Below is a Story of Transformation from Kathy Epp who became a member of FGCC on April 22nd.
My name is Kathy Epp. I was very blessed to grow up in a very strong Christian home. I will never take that for granted. Some of you may know my parents – Norm & Mary Jantzen. My parents were amazing examples of God’s love. I still see my mom’s “Joy in the Lord” every day.
I accepted Jesus into my life at a young age, with my mom kneeling beside me. I was baptized at Nutana MB church as a teenager wanting to follow Jesus.
I had three older brothers. My parents always worried about my brother Rick, as he was always in trouble. I distinctly remember praying as a kid that God would use me, whatever it took, to bring Rick back to Jesus.
After High School, I attended Bethany Bible Institute. This is where I met my husband. We got married and had two girls while living in Saskatoon – Lauren and Michelle. We then moved to Biggar, where we had our third daughter, Alexis.
We were very involved in the church in Biggar with leadership and leading worship through music. But eventually our church life fell apart. We went to home church after that and tried various other churches, but it was difficult to find a new church home.
In the meantime, we invited my brother Rick, who struggled with alcohol and drug addiction to come and stay with us to dry out. He came and lived with us for about a year. He had his ups and downs, but he was able to quit drinking. He got his own little place down the street from me and then was diagnosed with cancer. He was given 4 to 6 months to live, but God graced him with 8 more years. I watched him repair family relationships and have his own special relationship with God. The very thing I had prayed for as a child and for so many years, God answered uniquely. Rick passed away in his home in Biggar two years ago.
Around the same time, my marriage began to crumble. I loved my husband so very much, but it was out of my control. I got on my knees and gave everything to God. This was an extremely difficult couple of years. Years that I have learned to totally rely on Jesus. He gave me and continues to give me peace that passes all understanding. That doesn’t mean there haven’t been a lot of tears. I have learned so much. God doesn’t cause bad things to happen, but He can use these things for good. My hope is that God can use me to help someone else going through hard times.
Last January, my dad became very ill and I made the decision to come and look after him so that he could remain in his home. This was an amazing four months. I watched my dad praising God, even though he was in pain. I got up some nights to see him reading the Psalms aloud with his hands in the air. I watched him ask for communion with his care group as his end was near. This brought new meaning to communion for me. We had long talks about God and love and I learned so much from him. I treasure these memories and miss him.
God has directed me and provided for me every step of the way. I could give you dozens of examples of things He has clearly done for me. As I struggled with feeling unloved, Jesus showed me love through my family, old friendships being renewed and even new friendships. God gave me an amazing new job that I never dreamed of having. I totally give him the glory.
My brother Byron and sister-in-law Rhonda welcomed me into their care group. I know why they call them care groups. Such wonderful, caring people.
My kids are truly amazing! I love them all so much! They have been there for me through all these difficult times, and even though I am far from perfect, I pray that they can see Jesus through me.
We recently lost my nephew as well this year. Our family has been through a lot, but we continue to love and trust God.
My dad really wanted me to attend Forest Grove and now here I am, following God and feeling very much like I belong here.
A few months ago, I again gave everything to God at church. It’s something that I continually need to do. I now want to be part of this church to serve God in whatever way he will direct me. I continue to learn about His love and forgiveness.
A couple of verses that have become very dear to me are:
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'” – Jeremiah 29:11
“She is clothed with strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future.” – Proverbs 31:25