I grew up in Brandon, Mississippi and went to school with Faith Hill - yep, my claim to fame, LOL! She gave me her phone number when she left for Nashville and told me to keep in touch. Not doing that would be one of the biggest mistakes of my life, wouldn’t ya say? Oops! Who knew?!?! Seriously, Faith, if you ever read this, you were an awesome role model for me and have been my "idol" since Junior High. You have no idea how much you inspired and still do inspire me to reach for my dreams! I'm still reaching.
Ok, so back to me... In high school I remember once literally changing out of a pageant gown into my wranglers, boots, and cowboy hat to barrel race at a rodeo all in the same day. I guess I have always tried to pack too much into one day. But even then, it was all about using my platform to influence people to trust in Jesus as their Savior. That also has not changed. A Mississippi girl DON'T change her ways!
Fast forward through college to the day I married the man of my dreams, Kevin W. Cooley. We were youth pastors at Church on the Move in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Then we moved to Mobile, Alabama (to the church we pastor now), to serve as youth pastors for four years. I later followed that wild man to India for five years, then back to Mobile again where he has pastored Harvest Church for almost 12 years. Pastoring has made living in India look like a cake walk until, finally, I think we are figuring some things out. And now we are enjoying every minute of it...well, almost every minute to be completely honest. We are both absolutely in love with the people in our church and so thankful for each one of them! We have two fantabulous boys. Gavin is 16, a soccer stud, a guitarist, and a hunk. Garrison, 13, is also a soccer star and a drummer with more swag than we know what to do with. They both love God and serve him well. My family is, for sure, more important to me than any ministry. They come first, yet at the same time, we all serve the Lord together. Ministry and family flow well together if you do it right.
I went to three Bible Schools and have diplomas to prove it. Yes, I am a woman and I teach. Really, like a friend of ours told me once, "Adrienne, you are SOOOO good at talking. (Which was not meant as a compliment.) So just talk about God to people and that's preaching." I actually preached my first sermon at age 15 on Compassion. I will never forget that and will forever be thankful for my pastor empowering me at such a young age to develop my calling. I am certainly just an ordinary person who came from the backwoods of Mississippi. I just still want what I have always wanted, to be used by God to reach masses of people with His love.