Written by: Madison Trower
I was the kid that grew up in the church. I grew up in a Christian family with parents and siblings who knew Jesus, went to a private Christian school, and went to church every Sunday and youth group every Wednesday. Jesus was everywhere I went.
When I was around six or seven years old, I realized that everyone else I knew had a relationship with the Lord, so I wanted one too. I said a prayer when I was little but I didn’t know or fully understand what I was doing. Looking back, that’s the moment that I thought was my salvation.
Fast-forward to middle school. I had never doubted my relationship with the Lord until I went on a retreat with my church and heard my friend’s testimony. She described her “moment with Jesus” and how she felt such guilt and shame from her sin, just as a small child, and realized that she couldn’t live her life anymore without Him. She invited Him into her heart and entered into a relationship with Him and was instantly filled with joy and peace.
Hearing my friend’s testimony terrified me. It rocked my very core. That was the moment I realized that I had never experienced a “moment with Jesus,” a moment where I gave it all to God and invited Him into my heart. But, I never admitted that to myself because the thought of not knowing Jesus terrified me. Everyone around me knew Him, and everyone around me thought I knew Him too. On the outside, it seemed like I was the perfect example of a perfect Christian, and I was too embarrassed to admit the truth to myself or to anyone else.
The next year I spent my life in fear and doubt. I never mentioned my doubts to anyone else because I was too afraid to vocalize it. Vocalizing it would make it real. I started getting uncomfortable during church. Every time there was a call to the altar to accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, I would want to do anything just to get out of there. Whenever I thought of the Lord, I felt anxiety and worry. This went on for a while. I started to feel like I had no purpose in the world. I started to feel useless, and wondered why am I here on this earth? I remember one week I didn’t want to get out of bed anymore, I didn’t see a point because my heart just felt so hopeless.
Finally, that same week, I texted my mom because I couldn’t take it anymore. My mom was, and still is, someone who I can always share my heart freely with. I texted her one morning before school and asked her if we could talk about the doubt I was feeling and my relationship with God. She texted me back right away and said she’d love to talk and that we’d go to Starbucks after school and talk about everything. I remembered being really hesitant and nervous to talk to my mom because I was about to vocalize my doubts, and that was so scary to me.
We pulled into Starbucks and she started asking me questions. The most important question that she asked me was, “What do you think of when you see the cross?” This question left me speechless. I saw the cross every day, everywhere I went. I didn’t have an answer for her. I had become numb to the cross. I didn’t think of anything when I saw the cross, it was just another object to me. Then my mom said, “Imagine if you were there, 2,000 years ago, at the foot of the cross, at Jesus’ feet as He is beaten and bleeding to death, and He looks down to you and says, ‘Madison, I am doing this for you because I love YOU.’” This broke me. That’s when I realized I had missed something. I had never realized that God loved ME.
I never realized how personal the cross was. I’d heard the story of the cross a million times, but I had missed the part where it was about ME too. Then Christ spoke Isaiah 43:1 over me, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” He used this to tell me that He had called me my name, and that I was His beloved daughter. Then, I got to say a prayer and invite Jesus Christ into my heart and surrender my life to Him. And that was my moment! That’s when I gave it all to Him and was instantly filled with overwhelming joy and hope. That’s the moment I was saved and changed forever. That’s the moment that all my fear and doubt were washed away. Now I understand the true meaning of the cross, and that Jesus died the most horrible death because He loved ME and so that I could live in relationship with Him. Now I know that I have a purpose and that I am on this earth because Jesus has called me by name and has redeemed me so that I can share this good news with others.
READ MORE STORIES… WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD? CLICK HERE