What’s my story? Hm, well that seems pretty vague, now doesn’t it? I would like to specify this is the beginning of my love story with God. This is how I was wooed and pursued.
I had grown up in a nondenominational church the majority of my childhood years. I prayed Jesus into my heart when I was three and continued to do so out of fear that he had left after the times I misbehaved. I grew up understanding the story of Jesus and his life on this earth. I thought that was all I had to do; just pray the prayer and believe. I could have the best of both worlds, or so I thought. I could share the throne of my heart with Jesus, and only apply his commands when it was convenient. I called him my Savior, but never my Lord.
This theology carried over into my adolescent years, as well. When high school hit, I still thought I was “okay,” since God’s grace covered me, since I had prayed him into my heart when I was a toddler. I thought faith was enough, and even if I had had a genuine faith, there was no fruit to show for it. At that time, I had assumed the role of “the good Christian girl” in my friend groups. My peers were more impure and less faithful in comparison, so I convinced myself that I was still right with God because I was “better” than my friends. I had not opened my Bible at all. I sporadically prayed when I needed something from God. I brought up scripture only so I could initiate debates with atheists and nonbelievers. Even as I partook in a sinful and indulgent lifestyle, I told myself I was still a good person on the grand scale of things. My path only grew darker as I continued down the journey of public high school. I was almost to my breaking point.
During this part of my life, I had also been suffering from a father that abused, stalked, and threatened my family. I was living in a state of fear, even after my mother, sister and I had run away. Divorce papers, Child Protective Services, and therapy came and went. I had found ways to cope, though. I buried myself in multiple jobs. I joined four different choirs and stayed late for practices, so I wouldn’t have to go home. I ranted about life with my friends. I went on online dating sites to feel secure about myself. I remember how dark everything felt. I remember contemplating what the Earth would be without me. I remember the hatred I had for people and for myself. I was at an all-time low, and I hadn’t even realized it until years later.
My freshman year of college was just around the corner, and I was ready to go to Texas State University (eat em’ up cats!) in the fall. I knew I had to get back to God. I made it a priority in my mind to find an organization that would help me rekindle my Christianity. I was searching for more than a way to get involved on campus or make friends in a new foreign place. I was seeking truth. I attended countless churches, Christian ministries, and bible studies, but all seemed to fall short of my desire to find God.
Then, one day, I met a girl, Zoe, by literally running from our mutual English class on one side of campus to a shared algebra lecture on the other side, all in the span of five minutes. We both walked in to the lecture hall late and sweaty, forced to sit on the floor since all of the seats had been taken. At the end of the class, she asked me if I was interested in any organizations on campus, specifically Christian ones. She told me she was searching, too, and had found a ministry that did personal bible studies with her. She then proceeded to invite me to sit in on her bible study after class and meet the girls studying with her.
Long story short (and yes, this is already a long story. I’m shortening it even more!), I ended up studying the Bible with three girls apart of a campus ministry called Alpha Omega. Truthfully, I joined half because the girls were so nice, and half because the ministry name sounded like a cool sorority. Zoe ended up walking away from the studies, but I continued forward, growing more and more thirsty for knowledge and biblical understanding. We covered a multitude of topics regarding what the Word was and how I could apply it to my life. I was coasting along the studies, happy to be refreshing my relationship with God, until one day, a topic was brought up that I did not agree with. That topic was my salvation.
I argued. I took the Bible out of context to try to prove a point. I walked away. Most of all, though, for the first time in my life, I questioned. I questioned if what I thought I knew was truth, if I truly wasn’t living a life worthy of the calling of God, and if I was saved. To combat these ponderings, though, I didn’t go to the Bible or God at first, I went to family and friends. I begged them to tell me what my itching ears wanted to hear – that I was saved and not subject to eternity in hell. And they did. They told me I was fine, that I was a good person, and in comparison to a lot of people in the world, I was one of the best “Christians” out there. I wanted to believe them and feel fulfilled by their words, but I wasn’t. Somewhere, deep down I knew that something was off. I was just too scared to acknowledge it.
My turning point was realizing that I had to stop using people’s assumptions of my salvation to convince myself that that was how God saw me, too. I broke down in my dorm room as it finally clicked. Everything made sense. My faith was never followed through with action and my life did not reflect Jesus. There is more to salvation and a relationship with God than just a knowledgeable belief. For hours, I researched everything that I had disagreed with, only this time, I had an open mind. I opened my Bible on my own, for one of the first times, and my world was changed. Why would I continue to fight the Word if it was God-breathed truth? I would only be fighting God himself, and how futile that would prove to be! After I had finally had my eyes opened, I repented and was baptized and REDEEMED! My sins were washed away, and I became a new creation December 13, 2016!
And the crazy part is, after that, God was not the only one pursuing, anymore. I reciprocated the love of God, too, and the story of how he wooed me became a foundational testimony to reveal how and why I follow Him. He’s far from finished! He continues to transform my mind and desires as I grow near to Him. If anything, this story is just a prologue to how he softened my heart to be open to receiving his passionate pursuits.