It is an incredible gift to be able to say that I’ve never really known a life without Jesus in it. I grew up in a home where faith was at the center of everything and where my parents modeled that daily. From a young age I was introduced to the Gospel and surrounded by a church family that poured into me, taught me truth, and provided opportunities to see what serving others looked like. Over time, these experiences and exposures to truth led me to recognize that a relationship with God was something I believed in and wanted for myself. I could see my sin and my need to turn to Jesus. I wanted the freedom and love His grace offered me. I realized my need for God and made the decision to believe in Him and what He had done to save me. I didn’t have all the answers, but I knew I wanted God to be a constant in my life.
Those early years of my life exposed me to truth and allowed me to see examples of the fruit that can come from a person whose life is rooted in Christ. My upbringing helped to build the foundation of my faith, but it wasn’t until college that I really had the personal desire to cultivate a heart that knew and loved Jesus deeply. College was a time of gaining independence and freedom to choose what I wanted my life to look like. Thankfully, I ended up attending a Christian college, where once again I was provided with opportunities to deepen my faith alongside a like-minded community of people who were pursuing growth as well. It was there that I decided I wanted to be more than just a “good girl” and someone who knew about God, but someone who was dedicated to centering her life around Christ and looking to Him for all things. My faith became more than just me being saved from my sins, but about truly loving God and that love resulting in a life lived in obedience to Him. I wanted my faith to be more than a weekly trip to church, an attempt to do the right things, and an occasional prayer when I needed something.
All my life I’d known who Jesus was, but it became real when I began intentionally focusing on developing a relationship with Him and grabbing hold of His promises. Like any relationship, I’ve discovered that growth and connection only happen when you invest, listen, sacrifice, seek time together, love, and allow yourself to be vulnerable. I learned that I didn’t have to have it all together but that I just have to keep making the choice to follow Him. Being a Christian became more than just a standard of perfection or just a title to live up to, but it meant that I had Jesus as a friend who I could live my days with.
My story is a display of God’s kindness in the way He’s always kept me close to him, even when I wasn’t choosing him. It’s been Him giving me grace when I only had a head knowledge of Him but not a genuine heart knowledge. And its been me learning that life is more abundant when lived closely to my Creator, Father, and friend. It’s a sweet thing to be able to look at my life and see all the things he’s carried me through and all the ways we’ve grown together. I’m thankful for a God who’s never stopped pursuing my heart and I love knowing that this relationship is only going to continue to grow sweeter with time.