I was born and raised in Texas (and have the southern twang to prove it!). My family is the most incredible family anyone could ask for. My two brothers are older than me—James is five years older and Josh is eight years older—so there were many times I felt like an only child. And since I’m the only girl, I might have been a little more “blessed” than my brothers. (Yes, some might use the word “spoiled” to describe me, but I prefer to say I am “super-blessed”!) I have the most amazing parents who have always taught me who God is and loved me unconditionally through every situation I’ve faced.
I was nine years old when my parents planted Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas. My dad sat me down and told me I would no longer be going to my school, because we were moving and he was starting a church. At the time, it didn’t make a lot of sense to me. Why did he want to plant a church when we were already attending a great church? And why would I go to a different school when I was already going to a school I loved? I didn’t understand what was happening. But I love change, so I decided to jump on board (not that I had a lot of options!).
Not long after Gateway started, I began believing lies from the Enemy about my family. I believed my parents had chosen the church over me and that I was no longer “Daddy’s little girl” … the church had taken that place in my dad’s heart. Not knowing how to combat a lie with a truth, I began sinking in the quicksand of the Enemy’s lies. The more I thought about the lies, the more I believed them. Before I knew it, I was mad at the church, I was mad at my family, and I was really mad at the world. Feeling alone and empty, I began pursuing love in all the wrong places. Sometimes it was materialistic things like the latest purse or phone, but mostly, I started pursuing boys … and letting boys pursue me.
I became a fake, a tease and a hard-hearted young girl who wasn’t going to allow myself to get hurt. Before long, I was lying to my parents, my close friends and my teachers. My whole life became a lie. Then, I started dating a guy behind my parent’s back. I was looking to him for love and to fill the void in my heart. It wasn’t long before I was in a downward spiral as I tried to keep up with my lies and live a double life.
Then one night, I hit rock bottom. I couldn’t take it anymore. I no longer knew who I was. I didn’t know what I was doing. I was fearful and mad at where I was in life.
In a moment that would forever change my life, I laid down on the garage floor and cried out, “Lord, if You want me, You can have me! I’ll do whatever You want me to do. But God, if You don’t want me, then please kill me tonight, so I don’t have to go one more day not serving You.” Later that night, I had a near death experience, and I heard the Lord say, “I WANT YOU. YOU ARE MINE!” That night, I surrendered my will to the King of Kings, and I became forever His!
The next night, I went to dinner with a couple who are close family friends. Ashamed of who I’d become, I lied to them about the way I’d been living. At one point, the husband leaned in and said, “Elaine, about 10 years ago (when Gateway started and I began to grow angry and bitter), the Lord showed me a picture of you. You were surrounded by darkness, and you cried out, “Lord, if You want me, You can have me! I’ll do whatever You want me to do. But God, if You don’t want me, then please kill me tonight, so I don’t have to go one more day not serving You.” Right there, in the middle of the restaurant, I broke down crying. Once again, I heard the Lord say to me, “I WANT YOU. YOU ARE MINE!” Over the next hour, I opened up and told the couple about my past and asked them to help me get out of the life I’d created. They encouraged me talk to my parents, and showed me how to get freedom and healing. They showed me how to find God in a whole new way.
That started a journey that lasted several months and led me to where I am today. For the first two months, I even stopped carrying a cell phone! And when I finally did get one, only my family had my number. I also began meeting every day with different godly women I wanted to be like, because I had always heard you become like whoever you hang out with.
A number of months later, I met Ethan, the love of my life. Heavily supervised by my parents, we courted for several months. During that time, the Lord restored my purity. Ethan was so respectful of me … He even waited to kiss me until the day he proposed!
I married my sweetheart in June of 2010. Ethan is a dream come true! He is everything and more that I prayed for. Ethan is the glue that keeps me together … he’s really the one who makes me look good. Ethan currently works at Gateway Church as the Young Adults Pastor. Ethan has a true pastor’s heart and is passionate about building community. He is one of the strongest, kindest men I know. He genuinely cares about people. I am head over heels in love with him and am so grateful he asked me to spend the rest of my life with him!
Since fully surrendering my life to God, not only did I meet my best friend and husband, but I also began to step into my destiny. I started by leading a small group and serving in any way I could at the church. Now, I stay busy at home with my 3 children 3 and under. Adde was born on August 5, 2013, Kate in March of 2015 and our newest member Preston was born on August 6, 2016. And traveling to churches all over sharing my story and God's word. I absolutely love this journey I am on and invite you to join me via social media or my blog!
My mission is to make John 1:1 come alive to people so they know the Word of God, they understand it and they walk it out in their lives.
My vision is to teach people how to make a “God-impression” on the world around them by fully embracing His purpose for them with courage and humility.