As I was growing up, I wholeheartedly believed that I needed to do things to achieve God’s love. I believed that if I didn’t do certain things or did other things that I would forever be condemned to a life of punishment from God. Out of this, I searched for perfection in my grades and in my relationship with my parents and doing things that I thought would be pleasing to others and God. I am clearly not perfect, so this way of living left me feeling empty, afraid, and angry.
My senior year of high school was the point where I started to really want out of it all. I thought that by rebelling against my parents and doing “my own thing” I would maybe find what was missing, but in reality, that just made everything worse. We fought literally every day and I was very sad. As I looked into colleges, chose to go to Bowling Green because it was far enough away from my parents that I wouldn’t have to talk to them every day and because I just needed something different. The first month of my college career was extremely difficult. I continued to fight with my parents, except that now it was over the phone and I found myself in a situation that left me feeling extremely empty and void. Throughout this month, though, my next-door neighbor kept inviting me to church and to Cru events despite how resistant I was. Eventually, I went to Cru’s fall retreat and after learning that God isn’t out to punish me, but actually just wants to love me, I accepted Him into my life. Instantly, I felt relieved and at peace. I felt like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Since then, I’ve learned and am still learning that God loves me for who I am and out of there is so much freedom. Since accepting Christ, life hasn’t been perfect and neither have I. I’ve struggled with anxiety, relationship issues, and plenty of trials. The beauty though, is that God has been by my side, loving me through it all. Through every trial, I’ve grown closer to Him and grown more into the woman that God has created me to be. The emptiness that I felt throughout high school has truly been filled with the love, peace, and joy that can only come through God.
Just like you heard a story of a life changed by Jesus, This could be your story too and it begins by inviting Jesus Christ into your life by faith. The greatest story happened two thousand years ago when God sent his son Jesus Christ to live a perfect life, and to die as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). This righteousness of God is given “through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe” (Romans 3:22) so that we can have a personal relationship with God both now and after we die in heaven.
Your story could change in a moment. The Bible says “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). This could be your story. You can receive Jesus Christ right now by faith. Romans 10:9 says “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” You can invite Jesus into your life right now by praying this prayer.