I first met Aquila after our 101 class and I was blown away by her story. In fact, I’ve been so moved by what God’s done in her life, I shared it during our Christmas services. So many people were helped and encouraged by hearing her story, I wanted to give everyone the opportunity to get the full story from Aquila in her own words:
“I just turned 62 and life hasn’t been easy for me. After enduring multiple back surgeries and other health issues, I’ve lived a good portion of my life with a disability. Eleven years ago my husband passed away. He was always the one who took care of me and losing him was hard. Really hard. After that, I felt as if I was just existing.
Last year, I experienced some more painful family challenges and that’s when the panic attacks started. Coming home I would have no one to talk to, so all of the fears would just consume me. I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere and I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was missing.
I realized that I was alone.
That’s when I knew in my soul that I had to do something. I had been invited to Milestone several times and had driven by the signs, so it popped into my head immediately. But I had tried other churches and just felt lost in the crowd. I thought to myself, “It’s just another big church. You won’t fit in there.” But ultimately I got to the place where I knew it couldn’t get any worse than what I was experiencing…so, why not try it?
From the moment I pulled into the parking lot everyone was so welcoming. The parking team put me in a cart and drove me to the front. As I walked through the doors each person smiled and introduced me to another person so I was never there by myself. They made me feel like royalty. I just knew God had people there in place to help me. It may not seem like the most glamorous place to serve, but if it wasn’t for the people on the parking and greeting team I don’t know where I would be today. I was just so blown away that people I had never met would care about me. After that, I just felt so comfortable.
I knew that I had found a home.
I signed up for 301 and started looking for places to volunteer. I just started serving anywhere and everywhere I could. I wanted to help other people experience the same thing I did. And every time I joined a team I could feel the Lord filling me up more and more. All the loneliness and despair that had defined me was replaced by joy. Being around other Christians helped me to know I don’t have to fight my battles alone.
Because of spiritual family, I went from feeling worthless to finding my purpose.
Now I can just feel my heart overflowing—I finally feel whole.”
Wow. What a powerful story. Thank you, Aquila, for allowing me to share it. When you find your people you find your purpose. Milestone, thank you for continuing to be a place where people like Aquila feel at home. Every time you treat people like Jesus you are an extension of His love to them. I’m amazed every time.