I was saved on February 12, 2005. I’ll never forget that date… (partly because it is my dads and my (late) grandmothers birthday). But, I’ll never forget that day because that was the day that I first heard the gospel and accepted Jesus into my life and heart.
I was 11 years old and in 6th grade. My sister was the one who invited me to tag along to a youth group that she was invited to by one of her friends from school.
I’ll never forget that night and the teaching that the youth pastor shared with us… I remember him using the analogy of God carrying us on a very narrow and broken bridge over a river. He expressed how the only way to get across safe was to be carried in God’s arms.
We couldn’t walk behind God because there’s no way he could see if we were to trip and fall and he wouldn’t be able to catch us in time… there was no way we could walk in front of God because what if we decide to do our own thing and end up falling or tripping? The only way was to let God carry us…
I remember seeing that narrow and broken bridge as my life and I instantly knew that no matter who I was or who I would become as I grew older, I felt the deep yearning and desperate need for Jesus… in that moment, I emotionally, spiritually, and physically felt my brokenness be repaired as I asked Jesus into my life.
After that day, my sister and I went to church and a youth group with her friends every week. I became obsessed and in love with the Bible and who Jesus is. I was sold out.
I don’t remember exactly when I walked away from the lord… but I did during my high school years and I lived like I never knew Him…
I cussed like a sailor, I disobeyed my parents by lying all the time, I drank, smoked weed, I partied, and I lived a life where I thought I had all the answers and knew it all…
By most of the worlds standards, many would say I was a good student and a nice person all around… (I would think “yeah I might do some stuff but I’ve never killed anyone!) but deep down, I always felt lost, alone, and like I was never good enough.
Flash forward to when I was 17 years old and graduated from high school. I enlisted into the army and started my journey in the military. My whole life and who I was changed drastically once I became a soldier. (I say that in a good and amazing way) I loved the army life and knew that I was always meant to do that.
As I was in boot camp, I carried a little pocket bible and would read it from time to time. Some days were really bad in boot camp… feeling homesick and getting pushed to your limit physically and mentally all day, everyday… sometimes the only comfort that would help was thinking about God. I still felt far away and didn’t have a desire or actual full on surrender to Him, but just reading certain scriptures and thinking about Him gave me a familiar comfort that helped on my bad days. (I think that was when God was slowly calling me back to him)
As I came home from training and started my young adult life, the absence of Jesus in my life worsened.
I went back to drinking and getting drunk… and I hated who i was when I was drunk. I used to push my limits and drink until I would blackout. (Looking back, I don’t see how I NEVER saw the danger in that)
I started hooking up with guys and chasing and wanting to be with the wrong ones. It was like I was only attracted to guys who wanted to use me and never wanted to actually be with me or treat me right. I was 19 when I lost my virginity to a short term boyfriend. I cringe and my heart breaks when I think about how I never wanted to lose it at that time and to that person.
I remember my way of thinking at that time in my life… I let myself believe that I enjoyed the random hook ups and different guys.
I tried to tell myself that it was empowering to do “what I wanted to do” with my body and that I controlled all of those situations, so it ultimately made me happy… but deep down, I knew it wasn’t true.
Throughout my young adult life, I spent so much time trying to do good things and I tried to impress people. I was a workaholic, i went to the gym and hot yoga 6x week and twice a day, and I buried myself in school work.And I did all of this with the wrong intentions. I did it to feel worthy and good enough. I did it to get a pat on the back and to get applause. I did it because I didn’t feel good about myself and I didn’t know how to truly see and find my worth.
I was so used to living a life that revolved around me and worldly values that I felt numb to anything that related to Jesus.
I never doubted or denied my belief in God, but I started to believe weird and untrue things about it all… I was a total page ripper (when I decided to read or look at a bible)
I remember saying that I believed in God and a “higher power” but I didn’t believe in religion or everything in the Bible. I was totally lukewarm and only picked parts from Christianity that sounded good.. (like heaven and blessings and miracles) I denied the big picture and what I had known to be true when I was surrendered to the lord.
My breaking point:
I guess you could say my breaking point was when I had started talking and seeing a guy that I previously dated and really cared about. I wanted a relationship with him and I wanted to be the only one. But of course, that never happened.
He broke my heart. And after hoping and going back to him time after time, I finally cut him off for good and promised myself to never see or talk to him again.
I cut ties with him, and I felt “heartbroken” and sad for probably 2 weeks straight. I would be fine one minute, then cry the next because my emotions were all over the place… then after having cut ties with him, little things started to change…
I remember telling my friends that I was done partying and getting drunk and that I no longer saw the fun in that. I realized I shouldn’t be smoking weed and running around with guys.
I woke up one morning on an April day and my mood went from sad and mopey to happy, healed, and hopeful… I even remember waking up that morning and even laughing and thinking “this is kinda weird that I feel so different and hopeful!” But it was like I instantly knew that things were looking up…
I believe this was where God started to pave my way back to him…
(My heart flutters and I smile just thinking about it all)
I was working as an intern at a doctors office and the office manager there was a believer and her husband was a pastor… She had a gentle and sweet spirit and was always talking about Jesus to people. I remember listening to the things she would say and it took me back to “my church days”. It was a comfort to talk to her and listen to her speak of Jesus.
Then, one day I started talking to the cutest old Spanish couple who were patients there. I don’t remember exactly how the conversation started, but they mentioned their church and I blurted out that I just felt like I needed to go back to church and start fellowship again with other believers. They both encouraged me by telling me different scriptures and just explaining that God wants nothing more than for me to go back to Him.
It all happened without me even thinking about it but when it happened it always felt familiar and just like what I needed.
God continued his work and I never fully realized it…
One day I was on Facebook and saw a familiar face on the “people you may know” section. It said he lived in the same town as me and we went to the same high school and he was also in the same branch of the military as me…
So I added him and he messaged me and the first thing he said to me was that he was saved and was going to a local church and he invited me..
I remember thinking “what a coincidence” but nothing is by chance with God… I took him up on his offer about 3 weeks after we connected on facebook and after we started dating, and my first time back at church I surrendered my heart to the lord again.
I was 20 going on 21 when I decided I was done with my old life and I was ready to really live for the lord.
It was a tough transition.. to go from worldly and careless to fully surrendered to God as an adult.
I lost friends (one of my closest friends), I was teased, mocked, and made fun of for my choice to live for The Lord, and I deeply struggled (and still do) with lots of sin that I was so used to before.
Though it was a tough transition, it was the best time of my life. I felt healed, worthy, enough, and I began to build my relationship with God again. I started to understand him more now as an adult and my life became complete with Him in it.
I remember gaining weight and only working one job and it was because my worth and acceptance was in Christ and NOT in my appearance or achievements! I felt such a huge burden lifted from me and I felt FREE.
I’m crying as I look back on my life… I made so many mistakes and am so unworthy, yet Jesus STILL loved me and chose me. He died in my place simply because he loves me and so that I could know Him.
My life and my mistakes may not be bad or a big deal to the world and some people… but to Gods standards and to the biblical standard, they are.
And I know there is a sweeter, better, and fuller life for me when I live it for Christ.
I remember asking one of my friends from church if I was ever even saved at 11 years old… I doubted it because of how far I walked away from the lord after that… he said what makes a saved person is the fact that you return and go back to God.
My heart and spirit smile knowing that the whole time that I walked away from God, I was still pursued, loved, and chosen by him.
I am free in Christ, I am saved by his grace. I’m so undeserving and I don’t deserve his mercy, but my heart bursts with joy knowing that I am made in His image and forever loved and complete in Him.
What’s your testimony?❤️