July 15th, 2009
It was a humid and sunny Wednesday. 13-year-old me was attending Iowa Regular Baptist Camp in Clear Lake, Iowa for the second summer in a row and having an absolute BLAST. My best friends were there making memories with me, we had great counselors, and I was enjoying hearing the Word taught during chapel time every day.
The night before, the camp preacher had given a gospel sermon, one a lot like all the others I heard growing up in the church. As I listened, I thought I knew I had all of the right answers before he even said them; that is, I sincerely believed that Christ’s perfect life, sacrificial death, and powerful resurrection were true and that knowing Jesus was the only way to get to heaven. However, on this particular night, I found myself questioning whether or not I genuinely and personally knew Jesus as my savior. Sure, I had prayed in the past on several occasions asking Jesus to take my sins away. And whenever someone asked if I was saved, I always thought that these prayers were definitely getting me into heaven.
I can only give credit to the Holy Spirit for opening my eyes in that pew that night. I sat quietly as Jesus began tugging on my heart. I suddenly knew that despite all of my head knowledge, my heart, the deepest part of my being, had never truly been changed. I was not living a life where I trusted Christ as savior and obeyed Him as king of my life. I was trusting in past actions to save me, but that evening I realized that no good act on my part could save me from my sinful self, only the blood of Christ. My good works were rags next to the greatness of His sacrifice. I sat in bed after chapel that night wrestling over this truth, and finally decided I would talk to my counselor and trusted friend, Hannah, the next day about what I was thinking.
So, on that mid-July Wednesday, I told Hannah that I wasn’t sure if I really knew Jesus and that I wanted to make sure right away that I would get to spend eternity with Him in heaven. She was ecstatic and prayed with me immediately, and I was overjoyed because I knew I had truly given up my heart to the only One worth giving it over to. The prayer itself did not save me, but I was so happy to tell Jesus that I was responding in my heart to his gift of salvation. After praying together, Hannah read me a verse that I still love to this day.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20 ESV
Also, here’s a picture of the two of us shortly after we prayed together:
Oh, happy day!
July 15th, 2015
I cannot believe it has been SIX WHOLE YEARS since that glorious summer day.
So much good and bad has happened since then. But! I am writing this post to shout to the world that God was so faithful to me through all of the great and horrible times these past several years.
Right after I became a Christian, I loved the Lord dearly and showed it in the way I lived my life. There were many days when I thought to myself, How did I ever live without Christ? And how could I ever live a life other than the one I’m living now because of Him? I was so excited to spend the rest of my days on earth and in heaven getting to know Jesus better and living for His glory.
However, high school brought a whole new set of struggles and temptations. I was very insecure and started using the things of the world to make me whole instead of God. I threw myself into trying to be well-liked, getting personal glory for my talents, keeping up my appearance, and having a boyfriend. I was giving parts of myself away to each thing I worshipped and leaving none for my King.
In the fall of my junior year, all of the things I had been worshipping fell out from under me. I was brutally rejected by a guy I had given way too much of myself to only to get nothing in return. I did not make the auditioned choir at my high school, and I didn’t know who I was if I wasn’t being recognized for my talent. I had gained a lot of weight from the stress. I had lost a lot of friends because of said destructive relationship. I was a mess and couldn’t believe that God would want me back because I knew that I had willfully rejected Him over and over as I continued in my sin.
Thankfully, (hallelujah hallelujah!) God did not give up on me. He placed great people in my life who reminded me that God would always take me back. He reminded me of how my life had been before I started chasing empty things and gently pulled me back toward Himself.
I distinctly remember praying one night so hard that I felt like my soul was rattling. I cried out to God and simply asked Him to help me because I was so torn apart and could barely put my thoughts together.
Truth: Our God will take our broken hearts, but my pastor always says that He wants every single piece. I gave my heart back over to Him that night.
What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means!
Romans 3:3-4a ESV
Even since that time in my life I have rebelled and sinned. It’s been a rocky road at times, but God has never given up on me. He has kindly, but forcefully, removed sin that had a strong grip on me in high school from my life. He’s given me a newfound joy in serving Him and a purpose in following Him. He, as I mentioned in my first post, led me to Emmaus Bible College to learn more about Him. He has made me a completely new person. I could go on and on.
I am so thankful that our God never gives up on us. We are flawed and human and could never continue our walk with Him solely by our own strength, but God does not leave us on our own. What a wonderful God we serve!
Lord, THANK YOU for these past 6 years. Thank you for making me your daughter and a citizen of heaven. Thank you for never giving up on your people.
And thank you all for reading! I’ll end with this:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV