My Testimony

Updated 2019:

Here is a brief summary of my life. This is my painful, yet celebratory story and how God has transformed my life. The beginning is messier than I have written, but Jesus has also given me new life which is more glorious and fantastic than my written word can contain.

My mom was faithful to take my sister and I to church from a young age. I loved being at church, mostly because it was what you were supposed to do. The people were always nice and there were lots of fun games and songs. I remember learning the basic essentials to the Christian faith and could recite what it meant to be a Christian. But I wasn’t one. When I asked my mom why I couldn’t take communion, my wheels started turning. Whatever I needed to do to take the juice and cracker, that was what I was going to do. (See, as a first-born, headstrong sinner that I am, I don’t like when people tell me I can’t do something.) So, I found out that if you were a Christian, taking communion was supposed to mean something. So I learned how Jesus died on the cross to forgive us of our sins and if you accepted that, then you were a Christian. So I guess I said I wanted to be a Christian. But I knew my heart that I had ulterior motives. And so did God. As a 7 year old, I know there were probably really sweet and innocent seeming moments to my supposed walk with Christ, but I knew what my heart was really after. I remained dead in my sins and continued to live a part from God.

I grew up in a financially blessed household. I never knew a day without love or being accepted. My parents really are remarkable people who go out of their way to provide for me, and still do to this day. I had tight rules and got spankings, but my parents were always patient with me. I was a pretty straight-laced kid in public, but a really rebellious and disgustingly mouthy child at home. I knew the right things to do and the wrong things to do as a “Christian”, and could change who I was depending on what crowd I was around. My heart hadn’t been transformed as a 7 year old, and it remained still cold, hard, and dead for years following.

I still held on to the self-proclaimed badge of “Christian” in my teenage years. I went on a mission trip and attended church camps fooling myself into thinking that God would love me more if I did stuff for him. I never understood grace. There was this secret life that no one really knew about. I lied compulsively, cheated on boyfriends, rebelled against God’s design for sexuality and relationships, continuously disrespected my parents, raged with envy, gossiped to this friend about that friend and vice versa, flaunted my arrogance, and snuck out of the house on occasion. I had a compartmentalized “Christian” life throughout my adolescence where I would have a desire to follow God and then lose complete interest all together. I use quotes because I wasn’t a Christian in the biblical sense, even though I was a cultural one. The life I led is not characteristic of someone who followed Christ nor trusted him. I was so vainly engrossed in my personal success (which there was a lot of that to blind me) that I did not see the need for being saved. What did I need saving from? I was the best at every thing already.

In college, I found myself in countless situations I never would have been in had I been under my parents’ house. I fell into all the stereotypical college pressures, and with that came a feeling of isolation and abandonment like I had never experienced. My world was completely rocked and I felt utterly helpless. Even though there were many people around me, I had boys admiring me, I experienced great success in collegiate running, and maintained a 4.0, I felt so empty. “Fun” was not fun. It destroyed my body, mind, and left my heart shattered into a million tiny pieces. I was exhausted. I couldn’t do any more. I couldn’t be any more. I still called myself a Christian, you know, to fit in in the south, but my life was sold out to the world.

I knew immediately where I needed to go, or rather who I needed to go to, but I didn't initially want to. I wanted to hang on to my little idols and my little life. I liked the attention that boys gave me, I liked being top in my academic class, I liked appearing like everything was together, I liked the success and notoriety that running gave me. I liked it all and I wanted to hold on to it, but I knew deep down that these things were what was killing me. I was trying to find fulfillment in temporal things, things that really have always left me wanting and disappointed. So I picked up my dusty Bible and just started reading. I tried to read every day, because I guess I thought that would help. And help it did. I saw that Jesus says that whoever would lose their life for my sake would find it, and if you try to hang on to your life, you actually lose it (Luke 9:45) That made sense to me. As I read God’s word, I found refuge in Christ; however, my heart still wrestled and fought with all its might to not submit to the authority of Christ (and let’s be honest, this is a fight I wage every single day and now win because Christ fights for me). But Christ was and is more powerful than the grip of sin.

When Jesus called me out of darkness, I was in my most vulnerable form–broken, aching, directionless, helpless, craving something more. I repented of my sin and trusted that Jesus could give me a new heart with new desires. Jesus could change me. I knew he could. And change me he did. It wasn’t a specific day as some people can recall, but it was more or less a time span that I saw Jesus moving in my life. It was in the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012 (my senior year of college) that Jesus finally rescued the girl who finally saw that she needed saving from herself. from sin, from death. Jesus graciously opened my eyes and my heart to the beautiful gospel. He removed my sins and he now calls me redeemed.

To clear up any misinformation or misunderstanding, I didn’t come to Jesus for an easier life. And Jesus didn’t save me because there was anything worthy or desirable in me. He called me out of the darkness. He let me hear his voice and I gave me the grace to follow him. I was wretched, nothing to offer God at all. However, I am no longer empty. I am no longer dead. I am no longer searching for what can never fill me. Jesus has given my life meaning. Jesus has made me alive. Jesus has called me his own. May my life be used for the glory of God forever.

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