Today, Ana speaks to us about a great book with a video series, her incredible story and how God was sovereign throughout and finding purpose.
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: My beginning looks a bit different than most. When I was only 9 months old, my birth mom left me in her abandoned apartment. I went three full days without food, water, or any other basic necessity that a baby requires for survival. By the grace of God, I was able to live without those basic necessities for that period of time and was found by the local authorities and placed in an orphanage. I was in an orphanage until the age of two which I fully believe had a life-long effect on who I would become throughout my life. Then, at that age of two my soon-to-be forever parents flew multiple times, spent money on traveling and paperwork, invested time, and then eventually brought me home. As an international adoptee, I grew up feeling loved by my family and was blessed with a great childhood, but I often feel homesick about something I once knew. The beauty of the brokenness came together to make a life restored from the ashes. The only explanation for my story is God’s sovereignty.
“The beauty of the brokenness came together to make a life restored from the ashes. The only explanation for my story is God’s sovereignty.”
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: Any writings of Paul have been the most intriguing reads that have proven to encourage my spirit. He was a sinner, just like me, but God used him to impact the church and many believers. I only hope and pray that God would use me as a vessel for His goodness and love. Another point to consider is that as the world continues to bring persecution, therefore leaning into the writings of Paul’s letters to the churches can be our encouragement through trials.
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: Every year since freshman year of high school, I have set aside a “word of the year”. This year’s word is “intentional”. The purest definition that I am going by is, “To be intentional means to act with purpose on your intentions”. For me, this means setting aside time to be in tune with His Word, have time for pure worship, and pray to God as a friend or father so that I am growing to trust the Lord with my life. The beauty of doing this has been that I have experienced God’s goodness, zeal, and unwavering commitment to his children. Not only has God revealed Himself to me, but I have seen my friends and family members grow closer to our Savior as well.
Profession/Mission: My purpose in life is to know God and to make Him known. I believe every person has an influence on others, so we should take it seriously. Sharing the gospel doesn’t have to be the traditional “do you know Jesus?” conversation. Some people may come to know God, simply, by observing your life and the light of Christ you carry. It may also look like going out of your way to lift someone’s spirits. That could look like buying a family in need of groceries or assisting and walking alongside a mother who is going through an unplanned pregnancy. There are many ways to use the tools God has equipped us with to further His kingdom right where we live.
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? “None of Me, & All of Him” – I have come to be so fulfilled by the work that God has been doing through my life and those of many of my closest friends and family. I would write about how everyone can become a true and humble servant to Christ who gave everything for us. It doesn’t take someone great, and Christ even shows us this throughout the Biblical text – He came for all people.
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? Like many, I was blessed enough to grow up in a Christian household, I became aware of Jesus from a very early age. But, I do not think I truly encountered my Savior in such a personal way as I did when I was 14. I had been attending a weekend, church retreat in the coldest month of the year, January. The name of the retreat was Venture, and I can even remember the speaker chosen for us that year, Shane Pruitt. He had just given his testimony of how God took his mess, sin nature, and brokenness and turned it into a life that was worthy of forgiveness, help, and guidance. I had always needed to fit a certain persona of following Christ because it reflected a good image on the outside but on the inside, the enemy had completely demolished my sense of purpose, will to be more than a sinner, and identity. I was purposeless without my Savior, and I know our world is too. We look around and see such darkness and hopelessness, but the only answer to the anxiety, depression, worry, fear, trust issues, and anything else is Jesus. He died on the cross, carried our burden of sin, and put it to death. But, the good news is because He is alive – we are alive. Our sin, debt, guilt, shame – it is gone and there is nothing that can bring it back to life. That is the good news that saved me and that is the same good news that can save you too.
“I was purposeless without my Savior, and I know our world is too. We look around and see such darkness and hopelessness, but the only answer to the anxiety, depression, worry, fear, trust issues, and anything else is Jesus.”
How would you describe Jesus? I would describe Jesus as a brother. Technically, if God is our father and we are his children. Then, Jesus being God’s Son is our brother. It is beautiful to think about having a spiritual family that hears you, protects you, and instructs you. It is comforting to me.
What has been the darkest time in your life, and how did you see God in it? I think the darkest time of my life occurred when I was going through a phase where I was internally grieved. I built up barriers that would eventually flood over with emotion that I was left in ultimate despair. But, I remember feeling that even though I was too scared to share anything that I was experiencing, I wanted to write those days and experiences down. So, at the top of my closet, I have a box full of letters I had written. Now, I can look back and smile at the light that God was sitting there shining in my valley. I am reminded when I listen to “Hills & Valleys” by Tauren Wells, that the valleys come more often than the hills in some seasons of life. Those can be hard, so hard. But, I knew that there was no giving up or giving in because I still had someone who cared – my Lord.
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): I was introduced to an app called “Libby” by my cousin. The app features a place where you can digitally connect to your local library and check out books to either read off a device or the availability to listen is there as well. One of the most impactful reads for me this summer was Don’t Give The Enemy A Seat At Your Table by Louie Giglio. The book is divided into Bible study sections that lead the reader through the personal struggles of anger, depression, anxiety, fear, and so many more. Then the author turns those feelings on their heads and shows God’s response of faithfulness to each and every one of those emotions. The cool part is that Louie Giglio has done a video series that follows along with the reading of the book.
Hobby: I am an avid puzzler. I have done images of Paris bakeries, BBQ labels, Vatican churches, and steeples. All have grown my patience and have given me the opportunity to take a moment and tune out the world while I focus on an artistically designed masterpiece that is mine to put together. I also love to read, both fiction and non-fiction. This summer I have completed over 15 mystery and thriller novels as well as 5 Biblical, spiritual reads. I am huge about historical writings and documents and believe that they give special insight into our nation’s founding principles.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong: Tune out the noise. Follow God with faith. Find community.
Favorite person in scripture? The person that has inspired me the most has been Moses. I am the host and writer of a podcast called “TheWakeUpConservative” and I was just like Moses when God called him to rescue the Israelites from Egypt. I was scared, unsure, and lacked confidence. But just like God always does, He built up Moses and He also strengthened my voice as well. I love that I can have an image of a plan but God is the one who comes behind me and makes it possible.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? I am such a questioner, so I will be praising God but also constantly asking Him questions when I get to heaven. Oh, what a sweet day that will be… We will finally get to rest at the feet of Jesus, and all our tears will be wiped away (Revelation 21:4). But, I don’t even remember when I began to start to question everything but that intuition was always in full swing. And, don’t get me wrong, I am not questioning God’s sovereignty or the Biblical text. I am more questioning on the lines of how the world and our sin nature have attempted to taint His goodness.
Thing you want to raise awareness about: There are quite a few but the two issues that I am most vocal about are the sanctity of life and human trafficking. Both go hand-in-hand with one another. It breaks my heart to know that Planned Parenthood intentionally shields traffickers from justice. You can read about it more, here.
But the depravity of both the sex trafficking that happens worldwide and the abortion industry are some of the most gruesome, trauma-inducing places and stories you will ever hear. I want to live a life that is honoring to God and I fully believe He personally grieves with each of these instances and is with anyone who has experienced such pain and devastation. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org if you ever need prayer or just someone to listen.
What is on your nightstand? I really love this question because I have two things on my nightstand. A record player that looks like white crocodile skin and an essential oil diffuser. Both of these items bring me immense joy and serenity. The record player I use for many occasions but my favorite time to use it is in the morning when I first wake up and I need to get some pep in my step. I will put on Beach Boys or Lauren Daigle and my mood instantly changes. But then, when my essential oil diffuser is going, I neurologically am calm because of a lavender or bergamot scent that is engulfing the entire room. I think that went deeper than it needed to, but now you know a little piece of my morning!
Define Christianity in a sentence: Love God, love others.
I have a worship playlist that has been so fulfilling, you can listen here:
For more Ana:
- Instagram/Twitter: @thewakeupconservative
- Podcast: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor, etc. (GY Note: Listen to Ana’s podcast where I was a guest and spoke about Personal Excellence and MW, here.)
- How to get in touch with Ana: email – @email@example.com
Until next time, keep witnessing!