my testimony

I grew up in the church. Both of my parents were christians and came from christian families, my mom’s dad was a pastor and my dad’s parents were Sunday school teachers, and my mom worked at our church so I was always in and around the church. I knew all about Jesus and the Bible, at least I thought I did.

When I was still in elementary school my best friend made a profession of faith and was baptized so I figured “Hey I know about Jesus and my friend did it so why not?” I talked to my mom about it and she had my grandfather talk to me to see if I really knew what kind of commitment I was making. I didn’t. I was just doing it because of my friend, I didn’t truly understand the amazing love, grace, and incredible power that God had; and I didn’t until way later in my life.

In middle school I was at VBS at my cousin’s church and Wednesday came around (Wednesday is the cry night of VBS lol) and I decided it was time for real. I still didn’t really understand what I was committing to, I just knew it was something that I needed to do. So I was a christian now but nothing really changed in my life. I put off getting baptized for a long time. I was a shy kid so getting in front of a bunch of people to do such an important thing was terrifying to me. I also tend to think that I need to be perfect at everything and know everything, and I knew that I was not perfect (which is kind of the whole point lol) so I was scared of messing up.

Obviously, now, I know that you’re not supposed to be perfect. God knew we would mess up and that is why He sent his son to die for our sins. Of course this doesn’t mean we are free to do whatever we want but it means that when we do mess up there is grace and forgiveness.

I did not start to get serious about my faith until my high school years and beginning of college. In junior high my friend group was not really concerned with God or faith so it just was not a part of my life outside my family life at home. Even though I had told everyone that I was a christian and made a profession of faith I was not living like it. We moved in my eighth grade year and my parents decided to enroll us in a christian homeschool group. I am so thankful for that, I was able to make a new start with a group of people that put God first and actually lived like it. I truly would not be the woman I am today if my parents had not made that decision.

My freshman year of high school my youngest brother got really sick and was at the door of death. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 13 months old and it is a miracle that he made it through. There is no doubt in my mind that God was all up in that situation! That is literally the only explanation, on paper he should have been dead. Seeing that was so amazing and really showed me the power of God and planted the seed that I needed.

My friends, teachers, and classmates really gathered around my family and I and were so kind. Everything had happened over the weekend so when I went back to class on Tuesday I had to tell everyone what had been going on. I immediately broke down and started sobbing in front of these people that I had only known for two months. Without any hesitation they prayed for me and offered so much love and encouragement. That meant so much to me and really changed my outlook. These were kids my age that actually lived out their faith and I had never really seen that before, I wanted to be like that. Over the years we were able to have so many great conversations in and out of the classroom and I will forever be thankful for that and for them.

Although I had started to see the importance of God and faith in my life I still was kind of passive. I was able to take care of myself and do things on my own for the most part so why did I need someone else to lean on? I was doing just fine! I went to church and youth group but I still was not taking a real ownership of my faith or anything like that; until my freshman year of college.

Oh. My. Goodness. The first semester of my freshman year was probably the worst couple months of my life. I had moved halfway across the country away from my family and friends to go to a place I had never lived before, and I only knew one person, my roommate/cousin.

I had always had a problem with anxiety and every once in a while I would get a little depressed but I had never had such a bad problem with it like I did then. I was having serious, all day anxiety attacks with panic attacks sprinkled in just for some spice lol. I would call my mom sobbing once or sometimes twice a day at least three times a week and I was on the verge of dropping out and going home. I hated my life and I couldn’t make the pain, fear, and overwhelming stress stop. I only got out of bed to go to class and sometimes eat and do my homework. I isolated myself in that room and didn’t ask anyone for help. This made life with a roommate fantastic! I couldn’t fix myself and that frustrated me so much so I took my feelings out on her. So with both of us going through being away from home and being all on our own we fought a lot. It was ruining our friendship and it was just awful.

Finally, I just broke down. I called my mom again sobbing and after she calmed me down she encouraged me to get serious about the time I was spending with God. My mom encouraged me to read through Job (and go to therapy every other week!) and encouraged my cousin and I to get super involved with the BSU. I was so shy and scared to put myself out there that that sounded so awful to me but she annoyed me into it and we signed up for welcome week.

The second we stepped foot into the building I felt like I had come home. Everyone was so kind and welcoming and they just loved Jesus so much! I had never seen people so young so energized and on fire for the Lord and it was so amazing to me; I had to be a part of it and get what they had. I have learned so much from the friends I have made at the BSU and I truly found my family there.

For the first time I could not do everything on my own; I HAD to lean on God to get me through every single second of my day and although it was the hardest thing I have ever done I would not change a single thing in that time of my life. It was a defining moment in my life and once again I would not be who I am today without it. I finally made my faith a priority in my life and took ownership of it. It was not something that I just did because it’s what my family does; I did it because I realized I NEEDED God like I needed the air I breathe. The joy and freedom that I felt when I finally realized that was incredible and I want everyone to know what it feels like.

No one will ever love you the way that God loves you, and no matter your past, present, and future that will never change. We are sinful and broken people and God knows that and he still loves us! He sent His one and only son in order to save us. The love that God has for us is so unimaginable and every time I think about it brings tears to my eyes. I have ignored and run away from God so many times but He was still there for me when I needed him most. I have sinned against Him and broken His heart so many times and yet he was still there for me.

Here are some great verses!!

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. –Romans 6:23

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! –2 Corinthians 5:17

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. –Ephesians 2:8-10

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purity us form all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9

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