Read His Words Before Ours!
I grew up in the Kansas City, KS, metro area and was raised by my mom and stepdad as my mom and biological father had divorced when I was three. My dad suffered from substance abuse and depression, and was physically and emotionally abusive, and also adulterous. However, once my mom remarried, my home life was safe, Christ-centered, very strict and structured.
My sister and I were enrolled in a Christian school during our elementary years. I made very close friends, had wonderful Sunday school teachers at church, where we attended weekly, and my parents lovingly taught us about Christ and our need for a Savior.
I gave my heart to Jesus when I was five years old. I still remember reading the prayer of salvation with my mom and little sister, found within a small paper booklet, and was so excited to have Jesus living in my heart! I have fond memories and was very happy for most of my early childhood days.
Around 12 years old, my stress level increased.
I started attending public school and lost contact with my biological father all together. Up until that time he had been fairly regular with our bi-weekly visits. I also became overly aware of how different I was growing up in an upper middle class, basically all-white community as a bi-racial youth. With all of these personal stressors spinning uncontrollably inside, I became highly anxious and easily worked up, all of which I took out on my parents.
In high school, I hung out with “popular kids” and dated older guys. I played club soccer year-around in addition to four years of varsity, and traveled for college showcases.
My need for perfectionism, approval, and obsessive tendencies began here.
Although I was very busy, I still made time to party, drink alcohol, and sneak out and smoke. My grades were excellent and I excelled at my sport, so my parents had no idea of my “weekend self”. I was committed to this double life.
But the shame and guilt I carried as I walked into church each week eventually led me to stop attending youth group and push away my wonderful, God-loving friends.
I no longer fit in.
My collegiate years were much the same with a hyper-focus on getting all A’s, while also intent on being the best party and sorority girl.
This was what I was good at, being the “fun friend.”
My double life was in high-gear and I made no attempt to refocus my life on Christ as Sundays were spent recovering from the weekend.
In my freshman year of college, I began dating my now-husband, Ben. After college, Ben was drafted and my double-life habits continued.
I was the best at my job, but also the best party girl.
With Ben gone, I was too lonely and full of shame every weekend, laying around feeling sick from partying, to face the truth.
I needed Christ, or I would never be happy.
Which I knew!
Believe me, those parents who raised me in the church would constantly remind me, pray for me, and beg God to change my hardened heart.
Ben and I married, and years later I became pregnant with Hart, my oldest.
Having a son completely broke me, bringing me to my knees.
I wanted my child to know Christ and be raised in a house full of His love like I had been.
For years, I had slammed the door on the Holy Spirit.
I screamed at myself to make better decisions, to get back into church, to repent.
At last, I turned back.
And I was restored!
My first Bible study was with my mom over phone and email, as we still lived states apart.
I began PRAYING to be more loving to my spouse and to crave reading God’s Word.
Slowly through the work of God’s renewing Holy Spirit, I began climbing out of the body I was had been living in, and hating. I was morphing into the woman He always wanted me to be; Christ was making me new! I was connected with Him, deeply loved, and learning to find my worth in God instead of my own performance.
God wonderfully took the YEARS I’d wasted living in sin and completely washed them away. He freed me from the shame of my lifestyle, the guilt of my decisions, and the sense that I could never go back to Christ because I was too far from Him.
He freed me fearing of what people (“friends”) would think about me for changing core aspects of me. I realize now He will use the rest of my life to keep remaking me and influencing others for His glory!
My life is an on-going, amazing testimony of His gracious hand.
Although I wasted much, the best is yet to come!
When jealousy pops up for those who have been in communion with Christ or serving Him since their youth, I’m reminded that God wastes nothing, even when I wasted much while chasing worthless idols and focusing on myself.
My decision to follow Christ has blessed every part of my life; it is made all the sweeter as I enjoy His pleasures in stark contrast to the darkness I thought would satisfy me.
Through fellowshipping with other believers, Ben and I have been baptized and blessed with a wonderful support system.
God used the hardest valleys to make me stronger and grow my faith. I know God has had His hands on every part of my very imperfect story.
You know that person who FINALLY finds Christ as an adult?
That person who is on fire and can’t fully even explain it most times?
I can’t wait to see what else Jesus has in store for this restored, remade sinner!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!