My childhood consists of bits and pieces of memories that fade in and out of my mind as I journey though life. My earliest memory of church was one I attended with my parents. We sat on the back row every time we went, which wasn’t very often. Maybe half a dozen times at the most. I recall sitting through what seemed to be hours of hymns that made me very sleepy. I often would lay my head in one of my parent’s laps and I think I slept through the rest because that is all I can remember. So my experience with church was one that put me to sleep. Not a good start towards living a life for God.
When I started middle school, I met lots of new kids that attended Lakepointe Baptist Church. They always talked about how much fun it was and I wanted to go more than anything. But my family owned a pizza restaurant and worked late hours on Saturday evenings, so Sunday mornings were the day they would sleep in. My seventh grade year I spent the night with a friend and finally got the chance to experience what the hype was all about. It was such an awesome experience. It was then that God started stirring something in my heart.
For the next two years I was blessed to have the chance to bum rides from friends and my knowledge of God started to grow. At the end of my Freshman year of high school, I applied for a scholarship to attend church camp. It was approved and that experience changed my life forever. I will never forget the moment God spoke to me. We were singing and the worship leader invited us to accept Christ. My heart was racing and tears were streaming down my face. Time stood still and it was as if my Heavenly Father had stopped everything to share this moment with me.
Everything changed that day. I was suddenly very aware of things in my life that were no longer acceptable if I was going to live the Christian life that I had been called to. So my journey with God began. I continued to attend church and my faith in Christ grew stronger everyday. I even wore a t-shirt everywhere I went saying, “Friends Don’t Let Friends Go to Hell.” I wanted others to experience the love I had received.
Ever since that day that God met me where I was and invited me to have a personal relationship with him, my heart has been leading me to help heal others. Through the years, others have broken my heart, betrayed my trust and taken what wasn’t theirs to take, but God’s voice forever tells me to forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing. They are lost and hurting and they need to feel the love of Christ from people that have no reason to love them. God has always done just that for me and if I am to call myself a Christ follower, it is my duty to do the same.