What was life like before you met Jesus?
I feel my life before Jesus was a little harder when I didn’t know him. I grew up in a Christian home and have always considered myself a Christian, but I took that title for granted. I would tell other people that I was Christian all the time in elementary school and while growing up, but I didn’t really know who Jesus was and if I was really the Christian, I claimed to be. I remember all the time in church when I was younger, I would bring things to draw with and do when I was in church so I wouldn’t get bored, and I would zone out all the time. When I was really young, I remember going to the kid services, but when my dad thought I was mature enough to go to the adult church services, I would go to those. I would claim I loved attending church, and I did. I loved worship and the people, but I never really thought if I liked the sermons or cared. I stopped liking church because I thought it was boring, and my dad would give us quizzes after church and ask us what we had learned. I was always scared to answer them because I knew I did not pay attention.
How did you meet Jesus?
I remember I was tired of calling myself a Christian and taking the title for granted, so I forced myself to pay attention and get over it even though I thought it was boring. I started to learn more and liked attending church services more the more I went and paid attention, but here's where the struggle started. I would get so distracted by friends and the world and the things that happened around me that I forgot everything I learned. I would start to isolate myself from God, becoming more distant, and I started to take the title for granted. The more I struggled with anxiety, the more I began to lose friends. In 5th grade, I had gotten so broken that I did nothing. I didn’t want to talk to my dad for months. In 6th grade, I had no friends, and I was lonely. That’s when I needed Jesus the most. I started to get back into what the title meant for me and continued sharing the gospel with school friends. I constantly asked my friend Leah to come to church, and she would always say no, but I never gave up. I kept asking until she said yes. She is now doing better than ever with Jesus. Of course, the bad times didn’t go away. My (guy) best friend moved away, and my friend died from cancer. Then I found out that my childhood best friend was moving away the next summer, and I had other relationship problems. By the time I was middle through the misery of relationship problems and memories coming back, I decided I would no longer stay isolated, and I would go to Jesus in my times of need.
After being saved by Jesus, what is your life like now?
As I decided to come out of isolation, things were getting better. I had more friends, better relationships, and a better connection with Jesus than ever. During the school year, I went to YTH CON to get to know Jesus better, and I feel I did, but I feel the real things happened at YTH Camp this summer. At YTH Camp, one evening at the night service, I believed - I was saved. Our pastor that night was Simion. I will never forget that night. He gave us a sermon, and then when we were in prayer, he started asking questions like, “Raise your hand if you feel lonely, raise your hand if you feel distant from God, Raise your hand if you feel that everything you do is wrong, Raise your hand if you are broken and constantly try to hide it, And raise your hand if you’ve just lied and didn’t raise your hand.” I raised my hands every time he asked a question except the lying one. His prayer dug deep into me, and I could feel the gospel working through me while he gave his prayer. After he was done, it was so easy to worship because I realized what everything meant, and I knew I was saved - it was also kinda hard because I was crying so much - I ended up crying for 3 hours straight because I felt God working in my heart.
Ever since that day, I decided I would put my heart in God and give him my all and make him my all. So I want to get baptized to show that from here on out, I will put my faith, my heart, my all, and abide in Jesus Christ for the rest of my life.
John 15:1-9 says, “ I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.”
I get to give my life to Jesus. I will always go to him in whatever situation because I know he knows the frustration in my life and with my life. He knows the hurts, the sadnesses, the fears, the turmoils inside of me, the loneliness I feel when I lay my head down on the pillow at night, and the insecurities I feel and try to hide from others. He knows the pains that have scarred me for life and feels that I’ll never heal from it. He knows all of that. I want to decide right now for the rest of my life and the best of my life, not to my boyfriend, not to my best friend, not to my job, but to God and his kingdom to be the woman God made me to be. I want to release and forgive everyone and everything that hurt me and for him to take away my burdens. When I say I hate this person, I hate that person, I hate this, I hate that, I hate that this happens to me, I hate, I keep going back to that. When I feel like not fighting anymore when I feel I’ve been kicked down so hard I can’t get back up, as I go through anxiety, depression, and relationship problems. Instead, I should say, God, I love you more. That’s where freedom comes from. Freedom comes not from trying to break the chain, not from trying to break the sin, not from trying to get better, but freedom comes from telling God, “I’m not trying”. God, you’ve got it, I love you, I trust you more than the sin. So you can give me strength. I have to know that God has fought my battles already. Who overcame death on the cross, is fighting battles I don’t know about, loves me, and is willing to empower me as I go through these things. So I know not to give up, not to tap out, to keep fighting, and to keep walking because God’s not done with my life, and I’m gonna get through this. I know to trust in God because I know he will put it back together.