By Luanne Pierce
Stonecroft Freelance Writer

Ahwatukee, AZ—Petra S. had a relatively comfortable life until leukemia claimed her young husband. The memories of better times eventually overwhelmed her, and Petra decided to get as far away from her familiar past as possible. She and her five-year-old daughter left home and settled in Arizona, alone and friendless.

But then someone with a heart for God stepped into the picture. She immediately caught Petra’s attention because they shared the same first name. In addition, they both had experienced loss, but Petra quickly saw that her new friend, Petra M., also had the hope and joy that come from God.

“Petra M. patiently began contacting me and invited me to have a personal relationship with Christ.” She also offered invitations to Stonecroft Bible studies and church. It took some time, but “through Stonecroft ministries and through Petra M., I learned to build a personal relationship with Christ,” says Petra S.

Furthermore, she started to acknowledge God’s control in her everyday life. “No longer did I live in the past, and I stopped worrying about the future. I began to live in the present.” It helped Petra to remember that God calls Himself “I Am” not “I Was” or “I Will Be.” He is the God of the present, and she learned to trust him day by day. “I don’t have to go back to the past,” Petra says. “Those experiences are part of you; these pieces make you, but you don’t have to dwell on things you can’t change.”

Petra clings to the promise of Philippians 4:6-7: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand” (NLT). His peace fills Petra’s heart and mind as she goes to Him in prayer. “It became second nature to pray wherever and whenever,” she says.

With God’s love and wisdom, Petra raised her daughter to follow Him. At the same time, Petra pursued an education and now holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership. She hasn’t decided how to use her degree, but she desires to serve God not just in the future, but also in the present.

This article orginally appeared in the May 2014 issue of 2orMore.