Having grown up in a Christian family, I have had the privilege to grow up in the church. I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my savior at the age of 7 but have only recently come to understand what that really means. I spent my life simply going through the motions and following in the footsteps of my siblings. I am blessed to be able to say that I am now beginning to understand what it truly means to be a Christian.
In the past church was just somewhere I went on the weekends and I didn’t have a real relationship with God. I knew all of the stories and memorized the bible verses but never did much more than that. I prayed every night, before every meal, and when things were going wrong but that was it. When things were going right I completely forgot about God and put Him on the back burner.
In middle school I thought I was a good Christian because I did everything I was supposed to but I now know I was simply going through the motions. I attended church every week and I even got baptized. On the surface I might have seemed like the “perfect Christian” but I wasn’t. These were the years when I began to fight with my parents. I would constantly argue with my parents and talk back to them. I had almost no respect for them and couldn’t wait to get out of the house. There were even a couple times where I ran out of the house and refused to go home. Whenever we would get into an argument I always felt like nobody understood what I was going through; I felt like there was nobody I could talk to.
My first two years of high school were the hardest years of my life. The arguments with my parents became worse and more frequent. Not only did my relationship with my parents begin to fail, my friendships also began to crumble. I felt as if the whole world had turned on me. Every night I would wonder how I could change myself to be better, to be accepted. I began to curse and do anything that was considered “cool.” There was almost nothing I wouldn’t do to be accepted. I was no longer that innocent little girl with the good morals; I was now the girl who was dying to be accepted.
I was a girl who looked perfectly happy on the outside but was dead and depressed on the inside. I remember contemplating suicide and crying myself to sleep every night. I hated going to church because I felt so alone. I felt as if nobody at church liked me and I hated feeling like an outsider at a church I had grown up in, a church that once felt like a second home to me. I felt as if God had completely abandoned me. I always heard that God was the comforter but at the time I didn’t feel very comforted, especially by the people at church. One Friday night before my parents went to church my mom came into my room and asked me what was wrong because I was crying. I told her what had been going on in my life recently and how I didn’t want to go to church anymore. I had never told anyone how I felt and I felt like a burden was lifted after I told her. The following Sunday a family friend from church gave me a box of chocolates along with a note that read, “Smile! God loves you always no matter what!”
This note, although it didn’t seem like much, is what led me back to God. Throughout those difficult years I felt completely abandoned and lost my faith in God. After reading the note and talking with my parents, I was reminded that God never gives up on anyone no matter what. I began to do devotions again and I would read the bible and pray with my parents every night before bed. My faith in God began to grow stronger and I started to rely on Him when I felt lonely.
Although I never knew why God would make me go through those circumstances, I always heard that God has a reason for everything He does and now I understand that. Those years, although extremely difficult, brought me closer to my parents and to God. If I hadn’t had that experience my relationship with my parents wouldn’t be the same. Although it was a hard couple of years, I now understand why God put me through it. I am now stronger in my faith than every because I know I can rely on Him for everything.
Throughout the years, God has placed numerous people in my life who help me with my faith. Whenever I am feeling down or lost I receive bible verses or text messages from friends telling me that they are praying for me. I know it is God who is working through those people. Every day I earnestly seek after Him and try to be more like Him. I am not perfect nor will I ever be. I stumble in my walk just as much as anyone else but I know He will always help me find my way back. With Him I know I will never be alone no matter what may happen.