Dreamer. Believer. Advocate. Passionate Do-er.
I want to start this description with a job title…desperately. But instead I’m acknowledging that I don’t need that anymore. As you get to know me, you’ll understand why that’s hard for me. I’m Marisa Stam. I do a ton of stuff but it isn’t who I am.
I am a woman who is filled with ideas, passions, doubt, fear and love. The love is not my own. It’s a total gift from God that I didn’t accept until 2008. And I thank him for it everyday…especially the days when I turn away from it to realize He’s still there anyway.
Growing up an only child, I’ve always loved books and meeting new people. There’s so much power and beauty in our stories…even the most brutal and broken ones. But in my oneness, I also thought I had to earn my position, that I had to go it alone and work my way into the world, even earn acceptance and love.
I have an amazing husband, Aaron, and two incredible kiddos, Lucas and Lily. Our life is blessed and a mess. I’m learning that in the messiness is often where we see the blessings.
So I grew up, went to college and got a degree in Communications/Journalism. My plan was to become a foreign correspondent. Then life happened. Aaron and I fell in love, got married and landed in Iowa. My first career was with Target Corporation which evolved quickly and took us to Minneapolis. Life got very complicated and in 2002 we needed to start over. After a near divorce, we chucked it all (no kids yet) and moved into my mom’s cottage in Kennebunk, Maine.
It took more than a change in geography to mend our brokenness but we were willing and beauty grew from those ashes. In 2004, Lucas Chet was born followed, a short 16 months later, by Lillian Mackenzie. I was working as a store manager for Starbucks and our life was great. But something was missing. I got involved in global poverty issues and the world water crisis.
Long story short, I ended up on a plane to Ethiopia in 2008. I couldn’t articulate why I was going and Aaron didn’t understand it either. We had two small kids at home and I was leaving all of them for two weeks. But on the ground in Ethiopia, I had an encounter with God. He shook me awake and nothing has ever been the same.
We didn’t go to church. Actually, we never really dealt with faith. My husband grew up Protestant and I grew up Catholic but my family left the church before my confirmation in 8th grade. I always believed in God but I didn’t really get it. I knew Jesus was God’s son but I didn’t know him. There was no relationship.
Because of a friend’s invitation, we were plugged into a church by the end of that year. I got baptized in 2009 and ended up as the Director of Outreach and Development for Curtis Lake Church in April of 2010. There was absolutely no reason short of God that I should have held that position. But that’s where God rocks because he didn’t need me to know. He just needed me to be willing.
And now, we’re in Florida. Yeah, Lake Placid, FL. God moved us here. It’s the only way to explain it. He opened great doors for Aaron with a fascinating new job. We both knew it was God calling us to new things. So we sold our house (before it even listed…for real), packed up our family and left everything we’ve known for the last 11 years.
I’m not currently earning a paycheck. It’s a total gift but not one I’ve accepted gracefully. To be honest, I’ve been pretty ugly about it. But just as I didn’t know what I was doing at the church, I REALLY don’t know what I’m doing at home. But this is exactly where he wants me in this season. I’m learning more about myself and my God. I’m learning to listen to my husband, REALLY listen. I’m learning to be present for my children. I’m learning how to say no and be still (totally working on this and failing regularly). And I’m learning that I’m enough. It’s not about what I do but rather who I am in Christ. It’s humbling and hard but it’s worth it.
You get to travel down this road with me. Did I mention that I totally love Jesus? Yeah, it’s true. He rocks. I don’t have to go it alone anymore. He’s there. He’s teaching me. He’s carrying me. And he has a plan for me. I can’t see it. I don’t get it. But I’m willing to wait on him and be obedient when he calls.
That’s why this blog exists. He put this passion in me a long time ago (like 20 years go). Now it’s time to tap it. Just warning you, it could be bad. I will likely ramble and say things you don’t like. But it will always be honest. Thanks for giving it a shot. And I would love to know your story too. This whole thing isn’t about me. It’s about all of us.
God created each of us ON PURPOSE. Let’s walk through this life together with our eyes on Jesus. If you’re not ready to focus on Jesus, it’s totally okay. I wasn’t either for a really long time. But the more you get to know him (NOT religion) the more you might come to love him and accept his love in return.
Here we go…