On November 1st of 2018, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. This past year has been so fruitful as I have grown closer to the Lord and learned who He is. However, that is another story. The story I am telling today is my path to Christ; the story of my rejection and ultimate redemption.
I was raised in a small church that sat at the end of a gravel road. This is where I learned about God for the first time from the middle aged women who taught the children of a Lord who was to be feared. I learned about Hell and how it was a place where people were sent to suffer after they died. At five years old I was told that I would be going to Hell, no matter what I did. They never spoke the name of Jesus.
My family eventually stopped going to church and I had acquired an unhealthy fear of the Lord. To me He was not The Father, but an an unforgiving punisher. I thought I knew who He was and I wanted nothing to do with Him. I remember in late elementary school being filled with dread at the mention of His existence.
In middle school I learned about atheism. I talked to students who were confident that there could not be a God because it did not line up with science. I welcomed this belief, as it allowed me to cast aside my fear as meaningless. I shouldn’t be scared because there is nothing to be scared of. However, deep down I knew that He was real, because my anxieties did not go away. I used my atheist friends to hide from what I knew: that I was going to Hell.
There was one exception to my rule of not being friends with Christians. Her name was Amber. For a long time I ran from her too, except she kept appearing. We would be paired up to work on a project together or our friends would be friends. I knew that we were supposed to be close, and according to her she knew she this too. I eventually gave in and when we were sophomores in high school we became best friends.
Amber would always try to share the Gospel with me, but I would always change the subject. Until one night the summer before our first year of college, when the Lord decided He would not let me run away from Him any longer. As we were sitting on my couch I brought up my fear of God. I could not control my tears as I cried that I was going to go to Hell. That is when Amber was finally able to share who God really was with me, that He is not only powerful and just, but loving and full of grace. After that night, I started to go to church and a campus ministry with her. I attended Bible studies and participated in the discussion. Within a few months I knew that He loved me and that Jesus was my Savior. Yet, I still did not profess my faith. I was much less informed on Him and Scripture than the other girls my age, and I thought I was less good than them. This is what leads us to November 1st of last year. The leader of my Bible study wanted to meet with me and Amber. On her living room floor, she told me how if we waited to be deserving of God’s grace to accept it, we would never get it. She told me that God had already proposed to me and I was leaving Him without an answer. He loved me and wanted me. I was done running. On that rainy evening I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior with Amber and my Bible study leader as my witnesses.
I have spent this past year trying to grow closer to Him. He has brought peace and purpose to my life. We are so lucky to have a God who chases us, even when we run from Him. Jesus Christ is the true love of my life.
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