I grew up in a Christian home with two loving parents and 4 siblings. We went to church every Sunday and I always knew who God was. I always knew Him but it took me a while to actually take my faith seriously and start truly living for Him.
I went to a few different schools when I was younger, each time having to start over, and making new friends wasn’t easy for me. I gave in to peer pressure a few times trying to impress my “friends” and bullied a few people just to gain acceptance. It never did end up making me good friends, but I learned that the hard way.
During all this I continued to learn more about God and one Sunday the pastor asked if anyone would like to come to the front and pray with someone, and give their lives to God. I didn’t go to the front, but I sat there, talked to God and decided I wanted to make that choice for myself. I wanted to live for God and for a greater purpose than myself. Things didn’t change overnight but it started me on a new and exciting journey. Eventually I made some good friends, and we all went through high school together.
Things went pretty well until my last year of high school. About half way through the year I started to lose my motivation to do well in school, hang out with my friends, and eventually to do pretty much anything. I had a lot of negative thoughts, and I wondered if anyone would even miss me if I was gone.
I completely denied it at the time, but I was depressed. I slept all the time, my grades started to slip, and it became a struggle to just get through the day. I was in denial, and never told anyone what was really going on. This whole time I always knew God, knew that He loved me and that He didn’t want me to live like this. It got to the point where I had to make a choice. Was I going to sleep my life away, maybe even end it, or was I going to trust God and let Him help me?
And by the grace of God, I made that choice and finally let Him in. It didn’t happen instantly but slowly things began to change. I decided to go to Bolivia, and do Youth With A Mission (YWAM) over there. It was such a help with staying away for the depression and it seriously changed my life. (I would recommend it to anyone who wants to grow with God!) The things I learned, the people I met, what I saw and experienced, it was incredible! I will never forget those 5 wonderful months.
I learned so much about who I am in Christ and was healed from so many of the things I had been holding onto for years. I was finally free!! God changed my heart, He spoke to my soul, He invaded my mind, and He forever changed me. I came back and the culture shock was hard but it was so awesome to be able to share with my friends and family all that I experienced and what God did. I was finally able to go to Youth Church! I had good friends to come back to, supportive parents, and I got plugged in at church. I joined a small group and met some awesome new people. I got to know God in such a real, deep way; I just couldn’t get enough of Him!
I am changed. I now know God has a very specific purpose for my life and I trust Him to lead my on the path He has prepared for me. I know He’s always with me no matter what I face I am never alone. When I feel discouraged or depressed I can turn to God and I know those things do not have control of me anymore. I am forgiven! I do not have to live with the shame, because I am free. I’m not who I was and I never have to be that person again. My hope is in God and my help comes from Him. God has never let me down and He continues to work in and through me. I know I am accepted by Him and don’t have to gain acceptance from other people. He loves me like no one else. He has brought so many wonderful people into my life and even the last few years since YWAM He has continued to teach me so much and bless me over and over. I am so thankful for all He has done in my life. I can honestly say I would not be where I am or who I am today if it wasn’t for God’s love and power to save.