Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My story. {Coming to Christ}

      I remember it like it was yesterday. Well, for the most part. I kind of have a bad memory, but when it comes to spiritual stuff, I have most of it down.

Who I used to be was far from who I am now. God is still working on me every day, but it is safe to say that I have completely changed. All throughout high school and for the first two years of college, I began to put my identity in other people. I sought attention from boys. I began to feel seriously convicted of my sin, but I continued to ignore it. I was searching for something to fill the emptiness inside of me. There was a longing inside of me for something more. I needed something to fill my grief and sorrow, so I figured that the only way I would be able to fill this hole in my heart was by searching for the answer in other people.

I was insecure. I didn't have any self-confidence, and half the time I wasn't happy with who I  was. I wanted to find the joy that I remembered experiencing in my past, but for some reason I just couldn't grasp it anymore. It was gone. I was dead in my sin. I began to develop depression through the second half of high school. I figured that I had no choice but to be hopeless forever in the situation that I was in.

Once college came around, I still felt hopeless. I thought that by leaving my hometown and going on a new adventure at college would cure my depression, but it didn't. I still felt lonely and miserable once I arrived at college and started my freshman year. I joined a sorority, hoping that I could somehow find my identity in that and find the answer to my loneliness.

I began to seek more attention from boys, hoping that they would see something in me that I couldn't see myself. I gave myself away physically instead of saving sex for marriage, which tore me apart on the inside.  Everyone else around me was having sex, and since nothing of the past had fulfilled me up to that point I thought that maybe sex would. Maybe, just maybe, sex was the answer. Yet, sex destroyed me. Sex made the darkness inside of me grow darker. Unlike everyone around me who was loving the world of sex, sex made me miserable. The guilt I felt inside of me was so unbearable that I could barely stand. As I continued to hang out with the wrong crowd, I convinced myself that the hope I was looking for would eventually be revealed to me, even as I continued to put myself in the wrong situations.

By the time I was about to finish my sophomore year of college, I was pretty miserable. I developed a friendship with a girl named Julia, who was a Christian and would often talk to me about God. As much as I loved her and was inspired by who she was, the enemy often put lies in my mind when I was around her that I could never be like her, or let alone any type of Godly woman out there. He told me I wasn't good enough, and that I would always be a failure. He made me hide in corners and all choose the "safe way" out of everything. I believed that I could never do anything on my own let alone have the courage to do half of the things that I truly wanted to do in my life.

Julia and I continued to become better friends, and one she said something to me during our spring term of living in the sorority that I still remember to this day.  She said: "It's crazy how alone you can feel despite living with 60 girls in a sorority." I remember immediately thinking to myself, "There is something different in this girl that I have never witnessed in anyone else."

Julia was involved with Young Life, (to learn more about Young Life, click (HERE) and had been asking me every Tuesday night to come with her to girls group, a weekly Young Life event. Naturally, I made every excuse possible. I really didn't believe the answer to all of my problems would be there, in some Christian organization.

One Tuesday night after Julia had asked me about 6 times to go with her to Young Life and I made up another excuse and told her I couldn't make it again, she became seriously MAD at me. She said something like, "Jessica, COME ON. You always have excuse after excuse, week after week." Now friends,  I just wanted to make it clear that Julia is one of the sweetest girls that I have ever met, so when I saw how mad she was at me, I was extremely caught off guard. I immediately agreed to go with her to Young Life that night, out of fear. (I'm so beyond thankful she did that.)

That night at Young Life girls group with Julia, I still remember the message being shared by the Christian woman who was speaking that night. She was talking about how she used to put her identity in boys, and how she would seek them to fulfill all of her desires. She also talked about a guy named Jesus, and explained how he had been the first person to come into her life who filled her completely and who had helped her to stop seeking boys for fulfillment. She said the fulfillment Jesus had given her resulted in complete freedom for her soul. I felt God's presence there that night with me after hearing that woman speak. I felt Him beginning to call out to me, yet I wasn't quite ready yet to give Jesus my everything and completely trust Him at that point.

During that summer I spent in Corvallis before my Junior year of college, I felt God slowly directing me into a relationship with Him. Julia came and visited me a couple of times and brought me a Bible study book, because she could tell how bad I needed Jesus. I went to a couple of small Young Life gatherings during that summer, I was just trying to figure out who this Jesus guy was and why He would even care about a girl like me. I personally at that time didn't know if Jesus was the answer for me, but I did know that there seemed to be something new sparking into my heart that I had never experienced before. It was too soon to tell what exactly it was, but it was clear there was definitely something new going on inside of me.

Once the fall term had started for my junior year of college, God had seriously been working on my heart. I asked Julia if she wanted to do a Bible study and have coffee together, and she happily agreed. We sat at inside of Starbucks on a sunny day in the early Fall, reading a few verses in the Bible together. All of a sudden, the most unexpected thing happened to me. I remember it so clearly to this day. Out of nowhere, I heard God speak silently into my heart. Abrupt and with great concern, He told me ever so clearly: "I love you, come to me." Suddenly on the verge of tears, I looked at Julia, overwhelmed with a mix of emotions. She could tell something was going on, but she was silent. I felt convicted of my sin with the overflow of guilt inside of me.

After that, Julia and I walked around outside for awhile. I told her that I was in a bad place in my life, and I really wanted to seek God. I didn't know what that looked like, but I know that I needed him and I knew she was a Christian so I figured she could help. She suggested that I become a leader for Young Life with her. Completely surprised, I said to her, "Me?! Really?!" She simply responded with a loving "Yes, of course, you totally should do it!" She was immediately so accepting, and I loved that about her and was so thankful to have a friend like her.

From that point on, I began seeking Jesus with my whole heart. I gave Him the pieces to my broken heart, trusting in Him to put it all back together. Oh yeah, and this is also when I lost 50 pounds. So yeah, I lost 50 pounds and came into a relationship with Jesus at the same time. You can read more about my weight loss story HERE.

What began to change in me once I started seeking Jesus? Well, everything. I began to develop my own personal confidence in God, and that gave me great joy. I began to overcome the strongholds in my mind that the enemy had lead me to believe, and I began to understand who I really was in Christ. I no longer was depressed, because I could finally put my hope in God. I began to understand that I no longer was the victim of my fears and failures, but I was the victor. I now had a new weapon to use against the enemy, and that came through my relationship with God and His living word through the Bible. I replaced my fear toward life with my faith in Christ, and I began to develop courage. I began to become more confident in myself based on my faith in Christ. People began to notice, and before I could even look behind me I was beginning to be remade.

 “No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.”
Romans 8:37

I began to develop a passion for growing in Christ, and that led God into give me a passion for serving Him in many other ways. He put the desire on my heart to be a middle school leader for Young Life with Julia, and to lead each one of my girls closer to Jesus through this position. I let go of all the bitterness and hurt that I had carried with me from the scars my past, and left it all in God's hands. I asked Jesus to forgive me for all my sins, and He did. He took the heavy burden of guilt off of me. I felt free again. I felt beautiful. I felt AMAZING. I was new.

"This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!"
2 Corinthians 5:17

I am here to tell you that this verse about me is completely true, and it can be true for anyone who comes to Christ. I am a new creation. I am not who I used to be. I am in Christ, and it is a beautifully amazing thing. Jesus died on the cross to rescue me from the destruction of sin, and in Him I have hope for eternity.

 Getting to know Jesus and allowing for Him to take complete control of my life has not be a simple process. It's been very hard, it has taken a lot of time, and it has taken a lot of discipline. I had so many things in my life to work on, and also so many things in my life that needed renewal. But, God is faithful. He has continued to make me new day after day, and He has given me a glorious, inexpressible joy. Although these past two years of seeking Jesus haven't been easy, they have been so incredibly worth it.

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.
1 Peter 1:8


  1. God is so good, isn't He? Thanks for sharing your story so boldly and with so much vulnerability! He uses each of our stories to impact people and point them to Him, because it's all about His glory anyway. That was a place I struggled for so long, believing the lie that my story didn't matter or wasn't special. But I love that verse you shared: we are indeed a new person when we meet Jesus! Whether it is when we are 5 or 25, He is still God and He still brings transformation. Again thanks for sharing! You've a new blog-follower/fan :)

  2. Gosh, this sounds SO much like my own testimony. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thanks for sharing! My story is pretty similar to yours and it is very encouraging to hear about others having had similar experiences. I feel so blessed every day for finally having found my way, thanks to Christ.

    ps: I also read you weight loss story, and you have motivated me to keep working on my own journey to a healthier self. At times it is so hard, but I finally accepted that this is what God wants me to do, so I am doing it. You are a true inspiration!

  4. what a beautiful story! I am so glad you shared this! we all have stories that are meant to be told and this is one of them! i am so excited for you sister and i cannot wait to see the plans the Lord has for you unfold!

  5. LOVE this beautiful story of God's redemption in your life, Jessica! I am excited to continue reading your blog and see where God takes you :)

  6. Wow...I hung on every word. Thank you for sharing your LIFE are SO real and honest and it encourages others like me in great ways! THANK YOU!!

  7. Thank you for sharing your story. Mine is very similar but I wasn't saved until after college. Hugs!