I can still remember walking down the church isle, heart thumping, tears squeezing down my face. What was this reaction I was having? Was it sorrow? Shame? Whatever it was, I knew that I needed Someone in my life who was bigger than me, Someone who could pay the price I couldn’t pay for myself—I needed Jesus.
I had heard about Jesus all my life. I knew the stories. I memorized the verses. My parents engaged me with the gospel daily and I had developed a deep affection for the Lord even when I was very small. In fact, my dad even has recorded in one of my baby journals a story of me coming to them at age 3 saying, “I want to be a servant of the Lord! I want to be a Christian.” I prayed with them that night to ask Jesus to be my Savior. Even at that young age, I knew I didn’t know it all. I boldly told my parents that I thought it was best to wait until I was older to be baptized…”maybe when I was 7.” My three-year-old prediction wasn’t too far off as my eight-year-old self stepped down the aisle that Sunday morning.
At age 8, I felt a weight of sin that a three-year-old couldn’t understand. I saw my siblings accept Christ and walk down the aisle at church, but I was afraid. It was finally that Sunday morning in the spring of 2004 when my tear-streaked face knew it was time to proclaim to the world who my Savior was.
My siblings had decided to go public with their faith in the months before I did, and we were able to all be baptized on the same day by my grandfather. That was in June of 2004. I can remember my nervous excitement as I slipped on the white baptismal robe, knowing that this proclamation was permanent. It was also the best decision I ever made.
Even all these years later, I am still amazed that there is a God who left His place in heaven to come to earth and pay the price for my sins. The Son of God was humiliated, put to shame, rejected, spit upon, beaten, and crushed to take the payment I fully deserved. There was nothing I could ever do to deserve the love God gives me. The reason Christ died for all humanity is because He loved us with a passion. He loved us enough to give up His glory. As I began my relationship with this amazing God and Savior, I began to feel true peace and satisfaction. This satisfaction is unlike anything wealth or material gain could ever provide—it is the freedom from sin and guarantee of eternal life.
Even after I became a Christian, my life was far from perfect.
Almost immediately after I committed to give my life to Jesus, I was hit by a season of unexplainable and irrational fears. Most of this anxiety was stimulated by my childhood moves—leaving all the friends and places I had ever known. Within a five-year period, I had moved to four different homes and four different schooling situations. While those changes were a lot for an elementary-schooler to deal with, I can now see that it was all a part of God’s plan. Without those experiences, I would not have been forced to learn firsthand that I can trust God through any situation. I continued to be discipled in the church and by my parents. Because I was homeschooled, I had great freedom to study the Bible and be spiritually mentored by my mom. Even as a young girl, I experienced the deep freedom, peace, and provision that He offers in times of difficulty. That was a time of great maturity in my walk with Christ.
By the time I ended up at the final school in the sequence of moves, I was a freshman in high school. At this point, I had made my faith my own. I had been having consistent quiet times for over a year, my prayer life was growing, I had just completed a Bible class at my previous school, and I was eager to serve. However, I was also entering a brand-new public school in my city. I knew that the influences there may be less-than-godly. I prayed and prayed about my place there. Honestly, I didn’t want to go. But one day, I remember feeling impressed by the Lord that I was supposed to use my four years there as a missionary to my school and community. And I did just that.
High school was the time I first taught my own Bible study and embraced mentoring others. I even did a co-op with my church my senior year and organized several girls’ discipleship events. This preparation launched me into college as a strong believer. I immediately got involved in my university’s Baptist Campus Ministry as an international student Bible study leader. I also taught Bible studies for other college students and high school students through my local church. I discipled students individually as well. My college experience culminated in being President of the BCM for two years, helping oversee leadership teams of 50+ students.
College also brought about the sweet season of meeting and falling in love with Mason. That’s a story within itself. For more, read Our Story: Part 1. Our years together have been marked by much joy, sanctification, loss, and growth. God has also used my marriage to remind me of my greatest and first love – Jesus – who became my Savior those many years ago. I still pursue Him daily and His love for me becomes more tangible and needed with each passing day.
There is so much more I could say, so many more stories I could share, but I will leave it at this: God has worked through each season of my life to train me in godliness, train me in service, draw me closer to Him, and show me more of His character. Without Him, I would be nothing.