I always knew I wanted to change the world around me and help people experience true transformation. As a teen and young adult, I equated that with psychology and counseling, so I earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in marriage, family, and child counseling. However, after a few years in a group practice, I wondered if the path I was on was headed to where I really wanted to go. Where was the transformation power I longed to see? What did it mean in the Bible that Holy Spirit was called the Counselor? And then there were other questions…like where were the people today who looked like the people in the book of Acts? They clearly experienced transformation and changed the world! Something deep down on the inside of me knew there must be more!

During this time of questioning, my husband, Jon, and I had our first son, Riley. We had been working with the youth in our church and I was offered the youth pastor position. What a powerful time that was! The youth were so hungry for the Lord and we devoured the Word together as faith and miracles broke out. I’ll be forever grateful to those special teenagers (who are now in their 30’s!) who decided to let God define Himself and His ways through His Word and let Holy Spirit pour Himself out on us!

Those times weren’t without persecution, however. And I’m so thankful for it! If Jesus learned obedience through suffering, why do we think we will be any different? One of God’s highest values is overcoming—and once you embrace that, the trials of life look a lot different. During this season, we had our second son, Joel, and I transitioned to being a stay-at-home mom as we realized our youth ministry assignment was completed.

The opportunity to be at home full-time allowed me the time for deep dives into the word of God. As I devoured His word, God and I settled something that summer of 2001. I was called to be different, to be a part of a people who would not be satisfied with either the cultural or religious status quo. True fulfillment in life is knowing God as He truly is, the way He defines Himself, and moving with Him to accomplish His purposes on the earth.

Pain is inevitable. Transformation is not only possible, it’s His desire for you! It’s inherent in knowing God, walking with Him, and moving by His Spirit. Do you desire to know God intimately for yourself? Do you hunger to hear His voice and watch Him move? I’m passionate about helping people encounter God as He truly is and cross over into the life He died to give them, that the whole world would change as each transformed one knows and experiences His goodness!

Kerri Shepard is a teacher, speaker, reconciler, and mentor with over 25 years’ experience in ministry. She is a licensed and ordained minister and lives in the Fort Worth area with her husband, Jon. Kerri and Jon have two young adult sons: Riley and Joel.