I grew up in a Christian household, was raised Southern Baptist, and became a member of my parents’ church in small town East Texas before I could even crawl. I was “saved” at a young age and over the years, I found myself Baptized twice…Once as a baby and once at age 22 as a Christmas gift, as requested by my mother. (You know, in case the first time didn’t stick.) However, for a number of reasons, Christianity was not something that I willingly embraced – There were the fellow youth group attendees who were less than welcoming, to put it kindly. There were, what I saw as a young adult, restrictions that seemed like nothing more than buzzkills. And most of all, there was a trepidation deep in the pit of my stomach that a big man sat in the clouds above me holding a clipboard, just waiting to cast me into hell if I didn’t do exactly as he said, how he said, when he said it. It was primarily out of that fear that labeling myself “a Christian” was born.
It wasn’t until I stepped foot onto a bus in Fort Worth in 2014 to embark on my HeartQuest that I realized how wrong I had been. On Friday, April 25, 2014, I gave my life to Christ for Him to straighten it into something worth living and to use for His purpose instead of my own. I laid down years of heartbreak – Cystic Fibrosis. Lifelong abuse. Losing my father tragically as a teenager. Divorce at age 21. Alcohol dependence. Romantic relationships and friendships mirroring the very worst of what “love” had to offer – And clothed myself instead with His gifts of strength, dignity, humility, redemption and sweet, sweet amazing grace. I trusted Him that day, and I will trust Him until my last, to keep His promise that His grace is sufficient for me and that He will perfect His power in my weaknesses, of which I have so many. And for the first time, I see them as opportunities, not strongholds. I see walking with Christ as a relationship, not religion. And I see that the very things that I had mistaken for freedom were actually chains holding me in a misery so deep that I had been completely desensitized to it.
On that beautiful day that I accepted Him, I also opened the door to allowing Him to use the chaos of where I came from to relate and minister to others. Because of that, I can say with all honesty that I am not ashamed of my past – Even the poor decisions that I made that hurt myself and hurt others – Any more. Through His gift of grace, along with my passion for writing, it is my hope that my story of healing and redemption will uplift those around me, spread love in a darkening world, and encourage everyone whose path it crosses ♥
If you’re in that place now, please don’t give up. Please don’t give in. And please don’t hesitate to reach out. It would be my absolute pleasure to introduce you to the One who makes all things new.
“They overcame by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…”
– Revelation 12:11 –