I grew up in a small town where all my extended family lived as well and we got together as a family very regularly. Being a part of a successful family led me to feel a lot of pressure as a child to do well in things, and I found my value in what I did. However, feeling a bit like a disappointment to my family for being just average and not excellent, led me to feel worthless at times. Therefore, I tried to find value in my friends and what they thought of me, yet ended up being very hurt by a few close friends.
My parents took me to church, but we rarely talked about it. My mom took me to church programs where I accepted Christ at a young age (Romans 10:9-11) and learned many of the basics of the Christian faith. However, while I believed in Christ, I did not know what it meant to live for Him. I read my Bible because my Sunday School teacher told us to, but only in secret because I did not want to be “different,” since I did not know anyone who read a Bible regularly.
Around the age of 12, I became friends with some girls who came from Christian families. They took me to their youth groups and retreats, and their parents talked to us about God. I found how they lived really new and different. They prayed when they went out to eat and before we went on vacation. They lived differently than the world and I longed for what they had. I longed for a deeper relationship with Christ.
At about 16, many things I had found my value in, like my abilities and my friends, etc, fell through and left me ultimately feeling very empty. Since my Christian friends had taken me to church, I knew God could help me and I knew I should be reading my Bible. Finally, I cried out to God. This is when I started living for the Lord and not simply believing in Him. I decided to try and read my Bible and a devotional book every day—just to see how long that would last. By God’s grace it lasted (Ephesians 2:8-9)!
I cannot explain the amount of joy that filled my life and heart from that day forth. My life has been changed, forevermore.