins. My faith was like a small seed that didn’t really grow for a while.

I didn’t really have Christian community even though I went to church. Most of my friends (growing up in the North) were Jewish or Catholic, and honestly, I was ashamed of my faith.


Once I got to high school, my family moved to North Florida, aka. the Bible Belt. So the thing to do was go to youth group on Wednesday nights. This was completely foreign to me and I definitely thought everyone in Florida was Jesus freaks. But, I started going to youth group and this is where I truly saw the Gospel transform people’s lives for the first time! To see people live out the Gospel was so influential for me.

A life spent following Jesus looks different.

I still had an immature faith, but it was no longer private and I was starting to allow it to affect me. However, I began to grow in my own self-righteousness. I wanted to be the good, Christian girl and check off all the boxes. I looked like I was doing all the right things and wanted to look like it.


College is where my whole life and walk with the Lord changed. I went to school at Alabama and some bad family situations caused me to really cling to the Lord. Even just going off to school pushed me to make decisions about my faith. What kind of church should I go to? What do I believe about what the Bible says?

College was the catalyst for figuring out what the Bible says and growing in maturity. I had solid believing friends and a great community that helped me grow in my faith.

However, I was struggling with still wanting the American Dream and success but tacking Jesus onto it. I changed my degree nine times. But the Lord really convicted me of this and has really grown me in this area.

Marriage and Seminary

Nathaniel and I met in college and dated for two years before we got married. Once we did, we moved to North Carolina for Nathaniel to go to seminary.

The seminary stage was definitely sanctifying for me. Nathaniel was growing so much and I was stubborn and wanted to learn/grow at my own pace/on my own terms. I was also struggling with being a first-year teacher.

But the four years we were in North Carolina were huge for me. We were surrounded by so many faithful men and women and their families. They knew the Word well, parented well, and were faithful in their marriages. We had such a sweet and solid community there.

But, the seminary season is like a greenhouse. It is great for growth and you can learn and be equipped, but just like plants in a greenhouse, you aren’t meant to stay there forever. You are meant to go out and be planted elsewhere. This is something we started praying about over a year and a half ago.


So, we started praying and asking others in our lives to pray for us about the possibility of moving. There were lots of reasons why, and we ended up moving to Wisconsin about a year ago. The biggest thing we asked people to pray for was community. And the Lord is so good because as soon as we moved here, we were able to find good friendships and now we are in a great church.

Now, we are in a season where the Lord is pruning us and rooting out a lot in us. We are being forced to rely on Him and be willing and faithful to rely on Him. Currently, we don’t know what we’re going to be doing in the future, but we want to follow wherever the Lord leads!

Struggles and Doubts

One thing I want to say as I share my testimony is that I have wrestled on and off with the existence of God. But I can always come back to the fact that I have an unexplainable faith that God is who He says He is. I don’t have this level of faith anywhere else in my life. If you wrestle with this, that’s okay- it’s normal! I find comfort in the Holy Spirit working within me.

Nathaniel’s Testimony


I was born and raised here in Wisconsin. The classic question that people ask if you are from here is, “Were you raised Catholic or Catholic-lite?” Basically, are you Catholic or Lutheran? And I was raised Lutheran! I was baptized as a baby, confirmed, went to private school, and was raised in this church until 8th grade. But if you had asked me what makes you a Christian, I would have answered by talking about doing good things and going to church. I couldn’t have articulated the Gospel.

High School

Once I went to high school, I went from going to the small private school at my Lutheran church to a public school. From a graduating class of 15 to 250. It was a whole new world. I remember being so naive and shocked at what happened there. I was drifting further and further away from the Lord internally, but externally, I looked like a good, all-American kid.

My freshman year started a quick downward spiral. I didn’t have many friends, my grandpa passed away, and I was bullied in my favorite sport, baseball. I quickly fell into depression and suicidal ideation. The only thing that stopped me was the thought of my parents finding me.

My sophomore year was starting to get better, but I was growing incredibly angry and didn’t have great coping mechanisms. Once I got to senior year, things were much better and I had a group of close-knit friends. But I was putting my value in friendships and sports.

I decided to go to the University of Alabama and got a great scholarship. I truly believe this was the Lord, looking back.

Fast forward to the end of high school, I got into a really unhealthy relationship with a girl. I think this relationship epitomized who I was as a person because I wasn’t a good boyfriend, I wasn’t contributing to it being a healthy relationship. Looking forward to college, my plan was to have as much fun and make as much money as I could. This is what I thought the purpose of my life was supposed to be.


Once I left for college, my girlfriend broke up with me at the beginning of September in my freshman year. Everything didn’t radically change then, but it started the process of me questioning what I was doing and what the purpose of life was.

I was still doing what I set out to do- having a good time and partying. But thankfully, the Lord spared me from a lot.

In late October of my freshman year, I was supposed to be going to a stock-trading club (definitely for resume building) but I couldn’t find an excuse not to go. On the way, I saw someone I met from orientation holding a Bible, and when he told me that he was going to Bible study, I asked to go with him! This is where everything changed. For the first time in my life, I was exposed to the gospel. I also saw people radically change. For the first time, I saw the gospel actually transform someone and make a difference. This was eye-opening.

I became a believer and joined that church. (They let me start serving way too early). This season was one of radical transformation. I (Xan) met Nathaniel in the middle of this season. We ended up going on the same mission trip and talking for four hours the first night. The rest is history!

Marriage & Seminary

I went through a lot of phases (Joel Osteen to Amish to a more middle ground), but college was a season of immense growth. Through my experiences serving in the church and local missionary work, I knew that I was called to ministry. This was affirmed by others in my life.

A calling to ministry is a call to be equipped, so we began to tour seminaries. Once we toured a seminary in NC, we knew that’s where the Lord was calling me. God provided so much- abundant community, a house, a job ministering to college students at the school, and a ministry position as a college pastor at our church.

We ended up getting to a place where we wanted to be planted somewhere else outside of the “greenhouse.” We also wanted to foster. So, we started to consult mentors and people we trusted. Through prayer and their counsel, we decided to move back to Wisconsin to foster and start the next stage of life.


So, this is where we are now! It has been a great season, but it has also had its difficulties. For example, now we don’t have a steady paycheck. We are supporting ourselves and have to trust the Lord and rely on Him. He is pruning us.

We have also started fostering and that has been a journey. It has been so cool and the Lord has constantly affirmed that this is where we are supposed to be. We have a great community and an unimaginably amazing church. This season has also strengthened our marriage.

Mental Health Struggles

Throughout my testimony, one thing I have struggled with off and on is mental health. Sometimes, depression and suicidal ideation have lingered. It doesn’t make you less than or unqualified. It also doesn’t mean that you aren’t trusting the Lord or don’t have faith. So, if this is something you struggle with, please get help. Don’t be ashamed of needing help or medication. Also, throw yourself into deep, honest, vulnerable community. If you seek counseling, seek it from a trusted Christian.

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