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Apr17WedTanya Michaud wasn't looking for God, but He found her anyway. April 17, 2019 by Diane Stark
Tanya Michaud entered the church, sitting in the back where she hoped no one would notice her. She listened to the music and felt something come over her. “In that moment, I just broke down,” she says. “I realized that there was a God, and He’d been there all along.”
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Now, she and her family are active members of The Salvation Army’s Ottawa Citadel. But it wasn’t an easy road to get there.
Tanya was born in Montreal, but she and her family moved around during her childhood.
“It was hard to make friends,” she says, “because I was always the new kid.”
It didn’t help that Tanya’s family wasn’t close-knit. “My dad was always working and my mother was emotionally distant,” she says.
Tanya did not attend church as a child. “I wasn’t exposed to religion,” she says. “My parents weren’t Christians and neither were my friends. It was a spiritually barren childhood.”
After graduating from university, Tanya moved to Chicago for work. “It was a good opportunity, but I was completely alone,” she says. “It was such a dark time. I had no real friends and I felt disconnected from my family.”
A few times, Tanya considered going to church. “I immediately discarded these thoughts because they didn’t make sense to me,” she says. “I didn’t even know what I would find in there. I was that disconnected from God.”
A few weeks later, on a Saturday night, Tanya felt so lonely that she decided to attend church the following morning. “I had nothing to do and I felt like I would go crazy if I didn’t go out,” she says, “so I decided to try church. It was just something to do. I didn’t go there to find God.”
But God found her. “Just a few minutes into the service, I had this image in my mind of a miniature me, standing in the palm of a giant hand,” she says. “I realized that I had been in God’s hand my whole life. He’d been calling me, and all I’d done was fight Him.”
Tanya joined a class at the church that explained the basics of Christianity. “After attending that class for a few weeks, I heard the Bible message and became a Christian,” she says. “After I made that decision, I felt peaceful.”
Tanya started meeting with a Christian counsellor to work through some of the hurts she had experienced. “I was able to let go of the past,” she says. “God did a lot of healing work in my life.”
A few years later, Tanya met a man named Mike at a mutual friend’s house. “I was back in Montreal now and he lived in Ottawa, so I didn’t think there was a future,” Tanya says. “But when he returned to Montreal to see our friends, we realized there was something there and we knew it was from God.”
A Life Complete
The couple married in 2004 and had two daughters, Sarah and Sammy. In 2010, Mike rejoined the navy, and over the next seven years, the family lived in three different places.
By 2016, though, Tanya and Mike were living in Kingston, Ont. “I joined a Bible study at a Salvation Army church, and I enjoyed it,” she says. “Then my daughter, Sarah, started playing the cornet and I wanted her to be able to play with a band, so I started dropping her off for practices there.”
One Sunday, they decided to attend the church to watch Sarah play in the band. “Mike loves music and he decided he wanted to join the senior band,” Tanya says. “We weren’t plugged in at the church we’d been attending, so we were looking to make a change.”
Surprisingly, Mike and Tanya didn’t know The Salvation Army was a church. “We had known them as the group that helps people with the kettles and the food drives,” she explains. “We love what they do for the community, so going to church there was a good fit for us.” When the family moved to Ottawa a year later, attending the Army’s Ottawa Citadel church was an easy decision.
Today, Tanya is busy homeschooling her daughters. She also works part time helping an elderly woman who lives in her apartment building. “The Lord provided me with this great job,” she says. “I don’t have to commute, and the woman is a Christian, too, and I enjoy her company.”
Tanya loves her life now. “Before finding God, I was emotionally broken, I had no hope and no purpose,” she says. “Now I’m part of something. I have healthy relationships and I feel whole. I even have energy to help others. Now, I have peace and purpose.”