I was born and raised catholic, which meant I was at church every Sunday until about the 9th grade. When I was growing up, I struggled with finding and keeping non-toxic friendships. When I was in elementary school I was with my best friend at that time almost every weekend. She and I would play with barbies and pretend that they would go on a date and then the guy would invite the girl over, that is when the “romance” would begin. After a little while, the dolls were no longer the ones role playing and it was she and I. She would also be the one to introduce me and begin my addiction with what I found on the computer screen. After I was able to build up the courage to tell my friend “No” after a few years, my body craved the images I looked at and the way that they made me feel. I would also start having dreams of men abusing me, which would turn into an addiction, because my brain would play out those scenarios without me choosing to.
This led to me having a hard time finding friends who would be encouraging, but in middle school I thought that I had a great friend. I also had a “boyfriend” who would say he loved me, then the next week he would say that he loved my best friend. The week after, he would come back to me saying he loved me and I would go right back to him. In high school, I finally understood that I was worth more than he thought of me, so I broke up with him and I became closer and closer to my best friend, (yes the one who he had left me for). We were great friends until we got to the point that we would share everything together, even the fact that we both were watching those images on the computer screen. She took that conversation and then made a way for her to bring her boyfriend into the mix and see if we could experiment. I wanted to say yes, but every time, something kept me from meeting with them. Me continually saying no after I said maybe ruined our friendship my senior year.
I may have lost another best friend in my senior year, but I also found my first true best friend, someone who wanted to be there for me, with no strings attached. In the spring semester of high school I started going to another church with my friends that I spent time with, and I gave my life to Christ on March 3, 2013. I finally understood that I did not need to work my way into heaven but that God loved me enough that He sent His Son down to die for my sins. That changed my life, and I was not going to let go of this new found relationship what I had formed. Just like John 15:15 claims, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” I finally had someone who would be there for me through everything and He could never stop loving me.
When I got to college, my relationship with Him and my faith in Him got stronger, but there were things that occurred to help build up my strength. Close to the end of my freshman year, my father was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer, which later spread to his liver. I really had to seek God out during that time, because I was not home to be there for him, but I knew that God would see my father through. In my senior year, the first day of the last semester, my father passed away after his liver started to shut down. I struggled that semester with how to process my emotions and I fell into a deep pit that I could not drag myself out of. But God knew that this would happen, so throughout sophomore, junior, and senior year, God brought people into my life that would be there to help me when I forgot that God was always there. They helped me rely on God again to get me through my moments of anger, depression, self-harm, and distress/anxiety. I needed to be reminded of Matthew 28:20, the second part of it that says, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” That semester, God grew my strength and my character more than I could have imagined. I am eternally grateful that God was moving in my life, even before I gave my life to Him.
God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is a concept that I knew of for a long time but it took awhile for my heart to know. As a young girl, I always knew about Jesus and God but, I knew nothing truly of the Holy Spirit. My family would go from church to church so the gospel was something I knew only by word of mouth. At the age of eight, I got baptized. I remember owning my first Bible. It was a special moment and the beginning of my journey in understanding and knowing God.
Coming from a broken family, I did not know how to deal with problems. This lead to issues with bitterness and rebellion. My parents are divorced and the separation ended ugly. I found myself bitter due to comparing myself to others. I wanted a close relationship with my mother like other classmates had. I wanted to see my dad more than once a week. I wanted to be normal and fit in. I wish I could have told my younger self that comparison is the killer of gratitude. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 says: "Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it." So many times I try to control things instead of giving it over to God. I love this verse because it puts in perspective that our God is all knowing and is with us because he deeply knows our hearts. Instead of responding with kindness to others, my first reaction was anger because it was easier to display then the brokenness I felt.
Throughout elementary and middle school I was in and out of the principal's office. When I got to high school I covered my bitterness by using outlets but my insecurity was still there. I felt like an outcast and rejected. I voiced this to one of my friends who invited me to start attending bible study every Wednesday with her. That was when I saw God making moves in my life. A hunger ignited in me to seek after the presence of God. I learned that God could heal my brokenness if I laid my burdens down. I realized that I was called.
I found that my problems did not stop there. They were ruling over my life. As I left high school and entered college, I went through a season of depression and suffered from panic attacks. I kept holding on to the lie that I was not good enough and kept comparing myself to others. I learned that in my failures or when I did not meet the expectations I set for myself, I would be hard on myself. I believed the lie that I couldn't make it through the semesters. The only thing that calmed me down was me seeking God's presence. I knew that only in Him, I would find healing.
I finally surrendered to God and allowed him to be my provider, my redeemer. This happen after 2 years of college and many heartbreaks. By reading my Bible, I found truth in scripture that this world will never match. I learned that my value comes from God and that my life's journey is in his hands. My grades, people, and background do not define me. All I need to do is be faithful to the One who is also faithful to me. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 is a verse of great meaning to me, "Faithful is he that calleth you, who will also do it." I have grown to understand The Holy Trinity and its significance that it has in our faith. No matter our circumstances or insecurities, God is faithful. And we have a calling on our lives.