“Set me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm; for love is strong as death; jealousy as cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which has a most vehement flame.” - Song of Solomon 8:6
When I went to a conference at Bethel in Redding, California back in February of 2017, I had all the feels. I had heard of so many friends and acquaintances who had come to this place and been forever changed in their relationship with God. I was looking for the MORE, whatever that was—I was looking for that MORE to happen to me. I just didn’t know how much it would. As I was walking down the hallway, looking for the registration room to check in and get my information and goodie bag, a guy who looked very familiar was walking my way. I looked closer and it was a guy I knew from here in Colorado named Ben. He was a Young Life high school student involved in our area when Erin and I were on staff back in 2004. His eyes lit up with recognition and I said, “Hey! Ben!!! How are you? What are you doing here??!!” We exchanged brief updates on life since it had been ten plus years since we’d last seen each other. Before we parted ways, he said, “Adge, can I pray for you? I just see that God is going to leave a mark on your heart this weekend. You’re going to be forever changed by what takes place these next few days. This is gonna mark you.”
He was so right. I was marked. That time at Bethel served as a diving board for me, an opportunity to jump into the deep end. When I look through the many chapters of my life since leaving full time ministry on Young Life staff, I can see myself questioning my purpose and feeling totally lost at sea. I can see the season of silence and shallowness I had been wading in when it came to my relationship with God. My friend, Cor, reached out and said, “Adge, you are so hungry. You should come out for a conference at Bethel and stay with us.” When she said this, it was like my spirit caught a new life-giving current, like something almost tangible, was set into motion. I can so clearly see where He beckoned me to jump in and immerse myself in a new depth of understanding who He is and discovering that a deep trench of encounter with Him is always available.
I’ve been thinking a lot about those moments that have marked me. Moments where I knew not only with my head and my heart, but with every fiber of my being that this Great I Am exists. Every double helix of DNA was lit up with the full guttural deep confidence that God is real. He’s been involved all along. Not just every few months or years, but every single day. God is absolutely in every aspect of my daily life. He’s there when I hear nine-month-old Bodie talking in his crib in the morning and I scoop my baby up, all warm and heavenly from a good night’s sleep. He is there when I’m laying hands on my sleeping bigs, touching Finn’s dirty blond head and Evie’s deep brown head of hair and praying “God, please help me to know how to mother these little people.” He is on my mind when I rise and when I rest. Ever present, ever active, and constantly carving a new creation. That’s His offer to all of us.
Here are a few glimpses into significant moments that have marked me.
When I was a skinny, long brown-haired, teeth-full-of-braces girl at the age of 14, I met Jesus at my favorite Young Life camp, Castaway Club, in Minnesota. I heard the Gospel message in its entirety for the first time and, during the last night of camp lying on my bottom bunk bed in Ebb cabin, I made a decision, “God, I want you in my life.” When I prayed that prayer, I felt a liquid warmth fill my entire body, from the tips of my toes to the crown of my head. It was a gradual feeling, not one that was brief and easy to miss. It was like every part of me was now part of the Kingdom of Light and that light was creating heat. That’s a moment that I can’t make up. That feeling years ago was as real and physical as the heat generated by my pounding heart whenever I’m hiking on a trail up a 14,000+ ft Colorado Mountaintop.
Another moment was when I was working as a camp nurse at a different Young Life camp, Snow Wolf Lodge. On my day off, I drove up a dirt road towards Pagosa Peak and sat in my crazy creek camping chair and just discussed my current life situation with the Lord. “God, camp ends in a mere few weeks and I have no idea what I’m going to do. No idea where I’m going to go. No plan.” I heard a loud voice echoing in my ears, “Stay.” It wasn’t my thought and no one else was around who could have said it. It was the voice of a God who cared enough to speak to a 21-year-old college grad who didn’t know what to do next. At this point, I had no job, no plan, and no place I had to be. I had just broken up with a guy I had dated for over a year. I had a blank canvas for what I could do with my life. I needed to hear a voice I could trust. He came in close and gave me grounding—a first step to place both feet on. Things got real. “Stay” meant to stay in Colorado. By staying, Colorado became home and the place where I’ve fallen in love, gotten married, pursued my dreams, and became a mother to three little Hales.
Bodie, my nine-month-old, birthed another marking experience. At 35 weeks, my water broke and since he was breech, I opted for a c-section. I was put under general anesthesia when my spinal didn’t take and was pretty out of it the first several hours after my delivery. Bodie was taken to the NICU because he was a preemie and needed some respiratory support. After allowing me to rest and recover for a few hours, visit Bodie in the NICU, then rest and recover some more, I woke up with more clarity, less fuzzy headed from my pain medicine. Erin and I talked about what had happened. I had wondered, What was it like for him to be in the operating room, watching amazing physicians open me up to bring forth this precious miracle baby? What was it like to see me asleep while our baby came into this world in an unexpected way? Erin shared that my OB said to him during my C-section, “Erin, I don’t know how else to explain this other than I know you have great faith, but Adrienne’s uterus looks absolutely perfect. There is no scar tissue. You two could even go on to have more kids.” As I type this, warm tears are welling in my eyes because of the significance. Bodie’s birth was my very own Lazarus story. Asherman’s syndrome had felt like death had gripped a part of my body for the past five years. God smiled and waited. Waited to resurrect an entire reproductive organ that I deemed a barren wasteland. I’m convinced He purposely healed me in secret, without a physical feeling of healing taking place. He wanted me to be surprised, even after getting pregnant and carrying Bodie so far because He is just that damn good! What looked like complications—Bodie’s breech position and the C-section—actually served as a window of sight to the breakthrough in my uterus.* I just wouldn’t know His full power and holy secret until Bodie’s life was brought through layers of my body and through a small incision on my lower abdomen. God marked me with a healthy pregnancy that was never supposed to be possible, marked me with the delivery of a healthy baby boy and THEN He marked me with the testimony of His healing to an entire kick-ass Labor & Delivery team in the operating room late at night on June 4, 2018. My husband was present for all of it. What I felt had been permanently marked for death was permanently marked and healed for life.
What are the moments of your life that feel marked? Where has God marked you to know Him on a deeper, more holy, and more intimate level? At what moments has He reminded you that He is just that good, that close, that physical, that demonstrative, that miraculous, that intentional with His words? My hope is that in reading my stories, you’ll be taken to your own places and spaces where He has helped you place a stake in the ground for His goodness and presence. Our history is so important, Friends. It’s what I remember when I have moments of pain and doubt and need to be reminded that He is so, so good. Take some time to look back at your story today. And get ready to hear him whisper into your heart, “I’m gonna mark you.”
Colorado Springs, CO
Adge is an adventurer by heart, climbing 14ers (mountains over 14,000 ft high) and simply being in the wilderness refills her cup. She married a man who shares that passion with her, Erin, and together they have three children, Everleigh, Finnley, and Bodie. Adge has a huge heart for women. She works as a labor & delivery nurse, loves one-on-one conversations, and lattes with intricate foam designs!