It’s the Friday before Spring Break. I’m sure to most 28 year old moms of toddlers that would mean nothing because our kids aren’t in school yet and we sure aren’t out partying like we were ten years ago. Yet, the Friday before Spring Break always brings me great joy, because that is the day the Lord took hold of my heart, broke down those walls and filled me up with His perfect love. Here is my testimony in a nutshell:
I grew up in Texas. I grew up in church. I grew up hearing how Jesus loves me, and I never questioned it. I always believed in God and believed Jesus loved me. Again, I will say, I grew up in Texas: AKA Bible Belt. Do you know what that means? That usually means the same kids that were getting wasted on Saturday nights went to church on Sunday mornings. And that was normal, acceptable even to some, because again, most of us believed in God and His love for us… but it hit me about my senior year of high school that something wasn’t right about that. Sure, we all believed in God, so that meant we were all safe, right? That we were all Christians? And “most importantly” we would all go to heaven, right? But doesn’t the Bible state somewhere (James 2:19-20) that even the demons believe? … These were questions I couldn’t seem to get past the next couple of years and would think about for a whole two minutes before deciding to just put this God thing on the back burner until I got all my partying out of my system.
To make a long story short, my first three years of college were a mess. I was a mess. I had struggled with depression since I was 11 years old (and not because of some horrible trauma, my childhood rocked) and adding drugs and alcohol to the mix was not a good idea. There were nights I don’t remember and nights I wish I could forget. During those years I tried to find my identity through my GPA, through shallow relationships, and my body weight. My junior year of college was when I got bored with drinking and shallow relationships so I focused on an unhealthy goal of weighing less than 90 pounds. I became addicted to exercise and literally ate just enough to not pass out during my classes. Why am I telling you this? Geez, this is kind of personal! I’m telling you this so you can know exactly where I was that Friday night 8 years ago.
I went to a young adult’s ministry called The Net that I had been attending regularly for a couple of months. The majority of my friends were Christians truly living for the Lord, so I would hang out there on Fridays when I didn’t feel like going to a party. I can’t even tell you what the message was about, but I can tell you that my friends and family had been praying for years for this moment.
As Pastor Glenn Holland was wrapping up his message I felt this burning inside that I couldn’t ignore any longer. I was sobbing and didn’t even know why. My friend, Amanda, came over and wrapped me in her arms while I prayed silently to the Lord and thanked Him for picking me up right where I was in life… A mess… I was a 21 year old, 92 pound, borderline-alcoholic depressed mess… And yet, in that moment God declared, “That one! She is Mine!”
Here’s the beautiful thing about it. I’m still a mess… My struggles may not be the same as my 21 year old self, but I still struggle. Many people fall into the trap of believing that Christianity is a promise of an easy, happy go lucky kind of life, when that is just not true. In fact, many times in the Bible God guides us on how to work through our trials (just go read the entire book of James!). I have to remind myself daily that Romans 8:1 states, “There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.” The difference is now my heart has changed, and overtime I began to love what God loves and hates what God hates. I try to live for God and not my own selfish desires. I’m not perfect, and will never claim to be perfect. It’s a constant process of laying down my sins before God and asking for His grace, because I will never be able to do this on my own on this side of heaven, but He still loves me despite my flaws. And guess what? He loves you too, and you don’t have to be prefect when you come to Christ. You can be a mess, just like me, because He is the only One who can wash you of your sins. What a glorious day that will be.