We all have a story to tell! Personal Connection is just one of the ways we share stories here at Circles of Faith. Ordinary women are doing extraordinary things for God. We hope Noelle’s story encourages and inspires others to take that next step toward what God is calling them to do.
In our spotlight is Circles of Faith contributor Noelle Rhodes
Tell us your FAITH story.
My story is not uncommon. I was born and raised in church. I did a lot of “church things” with a lot of nice “church people.” My childhood would not make a very good Lifetime made-for-television movie. It wasn’t perfect, but I was loved.
Perhaps that is why it took me so dang long to realize that I needed “saving” from anything. I wasn’t beaten. I wasn’t drug dealing. I didn’t live in poverty. I went to church and didn’t smoke. So, why did I need Jesus?
I was seventeen years old, before the thought ever occurred to me that I had been calling myself a Christian when in reality, I wasn’t. I was “churched” but my heart had nothing to do with Jesus. Jesus had always loved me. Though I had pretended to know and love Him, I didn’t. He always wanted me and I finally wanted Him too. I wanted His love and I wanted to love Him back. So, I prayed and told Him so.
I thought that if you really want to love Jesus, you ought to go to Bible College. So, I did. The Lord wastes nothing...even our naivete. I went to Bible College in hopes to prove to Jesus that I really did love Him. He turned it into a season of learning how He really loved me; I learned I could never out-love Him. It was there that I met my incredibly kind and good-looking husband. There is some truth to that phrase about Christian colleges, “Ring by spring, or your money back...” Hey, I ain’t complaining. It worked out well for me!
What does LIFE look like for you?
Troy and I fell in love and decided to get married at the ripe age of twenty. Yes, I said, twenty. I heard you gasp. What can I say? When you know, you know. We got hitched and have experienced God’s amazing grace in our marriage. We are celebrating our 10-year anniversary this May 31st! Go ahead! You can applaud. God’s been good.
We have two children. Correction. We have two very loud and adventurous children. Silas is six and Olive Pearl is four. There is a reason why we always keep our cupboards well-stocked with coffee. There is an energy level in our children that must be matched at all times or worldwide chaos could erupt. Coffee helps.
Thankfully our kids keep life interesting. For example, Olive has just entered the room wearing a Spider-Man mask and mermaid costume. She’s announced that she has “won the war! “ You see? It’s never boring in our household...
Our son, Silas, suffers from a severe speech and language disorder. It’s been a heartbreaking journey, but one that has brought us to our knees. Silas is constantly teaching us how to love not just with words but also in truth and action (1 John 3:18).
How does community inspire your life?
We are missionaries! No, I don’t wear long skirts or churn my own butter. Skirts below my knee make me look shorter, but I think churning my own butter would be pretty cool. Usually, when I say, “We are missionaries,” people naturally assume, “In Africa?”
It’s typically disappointing for them when I answer, “No, Northern Ireland.”
Most people think of Ireland as a quiet little island where the leprechauns lead you to pots of gold and where the soda bread flows like wine. Soda bread does flow like wine, but I am sad to report, I have met no leprechauns or found any pots of gold.
Nonetheless, Northern Ireland needs Jesus! Ever heard of “the Troubles,” “Bloody Sunday,” the “IRA,” or the “Protestant/ Catholic conflict”? Yup, that’s the reality of Northern Ireland. It’s a nation torn apart by hatred in the name of religion. I have never had to deal with malaria, but I have experienced bomb scares, paramilitaries, and riots. I have learned quickly that hatred is just as deadly as poverty...
Where and how does the above all come together for you?
Some people run to clear their heads. I write. When my heart is heavy for my son ...when I am struggling as missionary in a foreign land...when God speaks to me clearly through His word, I just have to get it out. So, that’s why I write. It’s a way for me to make sense of this adventure. Just maybe, I can help someone else make sense of their adventure too.