If you are a follower of Christ, you have a story to tell–a testimony of how God changed you from the inside out and impacted your life forever. Most likely, your story has not been based on your own personal successes, but on God leading you toward victory through Jesus Christ during every circumstance of your life.
Indeed, my story has nothing to do with my own goodness, but it has everything to do with His. My story is one of rebellion and redemption. Of being lost and then found. Of living without purpose and then finding an abundant, meaningful life.
I wonder, What is your story?
Most likely, it’s not so different than mine. The details may not be exactly the same, but I am guessing that the themes of grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness are written all over your story too…because that’s just who God is. Everything He does has the fingerprints of His goodness upon it.
My journey with Jesus started when I was a very young child. But it wasn’t until over a decade ago that my heart was completely gripped by the grace of God. And at that moment, I knew I would never be the same again.
Years ago I wrote down my story, when the freshness of revival was welling up inside me like never before. I wanted to tell the whole world how Jesus changed my life.
Today I am going to share my story with you, and I pray that it will touch your heart and move you to be once again gripped by the greatness of God.
At a very young age, I gave my life to Christ and wanted to do my best to live a life that was pleasing to him. I was raised in a wonderful church, and I have amazing parents who taught me the importance of living for Christ. But even with all of the positive influences in my life, I didn’t automatically understand the saving power of Jesus Christ or what that meant for my life. I didn’t know what it felt like to have God’s grace poured out upon me.
When I went away to college and was far from my safe surroundings, I found myself questioning what I believed. Did I believe what I believed just because my parents told me it was right? Did I believe in God just because I was scared of what would happen if I didn’t?
My doubts led me further away. Without my church and parental influence, I wasn’t reading the Bible. Actually, I felt that reading the Bible would be boring and that I wouldn’t be able to understand it anyway. All of this slowly led to a life growing distant from God, and the farther I got, the less I was convicted about my original beliefs. My actions became more worldly, and my beliefs began to change to fit those actions.
Seeking Happiness without God
I started to believe that I could find happiness on my own, that I didn’t need God.
Looking back, I can still recall a time, quite vividly, when I told the Spirit within me: “I don’t need you God; I will make it without you. Leave me alone! ”
Those were words I never fathomed saying, yet how easily I was convinced by the world that Christ couldn’t be true. Everything around me told me to live for the moment, to just live for myself. And that is exactly what I did.
Because my heart wasn’t set on eternity, my goal was to just have fun and not care too much about the future. Selfishly, I started living just to make myself happy, trying to convince myself that Jesus Christ didn’t matter. I wanted to live life by my own rules, and believing in Jesus did not fit with my lifestyle.
As I entered this new period of my life, I stopped caring how my actions affected others, because without Christ, the only person I had to look out for was myself. I could do what I wanted when I wanted, spend my money on whatever I desired, and choose friends who fit in with my selfish lifestyle. I found popularity that I had never experienced before, and I didn’t want to let it go.
On the Inside
However, even with all of the excitement in my life, I secretly felt alone and desperate. Inside my soul, I had this constant nagging feeling that something was missing in my life, that something wasn’t right. I remember feeling completely alone, even in the middle of a crowd.
Even as I laughed with my newfound friends, I felt a sadness welling up inside of me. I tried to push it back down, but deep inside I couldn’t escape this one thought: “Surely there’s more to life than this…”
I knew something was wrong inside of me, but I kept trying to deny it. Strangely enough, I could feel God pursuing me, reminding me of the truth of Jesus Christ, even though I didn’t want to believe in Him. Stubbornly, I just shut out His voice, hoping to find some other way to make my life complete.
I thought if I could just find the right person to marry, that would make me fulfilled and happy for the rest of my life. Or if I found success in a career, that would certainly make me feel accomplished and proud (and therefore complete). That’s what society told me – work hard, find success, find your true love, and you will be happy! But no matter where I searched or what I accomplished, I could not find what I was looking for. Time and time again, disappointment and frustration filled my heart; they covered me like a dark cloud, and I could not escape it.
The Breaking Point
But in this fog of loneliness and desperation, I finally came to my breaking point.
At that low (yet eye-opening) moment, I knew deep in my soul that there was only one way to find peace and fulfillment in life. It was through Jesus Christ…the One I had turned my back on long ago! I had searched every other option the world had offered, and they all left me empty. I now knew that Jesus was the key to climbing out of the fog and back into the light. And I felt an overwhelming sense of joy and relief rush over me.
But at the same time, I also felt like such a fool, like I had wasted so much of my life. I had been tricked by the schemes of the devil, the ultimate salesman who lifts up everything false as being true. And I had believed it all. The lie of happiness without Jesus, the lie that I was the only person who mattered, and the lie that there was nothing more to this life than what the world offers.
I had lived for such meaningless things, and I realized how wrong I had been. But at that moment, I also realized something else very important. I may have been a fool, but Satan could not take everything from me. No, he could not take my HOPE!
HOPE is alive
The godly seeds that my parents had planted in me so long ago still lived inside of me. The image of sitting on my bed with my mom and sisters, asking God into my heart at a very young age, sprang up into my memory. God had been with me since that very day, and I knew that was real. Satan couldn’t touch that…He could never snatch me out of Jesus’ hands!
And when I realized hope was still alive, I was flooded with pure thankfulness to the only One who could save me. Although I had been living in the dark, I could see light starting to shine in my life once again!
I knew I didn’t deserve Jesus or anything good. Nevertheless, I could feel His abundant love and forgiveness pouring out upon me as I repented, asking for Him to forgive me and take me back. What a wondrous and beautiful moment it was! Truly, I have experienced nothing greater in my life. I was filled with such peace, joy, and love, that I didn’t even know what to do! I sat amazed at God’s ability to reach people right where they are, even in the pit of their own sinfulness. And I could feel Him pulling me back up to LIFE!
All praise be to God for His son Jesus Christ, who reached down and saved me! I knew I could make it through this life with Him by my side. I knew that even if everything else in the world failed me, Jesus never would! He never had.
Freedom. It’s the one perfect word to describe how I felt, knowing I was no longer a slave to my own selfish desires. Instead I was a willing slave to the One who saved me and loved me. To the One who could fill my life with meaning.
From that moment on, God began growing a burning desire inside of me to know Him more. Each time I opened the Bible, I found treasures that were eternal and freeing. I began digging into His word alongside other women, and my passion for Jesus was ignited even further. I never knew I could feel such true, exhilarating joy in my life. But I realized it was now because I had my eyes on Jesus and eternity. Finally, I wasn’t just living for myself or this life. I was living for Him.
Because I know Christ, I have a joy in my heart that swells when I read the Bible, talk with other Christians, or teach my children about Jesus. But I also have a joy in my heart when I feel betrayed by someone, hurt by someone’s words, or feel like an outcast in the world – because there are no circumstances in which Jesus will leave or forsake me, not in this life or eternity. And that ensures the greatest joy of all! I want to be like the apostle Paul who said, “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.”
Christ is the Answer
Because of Christ, my heart is now set on eternity. My life is “but a breath” (Psalm 39:5) here on this earth, and I want to make each moment count. I want to share the hope of Jesus with everyone, so that like me, they can finally find the one thing they have always been longing for.
At one point in my life, I had drifted so far from God that I questioned my own salvation. My life was full of sin, and I felt completely unworthy of anything holy. But then I realized the power of God’s amazing grace. At the worst point of my life, God took me just as I was, and met me there in that pit to save me. All I had to do was say the word. And my heavenly Father welcomed me home and rejoiced with me that I had finally made it back.
Salvation is a Free Gift
Christ’s salvation is a free gift. We don’t have to work for it or try to make up for what we have done in our lives. All we have to do is come to Him with a sincere, desperate heart and say, “I need you, Savior. I can’t do this on my own.” And it doesn’t matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been; God will meet you there and take you as you are, forgiving your sins and claiming you as His own. This is the gift of God’s amazing grace. It is filled with life, hope, and everything good. And once you have this gift, you will never be the same again. Praise be to God, the One who can bring even the most desperate souls back to LIFE again!
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10
Learn more about my story by watching the video below.