Sunday, February 6, 2011

"I once was lost, but now I'm found. Was blind, but now I see"

So this is the story of how the Lord held onto me even when I let go of Him. I grew up in a Christian home and went to church on Sundays. I knew the story. I was taught that God sent His son to die on the cross for our sins, so that we could have a relationship with Him, but I never had the relationship part. I was especially blessed with my "Jesus-freak"Aunt and my "crazy Christian" grandmother who I spent my summer's with. Looking back I am so incredibly grateful for their influence in my life and for how deeply they wanted me to know Jesus' love for me. I may not have understood their passion then, but now I am eternally thankful.

Highschool was really rough for me. I kind of put God in a little box and reserved Him for special occasions when I really needed help. I prayed a lot, but the focus wasn't on God, it was on me, my life, my problems. I was very selfish. I had a boyfriend of two years who was my best friend and had been there for me through my dads cancer and other tough situations. When we broke up I really struggled with depression and low self esteem. My friendships also suffered, because no one really wants to be friends with someone who is depressed all the time. I really just didn't like who I was. Senior year things improved a bit, but I just kept hoping that I would be truly happy once I got to college and had the freedom to make my own decisions.

I was so excited to start new at college and build a new reputation as a “happy, popular, fun, intelligent, shes got it all together, sorority girl”. I had only been at college for about two months when I realized that freedom can be deceiving. The "freedom" of making my own decisions and doing whatever I wanted when I wanted, still left me feeling empty and aching with the feeling that something was still missing. I had alcohol, I had boys, I had "fun", I had friends, I had money, people liked me, I had looks, I had the good grades, I was "happy", but I was plagued by the feeling that there had to be something more. I knew that God was still missing, but I felt too far away from Him and didn't know how to bridge that gap. I was just never truly happy, maybe for a while, but it was only temporary. I was constantly searching for something to make me feel alive.  

Around the end of September is when God really started pursuing my heart. I went to Alpha Chi’s Bible study for the first time and I just started crying because God really convicted me of my sinful lifestyle and how empty I felt. These girls just radiated Christ's love and were joyful despite their difficult circumstances. The next week I heard Marian Jordan speak on how the only thing that will ever truly fulfill you is God’s love, and that really struck me to be truth. One night I realized that the happiest people I knew were Christians who truly had a relationship with Jesus. My Aunt and my grandmother were always so joyful, and I had never understood it. I realized that I wanted that relationship with Jesus that Marian Jordan had talked about, I wanted to be fulfilled by God, I wanted to be forgiven. I decided that I had tried everything else, so maybe I should try the God thing. In the weeks following, God began to change my heart. All of a sudden I had a new intense desire to seek Him. I wanted to know everything I could. I had this new crazy longing to go to Bible study, to go to church. A love grew in my heart for Him.

This past year has been a beautiful journey of transformation. I began to surrender every area of my life to the Lord, and He has taken it and made it into something beautiful. He literally replaced my sinful desires with a desire to know Him. Jesus replaced my insecurity with security in His love. He has given me forgiveness from my sins. He has replaced my depression with JOY. In Christ I found true FREEDOM, because I am not enslaved to sin. He has paid the price to set me free & I have never felt more alive! 

How could I not love the One who set me free?! I promise you that He is better than anything this world has to offer. Even my worst days now are a million times better because my hope is in Him. I know that I might fail, but He cannot. We were created by Him and designed for a relationship with Him. He loves us so deeply despite the fact that He is holy and we are sinful. He wants a relationship with every one of us. He sent His son to die on the cross so that our sins would be forgiven, so that we could be blameless in his sight. He allows us to have a relationship with Himself, the God who created the universe! All you have to do is believe that Christ died so you could be forgiven. Just ask and He can give you a new a heart and freedom from all of your emotional baggage and sins. It's the best decision I've ever made. It's so good that I can't keep it to myself.