|I have always been reluctant to share the story of how I came to Christ because in a worldly sense there was nothing spectacular about it. I grew up in a Christian family, and I can’t even remember a time when I didn’t think of myself as a Christian. The only memories I have of a salvation experience are of sitting in Sunday school with my eyes closed and praying along with the teacher to have Jesus come into my life. Since I couldn’t remember exact details from the experiences I would pray to accept Christ every time they gave the gospel invitation, just to make sure that it had really worked when (and if) I had done it before - I was often even unsure whether or not I had only imagined accepting Christ before.
Even though I believe that I was saved as a child, the first time I really struggled with my faith and what it meant was when I was 10 or 11. I remember many nights when I was awake in my room, wondering if God really existed and crying out for Him to make Himself known to me. Eventually I came to the conclusion that without Christ there was really nothing to hope for in life and nothing to live for. I decided that I would put my entire life in His hands because I knew that I hadn’t been doing a good job of trying to run my life myself. Around this same time a baptismal class was being offered at my church, and I decided that I wanted to be baptized. This is what I think of as the real beginning of my Christian life, my first true expression of faith.
As I was growing up I always wanted to be the “good little girl.” So, while I can’t tell you about how Jesus saved me from a life of drugs or sex or living on the streets, I can tell you of how He has worked and is working to deliver me from a life of fear. My favorite verse has always been John 16:33, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” In different stages of my life I have been scared of different things, but at the root of all of the problems I have faced was some sort of fear of something other than God.
When I was a sophomore in high school I went through a transition period where I grew apart from pretty much all of my friends. I had an intense fear of being unloved and unwanted, and I tried to fill my loneliness by doing as many activities as I could and being a perfectionist about my schoolwork. I became obsessed with pleasing my parents and teachers so that I could earn their love. I developed an eating disorder because I wanted people to be attracted to me. Eventually my energy levels sunk, and I realized that I couldn’t go on living like I was. I had to give all of my worry over to God and accept that He loves me just the way I am, and there’s nothing that I can do to make Him love me any more than He already does.
Life has never been easy and I still struggle with many problems, both old and new, but the only thing that keeps me going and keeps me strong is knowing that I have a Father in Heaven who is watching out for me and loves me more than I could ever imagine!
“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19