My Testimony

click here for more of my redemption story: pine lake

click here for my story of my re-baptism: i said yes

written in 2012

here is a truly breif summary of the last 22 years of my life , in a nutshell. this is my painful, yet celebratory story and how my life has done a complete 180 in the past few years. i'm not claiming to be religious, i'm claiming to have a relationship with the One who gave it all.

i started going to church when i was 6 and i accepted jesus into my heart when i was 7 years old.  i was baptized on easter sunday.  though i don't remember what went down besides talking about jesus over some cheese fries at steak n' shake with my youth pastor jason, my mom tells me i asked her how i could "have jesus in my heart forever."  i bet that was music to my mother's ears.  however, the pain and struggles i would eventually encounter in the coming years produced enough tears to fill a river.  though at 7 i wanted jesus to have a home in my heart, i never understood what it meant to have a personal relationship with Christ until much, much later (like 3 years ago). i grew up in a financially blessed, but broken household. this changed the way i forever viewed family, love, security, and relationships. i constantly rebelled, even after letting jesus live in my heart, and never wanted to go to church because my dad didn't have to.  i wanted to be just like my best friend and role model, and to this day, i still consider my father my best friend.  why couldn't i be JUST like him? 

throughout my teen years i quickly labeled myself a "christian" (as do 250 million other americans) and i even went on mission trips and church camp; yet, still i consciously swam in and thrived on my self-sufficiency. see post on "cultural christianity."  i lied compulsively, cheated on boyfriends, immersed myself in utter fakeness, showed continuous disrespect to my parents, raged with envy, gossiped to this friend about that friend and vice versa, flaunted my arrogance, and intentionally did anything i knew was wrong just for the sake of doing it.  i had a compartmentalized “Christian” life throughout my adolescence where i would be on "fire for God" at times and then lose complete interest all together because i was so vainly engrossed in my personal success that i did not need a Savior, i was already ‘the best/perfect/God's gift to the world’ in my own eyes and in everyone else's as far as i could see.

after coming to college and finding myself in absorbed in countless situations i would never have thought twice about back at home (you know, the usual college pressures), i felt absolutely alone. the people i called "friends" in my new home were not my friends at all, they only cared about themselves and maybe a little about me if they had time.  i got my world completely rocked and felt utterly helpless. there were days that i didn't know if it would be worth even living to see the next day, i was so alone even though i had countless people around me. "fun" was not fun it destroyed my body, mind, and left my heart shattered into a million tiny pieces. i knew, immediately, where i needed to go, but i didn't initially want to. i turned to Christ and found refuge, but not without pain of resurfacing old memories.  i was squandering in broken pits of despair, i had stains of ugly sin scared on my heart, and felt utterly lost. when i came to Christ in my most vulnerable form–broken, aching, directionless, helpless, craving something more–and truly seeking what it meant to be a Christ-follower, i felt a change and saw a change in myself. to me now, being a Christ-follower is a label that i wear with great responsibility. it pains me to know called myself a Christian and did some of the things i consciously did (the things everyone tries to cover up but end up coming out anyway). i call myself a "jesus-follower" now because "Christian" has such a negative connotation due to people like myself, who said one thing to sound righteous and then acted in completely contrary to what was said to have been "believed". i said i "loved" God, but the f-word (along with other inappropriate words and jokes) came out of my mouth 5 minutes later, i compromised myself and my values with a boy, i drank to fit in, i lived for pleasing myself and no one else. i don't want to be remembered for trying to be self-sufficient, self-serving, money-worshiping, lust-filled girl!?, jesus has certainly transformed my life and i pray that it is evident!

being a christ-follower means that i:

•am aware that i have issues, flat out
•know God loves me
•trust that God is who He says He is and does what He says He will do
•believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He was fully human and fully divine
•believe Christ died on the cross to satify the wrath of God and to bare all my past sins, current sins, and future sins
•confess with an open heart and repent (completely turn away from) my former ways (so hard to do)
•believe that good works can not get me into heaven
•strive to live as a reflection of jesus, though i fail time and again
•am willing to do what God has called me to do and strive to obey His every word
•genuinely seek a relationship with my Maker by spending qualitiy time with Him each day in His word praising His name through the Bible, His music, talking to fellow believers, dancing for Jesus, respecting my body, and serving in any aspect that would more glorify His name

•listen and respond to convictions
know that i can never earn the love of God, he loves me unconditionally

being a christ-follower is so much more than what i have listed above. it is not a set of rules. it is not a list of things i should and shouldn't do.  i do not serve a spiteful God ready to attack you for your mistakes.

i understand now what it means to have a relationship with Christ, though this relationship is constantly taken to new heights. i now spend time daily in the Word earnestly searching for what God can teach me next. i now actively listen to what His plans are for me, not my own! i consult jesus in everything, and when i don't i am quickly reminded that i have forgotten the planner. i am constantly learning what faith is and learning to trust that God’s way is the best way, though it tugs at my heart and makes me pull my hair out at times. i believe that God is who He says He is and does what He says He will do.

let me reiterate that i do NOT have it all figured out and that i am guilty of being a hypocrite and i am no better than the person sitting next to me, believer in jesus christ or not.

i want to grow in several aspects. right now i am focused on planting seeds, consulting jesus in everything i do, guarding my heart, and striving to let jesus be my firm foundation because He has given me countless chances and do-overs.  

in the past when i was so very lukewarm.  i used running, friends, family, grades, and boys to fill the God-shaped spot in my heart.  it left me severely disappointed in the end. i want to grow into a God-fearing woman and lead the life Christ designed especially for me. i am focusing on dying to this world a little more each day that way Christ is nothing but supreme in my life. i find that it is so much easier said than done, but by spending quality time alone with my Maker and surrounding myself with those who genuinely love Jesus, the Light becomes easier to see.

jesus never promised that my life would be a walk-in-the-park once i decided to follow him. in fact, because i now am marked by the blood of christ, my life is constantly filled with persecution, reverse judgement, and condemnation from the world for what i believe.  the life i led before i actually engaged in a relationship with jesus pales in comparison to the life i now lead.

i am learning so much through my journey alongside Christ. the more i obey my Creator, the more i see that His way is the best way. i feel as though i am a useful vessel for the Lord when i walk in accordance to His word and when people are able to visually see the difference in my life before and after Christ became my ultimate desire. i was a self-absorbed, attention-seeking, lying hypocrite who knew what face to put on for what group of people.  now, i am as transparent as can be. what you see, is the only thing you will get; and i try to make Christ the only visible aspect in my life. believe me, this is not as easy as writing the words on a computer screen.  

my testimony has been a great tool to reach people who were in a similar state i was in for the past 20-something years of my life. the more time i spend with God, the more the things of this world become dull.  i am so eager to grow closer to my God and for Him to use me in order to glorify Himself so that others may have true life.

there is no way i could judge you for living in such ways as i have or beyond....i have walked those roads many times before and i know the despair and hopelessness.  i love you. i just wanted to share with you the amazing second chance i was granted by the One who gave me life and hope to spark your interest that you too can recieve God's free gift and have a second chance at life, and be filled with ceaseless joy! 

Questions? please don't hesitate, because i've been down that path. i'll even go into a deeper side of my past for you if it makes it easier to see the dramatic transformation my life has obtained.

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