Seyko Groves began attending Graceway in 2004. This was a scary time, she describes, one full of transition. She had her first child on the way, had just graduated college, and wasn’t married yet. She had attended her previous church since childhood, so making the change among everything else happening was challenging.

The biggest thing that struck her when coming to Graceway was the preaching. “It was undeniable,” she recalls. “For the first time, the Bible was applicable to my everyday life. It provided an every day hope, I hadn’t experienced that before.”

She remembers attending The Summit, a missions conference, in 2008 where the music, the poets, the diversity stood out to her. And from that conference on she decided that Graceway was the church she wanted to be a part of.

“For the first time, the Bible was applicable to my everyday life. It provided an every day hope, I hadn’t experienced that before.”

Easter  at Graceway April 16 at 9:00am & 10:30am

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Seyko quickly joined the praise team, started through discipleship, and sought every avenue possible to continue to grow. “Every decision I made was because I wanted to be around God; I wanted to be close to Him. I was discovering Him in a new way,” she states; emotionally recalling this time in her life. The woman who was taking her through Directions at the time had to move out of state, but before leaving, she gave Seyko a journal. She told her to write her thoughts, hopes, and dreams to God. Seyko began writing every day. She wrote her emotions, regrets, failures, and ways God had been faithful to her.

She recalled a time she had a conversation with God. Crying out, “I don’t know how to trust you, but show me how to. I don’t yet live a life walking in that kind of freedom, I still long for it.” Feeling like Satan lied to her, guilted her, from the things in the past. “But,” she says, “I have experienced His compassions, His nearness. It was a beautiful thing.”

She occasionally looks back on the journal seeing where God has brought her. In fact, the last page in her journal, of this two-year journey, was when she married her husband, Tyrone. She looks back to remind herself that God is the same; His nearness is the same. God always came through and always answered her prayers whether in a physical or emotional way.

“It’s a peace that I can’t really explain. God is the same but I’m not the same because of him. It doesn’t matter what you’re going through or what you’ve done, He is still God. I may not be a very confident person, but I can stand in confidence on that.”

Seyko says she has been burdened lately with things going on culturally, the things we see posted all over social media. “We can be a reflection of the diverse kingdom of God,” she says. “God is bringing in so many people to Graceway. It really lines up with where the world is going. It’s a matter of engagement. It’s about shedding the mask and just being real.”

Her desire is for us, as the church, to be able to shoulder the tough conversations. “I believe the assembly has the power to be a place where we can not only have those conversations, but be able to engage with the same grace and truth that we receive from God. We need each other a lot right now and the walls, fear, and silence divide us and keep us from relating to one another in the freedom gifted to us by Jesus. “

It starts with being real, she describes — being authentic. “I, too, want to learn how to speak without judgement. I want church to be a safe place for God to work. I want to show that same compassions to others that He showed to me.”

Even though she has been attending Graceway for years, it wasn’t until just a few weeks ago, Seyko felt as if she really could say, ‘I am graceway.’ It was when hearing Jeff Adams say the tough words, she recalls, that she felt almost a sense of relief. “I was reminded that Christ’s ugliest moment was our best moment.”

It was a reminder that things are happening here at Graceway. “Wherever you’re coming from, whatever your skin color is, you can come here. You are welcome.”

When summarizing her story, she has this to say, “I can look back when I feel lost and know i’m not the same as I once was. I can relax and trust in that a little more. He can take those burdens and make it into something beautiful.”