My life has been blessed from the get-go. For 18 years I grew up in Indiana’s safest town, Zionsville. The majority of my family lived right around central Indiana, allowing us to see each other throughout the week and every Sunday after church for lunch. There were familiar faces everywhere I went and always a kind word to be given.
We were a typical small town family. My mom was my best friend, I was (and still am) daddy’s little girl, I have an older brother whom I look up to very much, and a black cat named Molly who is almost 16 years old now. Both of my parents had jobs, my brother and I were involved in various sports, and we attended church every Sunday.
When I was younger, church wasn’t something that was a big deal to me since we were there every week. So I knew that I loved God, but I didn’t know for myself why. This wasn’t anything I even thought about until August of 2005.
My dad was in the community band with my grandpa and we were at our church for their concert that evening. During one of their songs I heard a man from the back yell, “Somebody call 911!”. I turned around and saw my great grandmother fall to the ground as she was having a heart attack. I was only 7 at the time but I can still clearly remember the paramedics rushing in and trying to save her, and a member of my church stroking my hair and telling me that God loves me and that everything was going to be alright.
The next few months were the hardest as we visited my great grandmother in the nursing home until the day that she passed away. These were my first memories of God. I wondered why He would have let something so terrible happen right inside of our church…right inside of His house.
As time went on and I had begun middle school, I started to more deeply explore my relationship with God. I was involved in the youth group, went on church retreats, and was confirmed. Middle school is not an easy time for anyone including myself. From bullying I developed a very negative image of myself (which I still struggle with today) and became angry with everyone.
One night after I had acted out and had a big fight with my parents, I laid down in my bed and I cried to God. I remember praying to Him and asking Him why He made me this way, and telling Him that I didn’t want to be this person that brought so much pain to my family.
The next morning, I woke up and it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I knew that God had come into my heart that night and had shared with me His eternal love. My parents immediately noticed a difference in my behavior, and our relationship started to be built up again.
I was thankful that I knew for myself that I could go to God when I was drowning and He would save me. God works in strange ways, though, that we might not always understand, and in 2010 my Grandma Judy developed breast cancer.
Just after our family seemed to be back to normal, we were once again being torn apart. With countless appointments, nights of sleepless worry, and the fear of the unknown, tensions always seemed to be high. My grandma and I were best friends and so I was hurt that God was trying to take her away from me.
My grandma was such a fighter though, and after many nights of prayer she ended up beating her fight against cancer. My family was overjoyed. We came to realize that all of the fighting was pointless and that family is the most important thing that any of us could ever hope for.
Just like that, I was able to know the bad place we had started and finally see God’s plan that He had all along.
This past summer I got a tattoo on my back to carry around with me as I embark on the crazy journey we call college and life. It is a sideways cross, symbolizing that God has procured our salvation and how we need to pick up the cross and continue on with His work. Under the cross is my favorite Bible verse, Psalm 27:1, “With God on my side, I am fearless, afraid of no one and nothing,” and under that is a dove which represents the peace that He has brought into my life. It is on my back because no matter what has happened in the past, God has always had my back and He is always watching out for me.
Let go and Let God is a phrase I have now come to live by because I know that I am one of God’s children. With a father like Him, as long as I give all my trust and love to Him, nothing can go wrong.
God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.