Writing my faith journey today is a lot different than when I did it the first time. The last time I shared the more intimate details of my relationship with Jesus, I was in my early 20’s, dating, just starting an independent life, and recovering from some difficult relationships and not-so-smart decisions. The main thing I’ve learned since then is that
my story is ever-changing, but God is still the same,
and that’s good news!
”Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
I was incredibly blessed to grow up in a strong Christian home where my parents prioritized instilling the love of Jesus in their kids as they followed Him first. I was homeschooled for all but my 7th grade year and the concept of family was very important. I was an only child until I turned 8 when my brother came along and then, shortly after, my sister.
When I was five years old, riding with my mom in our old beat-up truck, I felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit drawing me to follow Jesus. I don’t remember the specific questions I asked, but I remember asking questions about heaven and how to know I would go there when I die. Later that same day I asked Jesus into my heart in our garage right next to that truck, all on my own.
My life would never be the same.
Overall, I grew up wanting to strengthen my relationship with Him. I was very active at church, in GA’s (Girls in Action) and later, youth group. I could name many times where I experienced God working in my life. I was blessed to have some amazing Christian women (along with my own family) guiding me and encouraging me in my walk. I think as a child I had a pretty good grasp of the basic Christian faith and what that should look like.
I was blessed!
My senior year of high school and into my early 20’s, boys quickly became more of a priority than Jesus did. I had a few years of rebelling—choosing the wrong boys to date and making decisions that were not what Jesus would want.
Because I was blessed enough to grow up with amazing Christian guidance, I knew in my heart that what I was doing was not pleasing to God and that I was on a bad track as I turned my back on Him.
As much as this time may have appeared like a “fun young 20’s life,”
I felt very empty inside.
During this time, I dated a guy with a pornography addiction. He “appeared” to be a strong Christian, but would often tell me of his struggle and use that in manipulation to go further with me physically. This was incredibly hurtful for me and eventually caused me to question my self-worth and self-image. Unfortunately, instead of turning to Christ, I turned to man for my approval. I dealt with this self-image trouble by not eating the way I should, therefore becoming skinnier and skinnier. My friends and family all questioned it, but I always denied it.
I had forgotten those truths God said were important to Him:
who I was in relationship to Jesus.
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’” (1 Samuel 16:7)
“I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.”
I stayed in that relationship much too long, falsely thinking that I could “help” him be the man of God he claimed to be. He ended up breaking off with me because he was tired of me trying to change him. That breakup was a huge wake up call for me in my relationship with God.
Unfortunately, I made some bad choices before I came to my senses,
but thankfully, God used those choices to draw me back to Himself.
At that time I was very involved with Celebrate Recovery, a ministry for those with addictions of any kind. There, I was able to identify the character defect that I had, rather than focusing on what others had. Even though I had accepted Christ as my Lord at an early age, I hadn’t really experienced how badly I needed a Savior. For the most part, I had grown up as a pretty good girl. But, the decisions I had made in relationships were not the decisions God would have me make.
I came to realize my need for His grace.
I needed a Savior.
I often refer to this time of my life as my “Amazing Grace” era.
I finally grasped the concept that ALL had sinned, even me, and fallen short of the Glory of God.
My walk with God changed.
A few years later, I met the man who would become my husband—he worked on Friday nights, when I led worship for Celebrate Recovery. We married November 4th, 2011. In light of my unhealthy relationships with men, God brought a man to me who consciously works to maintain purity of thought and deed. What a blessing to know that I can trust him!
My husband and I have been married now for 6 years. We have 3 beautiful children who are all 5 and under and I am a stay-at-home Mom.
Being a wife and mother have presented many more challenges to my faith. God is constantly reminding me to trust and lean into Him when things get tough. I’m a very emotional person by nature, so I still find myself falling into the desire to want to take things into my own hands to change situations and people.
I have to lean into the truth that God is God and I am not.
He is in control and it’s much, much, much better that way.
I can trust Him!
Until I surrender those things which I can’t control (anything but myself), I am going to bear a weight that I am not meant to bear. Jesus came to take that burden away from me!
Surrender is stronger!
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30