Part 2 : My Testimony
Here's the thing about being 18, its tough. I remember feeling like a little tiny fish in a big fat ocean. Not knowing who I am or what I want. Trying to figure all this out and becoming an adult is so much pressure. I remember it was about this time that I was partying a lot, drinking almost every night and just being young, wild, and free. And it was fun for a while, until I really realized I had gotten nowhere in my search for who I was or what I wanted. I felt empty and alone in a room full of people, some of my favorite people, and I still felt the ache for more. Honestly, I started going to church as another social event. Technically speaking, I had come to Christ when I was 12 at a Billy Graham concert, though I had no idea what that meant. Even then, I had this deep desire to be a part of something. I think to an extent, that was always a drive for a lot of things for me. Thankfully though, God knew how to use that for good.
I was a very typical girl who just wanted to fit in, always wanted to be liked and be popular. In so many ways, I have always been a natural born leader, but in so many other ways I am just such a follower. I especially struggled with this in jr high and high school. In Clovis, being a Christian was cool, so that really made me want to be a part of this whole youth group business. I bounced around to a couple places where I would try to be good and do everything I should. Inevitably I would mess up though and be too embarrassed to go back. Once I realized I wasn't good at this whole being a Christian thing, I decided I would just be a good person and find something I was good at. I was good at partying. I instantly felt cooler when I drank and dressed scantily. I was getting that affirmation from everyone that I had craved. At some point, you stop feeling guilty too. In the beginning, don't get me wrong, I was so scared of getting caught, but somewhere along the way, that fear disappeared. My rebellious streak made my new lifestyle that much easier.
Further down the road though, I realized that the affirmation I had been receiving, was conditional. The worst thing about wordly love is that it always wants more from you and ultimately it's empty. Thats what I felt, empty. I hated who I had become in so many ways, but I was too afraid of failure again. That's when I started going to The Well. I loved it. I felt welcome as I was, but that I was meant for more, that where I was then wasn't a reflection of who I truly am. I am a child of the one true God. It was a slow, painful, joyful, messy road to being freed from the pile of sin I had been living in. I would love to say it was easy, but it wasn't. Sin knows your name and calls you back to your depravity. But Jesus never leaves. He was patient & persistent with making me see myself as he saw me the day I gave my life to Him, washed white as snow. Most of us who have walked on the wild side and seen the depths of our depravity cling to those words, because how can a holy God see me as pure? But He does.
In June of 2010, I chose to make my love & commitment to Christ public. I love this great candid of me being baptized by my pastor Jared Rumley & my sister Cait.
The struggle to fully forgive others who had wronged me or hurt me was difficult, but ultimately it was me that I needed to forgive. The struggle to forgive myself for all the years of mistakes and things I had regretted was gut wrenching and humbling. It broke me. That was the time in my life that I really found out who Jesus is. He had already forgiven me, for all my sins past and present. It was only through really diving deep into God's word did I fully grasp who Jesus truly was, what the cost of sin was and how it had already been paid. I was missing that root of truth in my life, I had fallen in love with God's written word, giving me the compass for my soul that the world could never give me. Rooted in love, through Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells in me, healing each piece of my broken heart. It was then that I realized my beauty and strength in being who I was in Christ.
I am so thankful for the way that The Lord works. I have learned that there is no time for regret or shame, because God uses our mistakes for good. He is the only redeemer who can set you free from your past. Through the pain of my journey, God has used it to come alongside other girls just like me, speaking promises of redemption. It has given me a heart and understanding for struggling to find who you are, what you stand for, and the battle of self that it takes to surrender your life daily to live as Christ has called us to.
There is beauty & strength in humility. What I was hoping to show through all of this is that I humbly proclaim Christ's work in my life. That His strength can be shown in all of my weakness and the power of healing that the Holy Spirit & The Bible holds.
Thank you for your love and support as I share my heart.