Written by Heidi on the occasion of her election to serve as a Deacon beginning in August 2011
Good morning. I am Heidi Yost. I was not raised in the church. I became a Christian and was baptized when I was 15 years old. I felt like I was behind everyone else around me, but now realize that I was right on time. Jesus has been in my life and with me the whole time, but it was at 15 that I recognized my need to acknowledge Him and desire to walk with my Creator, God.
Jesus said to love God and to love your neighbor as you love yourself. To acknowledge exactly where I am, and embrace exactly who I am, goes hand in hand with loving myself. Right now in my life that is easy for me. There are some joys that I am so proud of and happy to share; foremost is my daughter Emma—who amazes, encourages and challenges me every day. I am honored to have served as a missionary throughout Kentucky, New York, Washington DC, Israel, Kosovo and Macedonia. I am most fortunate to claim immense pleasure in my work as Executive Director taking care of elderly indigent women whom I serve as a patient advocate.
Life doesn’t always go like this [upward trajectory motion with hand] and anyone who says it does or should is terribly misguided. We don’t just share the comfortable parts of Jesus’ story. I have heard such moving testimonies recently that give me great courage to share the pain I am called to share today. Some members were brave enough to share with great honesty and vulnerability. I draw inspiration today from Michael French, Stephen Davis, Bojangles, David Stillwell and Rosemary Phelps Cary. Thank you.
God always acknowledges where I am and who I am during my entire life, not just the happy times–as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, of divorce, of six months of unemployment after a downsizing and during the illness and death of my beloved father. Thank God that Highland is a church made up of members where masks are not required nor expected, and that no one here demands I be somewhere I am not or someone who I am not. I am genuine. I am real and I invite you to be.
As your Deacon, I covenant to stand with you whatever life brings for the next three years acknowledging where you are and embracing who you are today, my 50th birthday.