Engage 24 is a day entirely devoted to Alabama campus ministries engaging intentional gospel-centered conversations with people around their individual campuses.
Ask Me My Story goes hand in hand with this day, so in honor of our devotion to sharing stories of what God has done in each our lives, I’ve decided to share mine via blog.
God’s love came into my life at a time when I felt like I was unlovable and didn’t deserve love. My biological father has never been part of my life and throughout my childhood I really struggled with why things were the way they were and I felt that I was to blame. I’ve always been one to overthink, so I automatically thought that I had done something to upset my family and tear everything apart, even though I had been very young at the time. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, so I wasn’t in church regularly, though I would attend various churches fairly often with other family members and friends.
In the fourth grade, while at church with a friend, I really felt God’s presence in my life for the first time and found that He loved me despite anything I had ever done or ever would do. I felt at peace knowing that even without an ‘earthly father,’ I had a Father in heaven that loved me unconditionally, and He had blessed me with a loving “step” father, whom I’ve called dad for as long as I can remember.
While I accepted Jesus as my Savior in the fourth grade, I didn’t truly know what it meant to be a follower of Christ. I wasn’t being regularly discipled in a church, so there were no Christian examples for me to follow or to encourage me to dive into God’s word. It wasn’t until I was in the tenth grade that I got involved with a church and began the process of learning what it meant to follow Jesus.
Throughout this time and up until college I continued my pursuit of a Christ-like life and felt His presence more each day. I was being invested in by a church family and spent time in the Bible, learning more of what it meant to live a life committed to Christ. With this growing relationship with the Lord came the characteristics of His heart and His desires.
In the beginning months of the second semester of my freshman year at UA, I felt God pulling my heart to follow Him more closely in every aspect of my life. At Pursue Conference in February, which focused on relationships, I finally understood what God meant by this calling. The Lord revealed to me that I had been trying to split my attention and affection between an earthly relationship and my relationship with Him.
I struggled with the Lord to let me have both, to teach me how to put my full attention on Him while keeping my relationship, but I’ve learned that He won’t settle for second best, and I had slowly put my relationship before God. I knew I couldn’t claim to follow Christ while He wasn’t at the forefront of my life-it simply doesn’t line up with who He is. I proclaimed Christ as Lord of my life as a young fourth grade girl and it was about time I started living like I meant it, so I laid my relationship down and submitted to God’s good and perfect will.
In the past six months I have grown and learned more about God than I ever have before. I feel a sense of overwhelming peace in my life as I’ve learned to give full control to Him and have decided to follow the path He set for me. Though I’ve fallen to temptation and continue to fail daily, the Lord’s patience, forgiveness and mercy are relentless. I am not alone and my heart rejoices in that truth!
As I think about what the Lord has done for me throughout my life, despite the countless times I’ve fought against His will and ignored His calling me, I can only smile and feel the urgency to share His goodness.
There is nothing I could have done to attain this salvation, this peace. No good I could’ve done would have earned it for me, it is a free and precious gift, and now that I’ve accepted it, nothing bad can ever take it from me. Jesus’ death on the cross and His victorious resurrection were (and are!) enough to make me clean. To make you clean. There is nothing we do or say to obtain His love, we simply say yes to His open arms.