I was raised inside the church ever since I can remember. My mother was a constant churchgoer and was there any time she possibly could be. As a result, she wanted me to hold to those same beliefs and values, so she frequently told me bedtime stories from the Bible. It was one of those nights that she discussed with me what it meant to be saved, and how that was the “big deal” about Christianity. Being excited as a kid and wanting to please her I said I too wanted to be saved. By the end of that night, she took my 9-year-old word for it and believed that had happened for me personally. The only problem was, I had no idea what it meant to be saved! I began to live what felt like two completely separate lives. I acted a certain way at church on Sunday's and completely opposite the rest of the week.
It wasn’t until a friend’s invite to the momentum youth conference that I finally understood the gospel. I remember hearing so many sermons in my life, but none of them clicking until that night at momentum. The speaker chose to talk about what it meant to be a follower of Jesus and not just a fan of Jesus. This was the first time in my life that I felt like I could finally drop the act I had been living. I learned that Christianity was not just a followed religion, but a relationship with a person. That person was Jesus Christ. It hit me hard and I began to cry as he asked if anyone had accepted Jesus for the first time. Despite my classmates and everyone else already thinking I was Christian, I knew I wasn’t, and felt the need to follow his call. I stood up. From that moment on my life changed. I started living a singular life with Jesus every day. I was reading his word and talking to him through prayer. It was actually real. Here’s the craziest thing, I didn’t fully understand how I was living a false life until I actually encountered the person who offered the real abundant one. I’m forever grateful that God met me right where I was and I can’t wait to use what he’s shown me to change the lives of others.
I came to know Christ around the age of 11. A bus would come to our neighborhood and pick up any kids who wanted to attend a local church. I eventually decided to go and because of the gospel being shared there, I found Christ. For a large chunk of my life afterward I would say I understood my faith, but wasn’t actively living it out much. In the last 3 years I’ve lost my father, mother in law, both grandfathers, an aunt, and a cousin who tragically passed at 21 years old. I also had to have a complete hysterectomy at 37 years old, and my husband had an affair and asked for a divorce soon after. When he asked for a divorce I just hit rock bottom. I called my family and my sister in law said I should come to her church, Grace Fellowship. I went with her and the sermon series at that time was “living the dream.” The sermon struck a chord with me because on the outside it looked like I had it all, but I was more broken than anything.
I went home and prayed, “Jesus I want you to be first.” Even If I have to lose everything else, my life is a mess, and I need you to be first. Since then I’ve lost some weight, frequently spent time in the Bible, go to church consistently (now listening online!), and have a better prayer life than I’ve ever had before. I’m building a close relationship with the Lord for the first time in my life. Recently I was emailed about baptism and knew I had never made that personal choice. I was able to be baptized by Pastor Tim in his backyard. My life is still not easy, but I am comforted to know Jesus is walking with me every step of the way. His way is the right way, so I will keep following him for the rest of my days. Even when he tells me no, I know he is making all of my paths straight. No matter what happens, I’m going to be ok. I have a newfound desire to be holy and a want to live a life centered around Jesus. That’s where peace is.
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