When I was in 6th grade,
my friend invited me to youth group
for the first time ever.
I had never experienced a youth group before or seen people worship Jesus the way they did. It was “worship night” and I was blown away watching people worship Jesus with so much passion. I grew curious about this big passion for Jesus; I wanted to know more, so I kept attending with my friend.
Week after week, I learned more and more about Jesus and I started to fall in love with the One these people were talking about and worshiping. I was beginning to experience His love and goodness in my life and it was the most amazing thing ever!
The summer of 2019 while attending church camp, I decided to give my life to Jesus. I didn’t know exactly how it would all work out,
but I knew I was ready to find out what God had for me.
I was so in awe of how God was working in my life, but there was a problem standing in the way of me showing the world my decision to follow Him through baptism.
I didn’t fully understand God’s grace.
I knew in my head God had forgiven me of the sins that kept me separate from a relationship with Him, but my heart did not follow. Instead of viewing God‘s love as the freedom He intended, I believed I needed to earn it by good works.
When COVID lockdown happened in 2020, I started to take in more shows, movies, and books with my extra time. Others gave good reviews, but all the sexual content in them would stick with me. These led to ungodly thoughts that made me feel gross and dirty. I didn’t want to tell anyone because I always thought lust problems were only for boys. Because I believed that lie, I felt so alone. Satan was isolating me with so much shame, I even considered walking away from my faith because I could not bear the thought of God being disappointed in me.
I was scared to get baptized because I felt like I could never be forgiven for the things I had done wrong. My shame kept piling on, but despite my fear of unforgiveness, I was baptized in 2021. I still didn’t fully believe God totally forgave me, but I knew I loved Jesus and wanted to follow Him.
I was already so disappointed in myself, but at a summer camp in 2022, God did something amazing; He healed me from the shame of lust!
I was crying and pouring my whole heart out to God (Psalm 62:8),
and suddenly I felt the Lord like never before.
He took my breath away with power and love.
Something inside me changed at that moment. I felt the Lord tell me to share what I had been going through with our small group. God used my confession to heal me from all my shame!
I felt so light and full of peace.
Like someone had just taken a huge weight off me.
I was beginning to understand the depth of God’s love for me.
I was free!
About a month later, as I was praying one night, I simply asked God why I was worthy of all He had done for me. He is so good, and I didn’t understand how He could love me when I was so unworthy.
I asked Him, “Why I am worthy?”.
Then I heard a man’s voice say, “Because you are my child and I love you”.
I sat up in my bed trying to figure out what happened, but I confidently knew in my heart that God had just spoken to me. I know it sounds a little crazy, but, with my whole heart, I know He spoke to me.
Every step of the way, God continued to show me that if He could forgive all I had done, then I was free to forgive myself and keep letting go of shame. Knowing that God’s love and grace extends far past my biggest sin, I held a confidence I’d never known before. The Lord showed me how precious I am to Him and that His love is far greater than I could imagine.
God worked in my mess for His glory!
I no longer need to be ashamed of my past, because it is no longer a story of sadness and sin, but a story of God’s love and grace!
I never thought God could change my life around in such a short amount of time. Now I have incomprehensible joy and peace; I know it is from Him!
I have found this freedom in Him that I never expected.
Each morning, I get to wake up confidently knowing God loves me.
Every time I simply think of Him and what He has done, I can’t help but smile.
I am far from perfect, but I know He works even in my imperfection
because He is a God of grace.
I am thrilled knowing my faith will continue growing and that God has plans for me that are so amazingly good! It is such a joy to me to be able to share what God has done in my life with others! I hope others will be able to grow closer to God through my testimony of Him, just as I was drawn in by others’ passionate worship of Him!