I remember it like it was yesterday. With eyes squeezed shut, nestled underneath the covers, my 16 year-old self prayed that God would change my life forever. I had grown up in the church. I was baptized at the age of 8 and attended Sunday school every Sunday morning. But it wasn’t until I went on my church’s High School trip that summer that I realized just who Jesus was to me, who He wanted to be for me. Twice a day, for five days straight during that trip, I learned that Jesus didn’t want to just fit into my schedule once a week. I realized that He wasn’t a far off God who sits on His throne in Heaven, just peering down over us from above. I began to understand that He knew every single thing about me, that He loved me, and that He created me for intimacy with Him.
But I was really messy. I was the girl who woke up early every morning and straightened her hair and put on a full face of makeup so boys in my class would notice me. I craved attention and love from just about whoever came along. I also struggled with anxiety and carried a lot of baggage from family trauma as a child. I had “daddy issues” and trust issues and a long list of things I wished I could change about myself. But most importantly, I had a really hard time wrapping my head around the fact that the Creator of the Universe wanted to be a part of my everyday life.
But Jesus took me seriously when I asked Him to change my life, to change me from the inside out and not leave me as He found me. He began to convict me of certain behavior patterns and would gently point out things that He wanted to work on with me. He spoke a new identity over me. A girl who once viewed herself as unworthy and guilty began to see herself as chosen and redeemed. I realized that the anxiety I had always struggled with was something He wanted to free me from, and my family’s past wasn’t our baggage, but a testament to His goodness. He began to change my desires to things that were honorable and pleasing to Him.
Then something strange happened: I began to fall in love. I fell in love with the same God who put the stars in the sky and spoke the earth into motion. I found myself spending hours in my room alone listening to worship music, watching sermons online, or pouring out my heart to Him over pages in my journal. I realized He had done just what I asked Him to; He changed my life.
And it would be really easy to sit here and say that life has been smooth sailing ever since and that I never struggled with anything ever again. But I would be lying. The truth is that I am human. We are all human. But thankfully, we serve a God who is not. That night when I prayed for God to change me from the inside out, He left a fingerprint on my heart and I will never be the same. Instead of struggling with things alone, I partner with Him. He showers me with His grace daily, and He walks beside me, correcting me, forgiving me, loving me. He shows me who I am and He gently molds me into the woman He created me to be. With every growing pain, nudge of conviction, and flood of His adoration, I praise Him that He doesn’t leave things the way He found them.