I like to begin my story with discussing my parents because, lets be honest, our families have huge influences on our lives. My mom grew up in a catholic household in Detroit where she believed being a good, moral person was all one needed to be a Christian. My dad on the other hand grew up in a Christian home in southern West Virginia in a tiny town with more cows than people. My parents met and married later in life and, several years after, my mom came to know the Lord in a real, life changing way that is reflected in every aspect of her life. Growing up, my parents, primarily my mother since it was so real to her, taught me no prayer is too small and that God is a living and active presence in our lives.
I came to know Christ as my personal savior at the age of four during a Christmas Eve service. It was at that time I grasped the words of John 3:16, every child’s first bible verse, and came to view God as a loving savior who could not be in the presence of my sin and lovingly died to be with me forever.
I’ve been extremely blessed in the sense that the Lord has spared me from a lot of pain. In fact, I used to discount my story because, to me, it seemed not enough. Oh, how Satan desires us to believe we are not enough as if we could ever be enough in ourselves. It is the Lord’s work alone that makes me what I am today.
Many of the trials and temptations I faced revolved around turmoil in the lives of my friends or the presence of my own anxiety. I began struggling with anxiety as a young child and- the crazy part- it came from seemingly nowhere. I still struggle with the tendency towards anxiety even to today. However, during the years of middle and high school, the fear was overwhelming.
“…for God did not give me a spirit of fear but one of power, of love, and of a sound mind.” -2 Timothy 1:7
“…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all
understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.’ –Philippians 4:6-7
Verses such as these are my anthem. I’ve come to know God over the years as comforter from fear.
During my freshman year of high school, my best friend at the time experienced the horrific reality of sexual assault. Around the same time a close family member began battling with addiction. I felt seemingly helpless to do anything but watch this person’s life spiral dangerously out of control and hurt those most near and dear.
These instances sparked in me a desire to stand for those who feel they cannot stand on their own. God cares far more about our hurts than we ever could. His heart breaks for those who hurt and His anger runs far deeper than ours ever could. Therefore, God wants us to stand with the broken all the while knowing he is a protective Lord.
“Be still and know that I am God.”-Psalm 46:10
During my early high school years I suddenly had to transfer schools from my safe little private school to a public school because they had lost funding. What at first seemed like a curse quickly turned into a huge blessing. There I came to meet lifelong friends and establish connections with people who continue to shape me into who I am today. I then chose to attend Liberty University as many of my older friends from church spoke so highly of the school. My nearly four years at Liberty have been some of the sweetest and dearest. Yes, adjusting to new life changes brought a whole new set of anxieties, but I’ve learned to rely on God in more ways than I can count and He’s blessed me with some of the sweetest friends and neatest opportunities.
One such life changing adventure came in the summer of 2016 when I was selected to complete an anti- trafficking internship/training in the heart of the sex world: Pattaya, Thailand. It was here I learned God can and will use anyone. He doesn’t just save the coolest callings for those who’ve been through the most; all He desires is a willing heart and a humble spirit.
“Lord, you are our father, we are the clay, you are the potter; we are the works of your hands.” –Isaiah 64:8
Something my fiancé has taught me is that God loves, cares for, and desires each and every person. We are the works of His hands. Every one of us. Nothing that happens is a surprise. God cares for, knows, loves, and values each and every person. No story is better or worse in His eyes. He, through so many different ways, wants to use our experiences, hurts, victories, and everything in between to help us grow in Christ like holiness. We all have stories of how the Lord has carefully worked in us to make us useful tools in His kingdom and this is mine of coming to know God as lover of all who wants to use me and the rescuer of my fears.