One of my very favorite questions just so happens to be the one I’ll be answering right now so that’s super cool. What’s the question you ask? Possibly the broadest, yet most important question you could ask: “What’s your story?” My story is full of twists, turns, triumphs, and mainly me tripping a lot (its casual). If you like sweet tea and sweethearts, buckle up because we’re about to go on a blast through the past, my friend.
One score and minus one year, this chick over here (*insert Adele’s “Hello”) was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Miss Audrey SarahAnne grew up going to Chamblee United Methodist Church as a youngling. My story takes the first rise of tension in Pre-K. I was diagnosed with Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome and lost 75% of my hearing. As my doctors say, I’m a giraffe in a room full of horses. Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome is quite a story so honest, WebMd is the best but only in this one situation; otherwise, you’ll end up self-diagnosed with every disease ever. Losing my hearing shook my tiny world. I remember what it felt like to not hear anyone. It was beyond confusing. I had a few surgeries done. By a miracle, six years, and some physical therapy sessions, I slowly gained back 90% of my hearing which wasn’t even remotely possible then.
Rewind a few years, this Georgia peach became a Florida orange (still a peach at heart). It was the middle of my first grade year and my thick southern accent didn’t necessarily make me “cool.” I quietly followed people around all through elementary school. Meanwhile, I attended a small traditional Methodist doing whatever I could anywhere I could. I’m still not really sure why but I fell in love with serving the church and craved being there constantly. If Jesus was involved, it was my jam. I was an acolyte, usher, and helped with the Sunday school kids spending approximately four hours at church every Sunday. Again, I really have no idea why I loved it so much but I kind of never stopped. In fourth grade, the same year I got my hearing back, I was told by my music teacher that I could sing. All it took was one soul believing in me and I’ve never stopped since. I began writing everything any human could ever feel. In sixth grade, my tiny traditional church went to a local contemporary worship event. To get this, the point should be made that the only way I knew to worship God was through hymns and prayers. Arms were raised, spirits were lifted, and I was completely confused. A good pal explained that the people were raising their hands to get closer to God, almost like a kid reaching out for their daddy to pick them up. “Rad,” I said as I squeezed my eyes shut and raised my arms as high as they could get. It was then that I knew that there was something bigger out there than just doing my YouVersion devos, quickly praying before I eat (sorry God, ya girl loves food), and shaking hands with people before we sit down at church. Whatever it was, I wanted to be a part of it.
All of my sixth grade year, I began going to youth group with my British neighbors. Yes, they have accents and yes, they’re the coolest people alive, pinky promise. They loved on me and pursued me as a daughter of Christ knowing that my God was only just beginning His work in me. March 17th, a week after my birthday, I attended a conference in Orlando called 678. It was there that I took my first breath as a believer, my first time inhaling and exhaling love. The message was on the foundation of life and how we cannot stand on anything that is not God because He is our firm foundation and the rock on which we stand. Little did I know that the rollercoaster had only just begun. I hate rollercoasters so please keep all hands inside the blog, we’re going for a ride today, folks. Two months after I was saved, my grandfather passed away. I’d never experienced death but now it seemed closer to me than my dog (aka EXTREMELY close). The idea of it lingered in my heart and its shadow haunted me covering the “Sonshine.” My sister’s friend passed away and a few other relatives. My world was in shambles. Everything I had built up into that year was demolished. My new-found confidence, my ever strengthening joy, my pure happiness, etc. I couldn’t sleep well or at all some nights. I couldn’t just be “normal” (whatever that means). I couldn’t just “fit” anymore. Suddenly, I was broken; genuinely, whole-heartedly broken. But for some reason, I prayed every single day. No matter how worthless I felt. No matter how “alone” I was. No matter how much I wanted to sit in a corner and completely disappear. I still prayed. A year or two later, I ran into my room and fell on my knees behind my bed helplessly sobbing. “God, I’m so alone. I’m so alone. Why am I so alone? Why do they not like me? God, where are you? God, what do you want from me? Do I deserve this? Help, please. I can’t even breathe. Please God help.” A light came over me as I cried out this pridefully pained prayer. I breathed in and asked the question that saved my life,
“God, if I’m so alone, then who am I praying to?”
In a snap, a weight was pulled up off my chest and this daughter of God fell face first bowing before God as I felt His warmth inside my soul. The rays of light shooting through my blinds looked like golden light beams and streamers strung dancing around my room. God tore down what I had built-up so that I could see what I was standing on. My foundation was built on insecurity, comparison, self-doubt, the opinions of others, and the weight of self-given worth. The lies that Satan so graciously whispered in my ear for years upon years. Those prayers weren’t for nothing and it was only by the grace of God that I kept doing it because there was no reason in this world why I would’ve even kept believing in a God. However, I believed in myself almost more than I believed in that rugged cross. I sat upon my own throne until God said no. You see the cross isn’t just a gospel story. The cross is real and what’s realer than that is that Jesus died for you. The shadow of death was holding a gun at your head. Jesus pushed you out of the way and said, “No. Not my children,” letting the bullet draw out His blood. With one bang, it was finished. Even after I was saved, I didn’t know the weight of that. We cannot comprehend how much God loves us. He said I was called even when I refused to call upon His Name. He remained sovereign and into my life, He came.
So this is it, friend, that’s my story. What you can’t see is that the place I wallowed in behind my bed is now where I bow in prayer every night. Remember how I fell on my knees crying? Yeah, I use to do that everyday because the weight of my sins, my pain, and my past was all too much to bear. My lowest points were spent on my knees and now Satan can’t even touch me. When I’m on my knees, the only kind of fear I am worshipping is the fear of God. Friend, I gotta tell you something. I’m not about gossip and ratting out others but you should know this bit. The worst lie that Satan can ever tell you is that you’re alone. You are NOT. I repeat, no go, Satan. Not today… or ever for that matter. If you haven’t read Isaiah 43 lately, I highly recommend it. In fact, it’s now your homework. Better yet, I’ll do your homework for you, no charge.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name,
YOU ARE MINE.”
You my, sister/brother in Christ, were ransomed and adopted. Deemed an heir and loved despite your differences. You are more precious than rubies, stronger than stone, and loved out loud. Abba, is proud to be seen with you. You are His and nothing, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else, can take that away.
You are loved.
You are a child of God and don’t you ever forget it.
Written By: Audrey