With her mind spinning and fear pulsing through her veins, Sam Lee cried out to God for help that day as she sat alone in desperation two and a half years ago. She was living with her boyfriend and stuck in a toxic relationship and knew she had to get out. After years of attempts but no follow through, she could take no more. She feared losing her daughter but knew she couldn’t raise her in the unhealthy environment they were in.
In that moment, like a faint whisper, she felt the words, “Go to Mankato, Minnesota.” She had no idea where Mankato was on a map but remembered that her dad and brother lived in Minnesota. Little did she know, Mankato was the very town they lived in. From Texas, she called her dad and they began to make plans. Shortly after, her brother was on his way to pick up their things and move Sam and her daughter north.
Though, she fearfully packed in secret, she knew she couldn’t turn back. As her boyfriend unsuspectingly left the house that day, they planned to depart while he thought she was at work. With as many things as she was able to carry out, she fled and never looked back.
After being on the road for hours, she recalls, “It wasn’t until we were in Kansas City that I calmed down.”
That day was a turning point for Sam Lee and her young daughter, who was just three years old at the time. It was a day of new beginnings and it set their feet on a new course. As they drove highway 35 heading north, she didn’t know what Minnesota held for them. However, because of that faint whisper, she knew that was where they needed to be. Sam was twenty when she reached Mankato. She was a single mom and was unsure of her next steps.
She recalls, “It was a Tuesday when we arrived.” The next day, the two of them walked into New Creation World Outreach Church for the first time.
“How did you hear about New Creation?” we asked. It was her dad and brother who recommended it to her. They said, “Sam Lee, we found this church. This is your church. You have to check it out!” They had been attending and knew she would love it.
At that point in her life, Sam Lee wouldn’t have said she had a relationship with God. “I was living in sin,” she stated. Growing up, she attended church regularly; but, to her, it was something you did as a good person. “It wasn’t until I found New Creation that I realized I could have an actual relationship with God.” From that Wednesday night on, she kept coming back whenever the doors were open. She continued to attend weekly services at New Creation. Little did those around her know, she still felt depressed; she still felt lost.
She was still carrying around the baggage from her past season.
During that time, the only thing keeping her going was feeling that she needed to “be strong for Moo Moo” (her daughter’s nickname). She shared, “Things looked good on the outside, but everything on the inside was still screaming for help.”
But then, a year and a half after they arrived in Minnesota, everything shifted.
You see, for Sam Lee, 2016 was a year of giving God whatever was left but not fully surrendering her best. When 2017 came around, standing in a First Fruits service on a Sunday morning, she decided she wanted to give God her best. She came to an inner resolve that she was no longer going to hold anything back. In every area, she was going to be all in.
She started tithing and doors opened for her to purchase a home. There was even enough left that she was able to fix up their home before moving in! Opportunities arose for her to begin serving throughout the church and she jumped in — giving of her time. She started serving with kids ministry and attending God Speaks (a once a month class with hands on training in how to hear the voice of God in your everyday life); she was hungry to learn everything she could about God. Slowly, as she threw herself into giving God her all, the baggage from her past season started to break off her.
The depression left and joy came.
The heaviness left. She felt whole for the first time in years.
The year 2017 was one of transformation. A year of giving God everything. Now, there’s no going back. With the beautiful fellowship of believers, God is teaching her to love herself. “I used to not be proud of who I was,” she shared, remembering the shame she felt, “but now I know that I needed to be that person in order to be who I am today. I have His peace and His joy over me and no one can take that away from me.”
Currently, Sam Lee serves as the leader of Chosen, out single mom’s ministry, a gathering of single moms every other week for the purpose of giving encouragement, releasing hope, granting strength, and conveying vision. She has a heart to see single mom’s walk in freedom and be all God created them to be.
“I feel unstoppable,” says Sam Lee, “it’s all God.”
Maybe, you’re like Sam Lee. You have grown up in the church but never realized you could have relationship with the same God that’s talked about every Sunday morning. Don’t let today pass you by without asking God to show you Himself. He desires to walk through every day with you, to show you His goodness, to strengthen you in hardships, to fill your heart with love, and to give you courage. Maybe, like Sam, you are holding back from God. Make a choice today to give God your best. Wait for Him to surprise you in the ways He reveals to you that He’s more than enough.