“When I was 16, a lot of things changed,” said Rachel Fagan. “I was raised in a Christian household and surrounded by a family who believed in Christ, but my faith was not my own. I enjoyed the independence and freedom in high school, but that came with more temptation as well. Because my faith was not my own, it wasn’t the driving force in my life. I fell into the temptations of drinking, partying, and running around with people who were also lost. We were looking for our identities in anything other than Christ. That caused problems between me and my mom, and I eventually moved to Dallas to live with my dad.
“Moving and having the guidance of my dad and stepmom gave me more structure in what could have become an even more tumultuous season. At the same time, I thought I found the security and safety I was looking for in a high school relationship. My boyfriend and I then dated through college and ended up getting married when we were 22.
“A few years into our marriage, I was ready to find a church home, but, along with many other issues, my husband and I weren’t on the same page. There was a lot of conflict and tension that we didn’t discuss together. At one point he made the comment that we were living like roommates, but I denied it and acted like everything was fine. Instead of having vulnerable, direct conversations with my husband, I felt like it was on me to fix our marriage. I thought it was all my fault. Through that season, he had an affair with another woman, and eventually moved out of our house.
“That was the lowest point of my life. The night he left, I remember being in the kitchen, putting dishes away, trying to stay busy to avoid the pain of my life crumbling, but then praying the first real prayer I’d ever prayed. I said, ‘Lord, if I’m going to have to rebuild, I want to build my life on Your Truth.’ The things I learned about God growing up started flowing back, and that night, I decided to find out if God truly was trustworthy. I was ready to surrender to the God I’d known about my entire life.
“That’s when my walk with Jesus really started. It was a lonely time because I had isolated myself from my friends and family, but I was finally able to open up and share what was going on. My stepmom encouraged me to go back to church. She went to Bible study with me. She prayed with me, cried with me, and encouraged me to fight for my marriage.
“I prayed for the Lord to heal our marriage and to change my heart. I asked Him to convict my heart and help me be a good wife. When my husband eventually said he was ready for a divorce, I was heartbroken but felt a sense of peace at the same time. I trusted that the Lord was carrying me (1 Peter 5:10).
“I prayed every day that my husband would change his mind, even after he filed for divorce. My trust in the Lord increased. When the court date came, and the papers were signed, there was bone-aching sorrow, pain, and grief, but I found new security in knowing the Lord would not just leave me (Psalm 23).
“Realizing I had this new life in Christ, I decided to be baptized along with my stepmom and sister. It was my sister who introduced me to The Porch. I wanted to be in a healthy body of believers with people in my life stage, so I moved to Dallas and joined a community group. I am so grateful for these women who are so faithful in serving our church body and sharpening each other each week. We submit to one another in biblical counsel and have each allowed ourselves to be molded more in the image of Christ, spurring one another on (Hebrews 10:24).
“Often, we want to look back and track the seasons of our lives. Cherish the good memories and filter out the bad ones. Right now, I’m not labeling this season. I look forward to a joyful life of sanctification, seeing more Jesus and less sin in me each year. My identity is beloved, rescued, daughter of the King. I am walking with God; I belong to Him. I am just trusting the Lord with each day and trying to be a good steward of the time and resources He provides (Proverbs 5:3-8). I want to be available to everyone and everything that needs my attention for His Kingdom.
“When I tell my story, I want the Lord to be glorified. The goodness in my life is not the result of my best efforts; it is all the Lord. Clearly, everything I’ve done of my own accord has led to death, destruction, heartbreak, and hurt. Every time I’ve surrendered to the Lord with humility and trust, there has been peace.
“I’ve always been such a people pleaser and wanted others to love me. Before I had a relationship with Christ, I did things to be loved and cared for. Now, I do things because I am loved, cared for, saved, and forgiven by Christ. Who I am may look the same to other people, but because I have received an abundance of every good thing I need in Christ, (2 Corinthians 9:8) I am now able to love others freely and be fully seen and known in my relationships.”