My whole life I have known who God is; I grew up in the church that my Mom had gone to since the age of 3. I spent every Sunday there. I was baptized at the age of 11 because I wanted to go to Heaven, where everything was great unlike the thought of Hell. Even though I was a "Christian" then, I wouldn't say that I had much of a relationship with Christ until high school, but more so a true relationship with Him now in college. I didn't even begin to understand how He desires for us to know Him.

I have always known all the Bible stories, and always known that God loves me, but I never truly understood what that really meant. I was a huge perfectionist (and still sometimes struggle with that), and always had to have everything go perfectly as I planned.

Most aspects of my life worked out how I thought they would: I was on varsity from my freshman year up in volleyball and softball, had a 4.0 GPA, attended GSP, and got accepted into UK. I had always been a "perfect" child as well, to say the least I was a goody-two shoes who was scared to ever do anything wrong for how I would look to others and how I wouldn’t hold the expectations my parents held for me as well (though looking back at it, I am extremely thankful for them, and for that).

I held every expectation that was placed upon me, and I never really realized the stress that I would be placing on myself to be this perfect person, this girl that was so amazing from the outside, and that would then also look great on the inside too. I had a pretty good relationship with Christ in high school, I prayed to Him, posted about how blessed I was because of Him, and made sure everyone knew that I was a Christian, but it wasn't until college that I really realized what a relationship with Him meant.

When I got into college, I realized quickly that it wasn’t as easy as high school. Yes, I still made great grades, but they weren’t all coming back as the A’s I was so used to in high school. This was a huge change for me to adjust too, because I wasn’t as perfect as I had always planned for.

On top of that, I quickly realized that my dream of being a pharmacist since 7th grade was no longer something that sounded pleasing to me. Realizing this was such a scary thing for me, it had always been a part of my plan: go to GSP, graduate, go to UK, get into pharmacy school, become a pharmacist. But that plan was long far gone. I freaked my parents out too to say the least.

In the midst of this madness that I had now been placed in, I realized that my plans were nothing compared to His plans. My parents and I both knew that I still wanted to do something healthcare related and to work with kids, but had no idea what to do from there. I had come across Proverbs 16 at this time in my life, and wow, what a blessing that chapter was to me. It spoke to me in so many ways, and made me realize that trusting in Him, would give me all that I ever needed, because He had already determined my steps.

He knew what I was going to do, before I even thought of it. I realized during this time as well, how great God is with the people and the small things He places in our lives; yes, my parents were so worried about what I was going to do now, but the Lord blessed me with amazing, loving parents, who actively searched through different options for what I wanted to do based off my passions in life. Not only that, but the small things He places throughout our lives that are blessings, that we don’t even begin to realize.

Throughout this whole crazy mess, I realized how deeply I am loved and cared for, and I received such peace because of it; and how much better it is in our lives to turn to Him for everything that we need. I didn’t have to be perfect. By having a relationship with Christ, and having faith in Him, I am seen as perfect in my Father’s eyes. I don’t have to strive to be anything, I just have to believe in Him, and His love, to be the best that I can ever imagine of being.

My life didn’t radically change as in a dramatic way after truly surrendering to God, but who I am inside, and who I rely on (no longer myself), has changed. I now have a greater peace when it comes to thinking of the near or far future, because I now know that no matter what struggles that may come my way, if I keep my eyes on Him, everything will work out to His plan. I have this peace and true joy now, because of Him, and my relationship with Him. I daily try to put my focus on Him, recognizing that all the small things throughout my day, and the big things as well, can be accounted for thanks to Him and how He is working in my life.

I still struggle daily with insecurities, singleness and trying to be the best I can be, but now I’m not striving for myself, but instead striving to be like Christ, because that is what I am called to do (though most of the time I fail miserably.) I think the biggest thing I have come to realize, especially with college, is that yes God is my Father, but He is also a friend. And to grow in a relationship with Him like that, realizing that He is 3 in 1, far greater than anything I can fathom, but also a friend, has allowed me to trust deeper and to grow deeper in my walk with Him; knowing that in all aspects of my life, He is always there, and desires to know me.

Read more stories like Caitlin's on our Story Page



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