I grew up in a family that had very distinct ideas of right and wrong. While I'm sure some of my friends thought my parents were unreasonably strict, I never really had a problem with all of their rules and beliefs. I was known as the "good girl" all through elementary and middle school - always obedient and never balking at the rules. I wasn't popular and I was teased mercilessly for not going along with the crowd.
For the most part, I didn't have a problem with being viewed and treated that way - I had enough friends outside of school that made up for the way my classmates treated me. It wasn't until I hit 7th grade that the way I was being treated all came to a head. I couldn't handle it anymore and I didn't even want to be alive. I had no friends and no one I could trust. I was angry, withdrawn, and unsure of where I fit in.
It would be almost 4 years before I felt "normal" and accepted by those I was around on a daily basis. Suddenly, it wasn't so bad being the good girl. I followed my parents' faith and I believed in God. I was obedient, friendly, and happy - I even gained some new friends in the process. However, that didn't last too long.
Towards the begininng of 12th grade, I found myself in a relationship my parents definitely didn't support. In fact, I was forbidden to see him. Unfortunately, I didn't listen and found myself involved in a relationship I felt like I had to be in. I was back to being whispered about, called names, and quickly losing friends - all for what I thought was "true love." I wanted so badly to follow God by obeying my parents, but I felt like I couldn't. I loved him and I believed he loved me. Here, I found myself at another low point in my life - back to being angry, withdrawn, and alone. I fought my parents, I fought right and wrong, and I fought God.
Right and wrong clearly held no importance in my life. Even though I'd finally gotten rid of my "good girl" label, it came at quite a price. I had lost the trust and respect of those closest to me. I hated myself and who I had become. Eventually, the relationship ended and I was left with emptiness.
That summer, I found myself at a music festival - face to face with God. I felt lost and alone. I knew that I had rebelled against God and that the penalty for those things was eternal death. I cried out to God and confessed all that I had done wrong. It was there I surrendered my heart to God and felt His presence surrounding me. Looking back, I realize that God had been with me all along. He kept me from harming myself and doing anything I would later regret. Because of Christ's death on the Cross, I am a new person. Yes, my insecurities and feelings of aloneness come back quite frequently. Now I know God is always here with me. Everything I did in my past is behind me and I am completely forgiven. I know I have the gift of eternal life.
If you have read my past blogs, you know how daunting this "task" of writing my testimony was for me. I didn't even know where to start - I couldn't even figure out exactly when I became a Christian. But once I thought about it and prayed about it, I realized when it was that I fully decided to follow Christ. There are a lot more details that go into this story, but these are the main areas I have seen God at work. I know that, even though I have my many screw-ups (which are inevitable in all of us), God is walking right beside me and carrying me. My story hasn't ended yet. God is at work in my life every single day - whether I am walking with Him or not.
As I was typing this out I began to wonder why it was so hard for me to open myself up. I think it's because I don't want people to view me differently (hence the reason I still left some details out). My past isn't who I am.
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. ~*~ Ephesians 1:7 ~*~