“I have lived for the weekend and hoped to find fulfillment and worth in jobs, athletics, academics, relationships, and my appearance, but life just isn't there.
“Growing up, faith was not something that marked my life. My parents would take us to church on some Sundays and did their best to raise us with good morals, but any study of God’s Word was absent, and so was any personal relationship with Him. To be honest, church was boring and seemed to be filled with people who didn’t want to be there.
“In college, I lived with believers, who invited me to church. There was something different about the people I met. They were kind, compassionate, and sensitive. It shocked me how immediately they seemed to care deeply about me, someone who could give them nothing in return. This was different from any church I had attended or people I had ever met before.
“I remember hearing about Jesus. There was joy on people’s faces as they greeted one another – like they wanted to be at church. I heard testimonies of life transformation and watched people passionately worship God. That entire night there was a tug on my heart. I thought, ‘Okay, maybe there's something to this. Maybe they know something I don’t.’
“I left surprised, unable to stop thinking about Jesus. I was moved by the invitation to come and see how good this God was they knew. I returned the following week and felt the weight of the gospel.
“I received His sweet grace for the first time, and a wave rushed over me. It was as if, in one moment of clarity, I finally could release everything I had ever carried my whole life: anxiety, insecurity, anger. And with it, I could receive everything I didn’t even know I was missing: a family and Father to call mine, purpose, identity, and joy. That night I accepted God as Lord over my life. I recognized Jesus as payment for all my sins and dedicated my life to Him.
“Desperately wanting to undo a past of not knowing Him, I dove headfirst into serving at my church. This is where my true testimony begins.
“Yes, that one night was the moment my eternity was secured in Christ, but I did not surround myself with biblical community, teachers, and instruction, and I did not surrender myself daily to Him. My heart was sure of who God was, but my mind was weak, and my soul grew tired quickly because I was not connected to the source.
“Sin was a slow drift. Without realizing how far I had grown from the Lord, my joy dulled, service grew to feel like a burden, and I was back where I was before, full of anxiety, insecurity, and anger. Faith and church began to feel like mundane, routine duties I could not back out of. Pride grew in me, and I valued myself over Him.
“Then, I walked through the most painful season of my life. Running from God had taken its toll, and I completely lost sight of my value and became trapped in an incredible depression. I had never felt hopelessness like that before.
“Through pain and anger, I turned from God. I blamed Him for the hurt and the mess I created. I stopped attending church and submerged myself fully in the world, receiving temporary relief in fleeting feelings of happiness and satisfaction. These would quickly fade to numbness, trapping me in an addictive cycle of instant gratification.
“I couldn’t bear the pain anymore, and having exhausted all of my own strength, I called out to the Lord. With tears in my eyes, I confessed how far I had drifted from that first moment when I was so in awe of Him and how I chose the things of my flesh over the life He offered to me. I decided at that moment that I would try to get to know Him by devoting all of me to Him this time – a full surrender.
“The beauty of the gospel once again gripped my heart, and I decided it was time to give Him everything. God went to extremes to grab hold of my heart. And I now understand that He was not okay with the pain I walked through, but He allowed me to endure that season and brought me back to Him. He taught me that I am not a good god of my own life (Proverbs 14:12).
“God broke my heart down to rebuild it, and it is now on the most solid ground. It is my great joy to serve Him and teach others of Him. I want to shepherd and care for those who are stuck in that same mundane journey that is a slow drift away from the abundant life offered to us. John 10:10 says, ‘I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.’ It is my joy to encourage you that God sees you and calls you to the fullness of life that is only found in Him.”