This fall, I have the blessing of being a confirmation mentor for a group of high school girls at my church. I am so looking forward to working with them! One of the first things we have to do as a leader is share our testimony - a great thing, but yikes! Being transparent is scary enough, plus I've never actually thought much about why I believe or how I got to the point of having a strong faith. So I finally sat down and thought/prayed about it, and am ready to share it!
I have always believed in God. There is so much to marvel at in our world, from the miracle of human life to the mysteries of our universe that have always led me to think that there is something great orchestrating it all. Raised in a Baptist church, I made the decision to make my faith public and be baptized as a young teenager.
While baptism is good and He does want us to believe in Him, God does not call us to just believe – He’s called us to follow Him so that we can live the joyful, abundant life He wants to gift to us. It was easy to make the decision to profess my faith that I believed in God, but fully committing my life to God? I had far too many other plans of my own! So I continued to purse everything I thought I wanted.
Fast forward fifteen years. He found me broken, lost, and hopeless after crushed dreams: failed businesses, financial struggles, difficult and failed relationships, eating disorders, and other struggles. All those seemingly wonderful plans of my own had only brought me pain and suffering. He had called out to me many times before, but something stirred within me this time when He asked, “Will you pick up your cross and follow me to the abundant life I have waiting for you?” I finally made the decision to say yes Jesus, I will follow you.
Since then I have completely fallen in love with God as He has filled to overflowing the empty spaces within me. While I still have struggles, I enjoy my life so much more when I am focused on following Jesus. I make sure to read the Bible and pray daily, attend worship weekly, and stay active within the church (Bible studies, serving, etc). As I have studied, learned, and tried to emulate the life of Jesus, I have found true healing, joy, happiness, and contentment. Instead of waking up every morning trying to face the day for mere survival, I wake up knowing I have a purpose in this world – to glorify God in everything I do. It is not always easy to say “Yes God, where you go I’ll go, where you stay I’ll stay, whatever you want me to do I will follow you,” but I know that His ways are best for my life!
I can look back now and see all that I have learned through my struggles, and have seen how He has used everything for His glory. I am not at all where I thought I would be today, and I still fail Him often, but I am living an abundant life! In the ways of the world it may not seem like I have abundance, but I feel abundantly blessed – an amazing, healthy, wonderful family who I can’t spend enough time with; an incredible church; wonderful, supportive friends who inspire me and bless me more than they know; a cat that I absolutely adore (she is so great, I swear!); two jobs that I enjoy on most days with co-workers who are good people; good health; food, clothing, shelter, and transportation; and so much more.
I am also incredibly blessed that He has put so many people in my life to guide me and strengthen me along the way, and who have helped grow my faith in ways they may not even know. Whether it’s an act of service, replying to a tweet, getting to know them, or a simple smile, you never know how much something can have a huge impact on someone else’s life. I am so thankful and blessed – praise Jesus!!!