Friday, December 11, 2009

my testimony

I grew up in good household.
I went to church every Sunday morning with my grandmother.
While my parents didn't necessarily go to church every Sunday, they still raised me under Christian principles, which I credit much of my success in life to.

My first, I guess, "true encounter" with Christ came in middle school when I started going to AWANA meetings with my neighbors. I memorized Scripture, participated in Bible quizzes, won awards, motored through memorizing all the verses in the AWANA books.

I accepted Christ shortly after. Not to say I wasn't "serious" about accepting Jesus into my life, because it was a huge stepping stone in my life, but I don't think I understood as a 12-year old that accepting Christ was not just a choice, but it was a lifestyle.

During the remainder of middle school, church wasn't the environment I needed. Going to church was more about socialization than anything else. I guess that isn't surprising that I wasn't "cool" enough or "pretty" enough or "popular" enough to be accepted by my peers. I was an outsider amongst people that I thought were friends. And the fact that I was considered an outsider turned me away from church and consequently affected me having a true relationship with God.

In high school, I still was a very reserved girl. I always kept my belief in God and that everything that happened to me was for a bigger purpose, but I still failed to have a real relationship with Him. I was involved in Tri-Hi-Y, which was the "club" for Christian girls and while it was always nice to be surrounded by other girls who had the same "religious label", out of my ignorance, in the meetings, I always secretly compared myself with others. The reality of grace hadn't really been something I knew about or understood; to me, it was still a "works-based" relationship with God and I thought by being a good person, I was guaranteed a ticket to heaven.

It wasn't until college that I learned the truth about having a real relationship with God.

My freshman roommate, Brooke, and I went to church every Sunday and being in a more laid-back, rock-out environment made church a more comfortable setting. I guess the transition from high school to college really expanded my open-mindedness about church. I distinctly remember the moment that I felt like I knew what it meant to be a TRUE Christian. The piece of the puzzle that had always been missing in my faith: Jesus Christ. The book was entitled 50 Reasons Jesus Came To Die. 24Church had given it to all the guests on Easter. I read it and it made me realize that "believing in God" wasn't enough; it was about believing in Jesus and that He died so that we may live. I felt so silly at that point.
John 3:16; John 14:6; Romans 6:23; Romans 3:23-24; Ephesians 2:8-9
All the verses I had memorized in AWANA now made sense! It's not about works, it's about grace!!

So for the past two years, I've tried to maintain that relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
As for my current relationship status with God, I feel like I am closer to him now than I ever have been.

On October 4, 2009, I experienced the toughest heartache of my life: my boyfriend of over 1 year and 4 months, Josh, and I broke up. It was horrible and along with the breakup came baggage and guilt and frustration: things that I knew I did not want to live with. So with the help of my best friend, Joyann, I worked to overcome my guilt and to become reacquainted with this idea of 'grace' and 'unconditional love'. The result: skydiving! The most amazing thing I've ever done in my life! But I was able to overcome a lot of negative emotions and was able to channel some of that energy into my relationship with God. (As I like to say, "I left all my baggage and negative feelings in the plane I jumped out")

During this emotional roller coaster, I began reading various literature about love and about God. Love as a Way of Life: 7 Ways to Transform Every Aspect of Your Life by Gary Chapman, Crazy Love and Forgotten God by Francis Chan, to be exact. I poured myself into those books, absorbing every detail and every piece of advice that the authors had to share. Mid-November, I realized that I didn't need to read about God, I needed to know God, myself. So I began pouring myself into the New Testament.

Even more recently, on December 6, 2009, I did the most heart-wrenching and hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I told Josh that we couldn't be friends (granted we were "ex's", but we had tried to make a friendship work, despite the attraction and feelings that were still quite apparent between us). I did this for the simple fact that I put Josh before God. I broke the 1st and most important Commandment ("You shall have no other gods before me") and I realized I needed to sacrifice my relationship with Josh in order to put God first.

I'm still battling the repercussions of my actions (which I will outline soon in a post entitled "Emotional Band-Aids") and it's honestly still a struggle to keep God first and not let my selfish heart take precedence (which would result in me trying to reconcile with Josh…), but that is part of why this blog is in existence.

I want my faith and my relationship with God to be the most important thing in my life. I want to live a life that revolves and relies completely on God. Hence the name of this blog -- Faith Overflow (Read the significance in this post).

This is me. This is my testimony.
True story.

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