'Living a holy life versus a happy life'
Editor’s note: Second in a series of articles about lives changed through Triad’s first Life Action Summit revival conference.
Two years ago, Connie VanHorn found herself physically and spiritually adrift.
Fleeing an unhealthy relationship, she wound up homeless — living in a hotel with her four children for 10 months — and didn’t know God.
Flash forward to the present where her children attend Triad Baptist Christian Academy, she has a relationship with Jesus Christ, and soon will have a home — all because of Triad Baptist and the people God brought into her life.
“During a visit with Pastor Rob (Decker, Triad’s lead pastor) 18 months ago in his office, I was saved and rescued all in the same day,” VanHorn says. “That one decision changed my life forever.”
Given that kind of turnaround, it might seem that VanHorn now has it all together. But, she says, the Summit meetings helped her realize that wasn’t the case. She had just left the starting line of her life’s race for Christ.
“The first important lesson I learned from those sessions was the difference between living a holy life and a happy life,” VanHorn says. “I had been searching for this new life, this happy life with someone that I thought was promised. But I had it all wrong. God wants our hearts to seek a holy life above all else.”
“If you want to be happy, then seek to be holy and happiness will come as a byproduct. Seek to be like Christ. Seek Him. I truly learned what that meant during the Summit.”
‘Make God look good’
As the meetings continued, VanHorn also realized something else: Through her life’s pain and restoration, God had given her a personal and powerful story to share.
“I learned the importance of glorifying God through our lives: to put God on display, and to make God look good. My heart desired to share God but I didn’t really understand what that meant. It was like a lightbulb went off. It was in that moment that I knew I was going to give my life back to the one who gave His life for me.”
These days, VanHorn can’t tell enough people what God has done in her life. “It’s no longer ‘me’ working for God; it’s now Christ working through me,” she says. “I had to yield to Him. It was like he whispered, ‘Abide in me.’ ”
Readily confessing her own sins at the Summit, VanHorn knew just the person who needed the love of Christ, and the forgiveness and new life offered — the same man who once caused her so much heartache.
Now he has accepted Christ, and is attending Triad.
“The greatest lesson I learned at the Summit was the power of mercy and grace,” she explains. “Steve (Canfield, lead revivalist) talked about the account of Jesus healing the leprous man, and gave me a glimpse through scripture of Jesus’ compassion and love.”
So instead of listening to friends, she saw the person who had hurt her as someone broken and alone and reached out.
“I thought, ‘Maybe I could be hope for this person just as Jesus was to the leper,’ another miracle.
“What an amazing God we serve!”