I grew up in a family that had Christian values but did not truly know Christ. My parents decided that we would start going to church consistently around the time that I turned eight. I remember knowing about the bible but never reading it. Between my mom and Sunday school class, I realized that I would have to put my personal faith in these things being taught. I remember a time reading the book of Genesis with my mom on my bedroom floor saying to her, “I can’t believe this...How did this happen?” Overtime I began to have faith in the things that I read and heard at church. I prayed with my parents and gave my life to Jesus a few months later right there in my bedroom.
The next Sunday at church I got baptized. I still remember the way I felt when I came up out of the water. Even in my limited understanding as a nine year old, a wave of purity and innocence washed over me like I’d never felt before. I wasn’t really being discipled at this age and with my parents being new Christians, we did what we thought all Christians should do, which was just go to church on Sunday. There was occasionally prayer in my house, but for the most part Sunday morning was the climax of our faith.
Throughout middle and high school what others thought of me seemed to become my idol. For the most part I went with the crowd and did whatever they did. I would say that comparison and insecurity were the things that were held highly in my life. In middle school, I began struggling with lustful thoughts. In high school, casual drinking became normal and drunkenness not too unfamiliar. Even into college these things continued but not because I enjoyed them, but because “I wanted to fit in.”
Although, It was the first week of college when I got introduced to Chi Alpha and small groups through a high school friend. After a whole semester of living a double-life in college things changed for me in January of 2014. I remember that night Jacob (my small group leader) began to ask us what our Christmas break has consisted of. He basically called out all of my sins, and for the first time I really felt convicted of my sin. I knew that this was God calling me back to him. In the next few weeks I gave my life back to Jesus, and began to learn what it meant for Jesus to be both my Lord and Savior. In surrendering my life fully to Jesus, I found his forgiveness. I found peace, identity, and security in HIM. Which I lacked before and would have always been without, without him.
From that January I began to really walk in the community with other Christians, and this made all the difference. These people that I initially thought were “weird” were actually the more real friends that I had ever had. They genuinely loved me and wanted my highest good. I really couldn’t have walked with him alone, but I'm thankful for all the friends who encouraged me and were there for me. After leading a small group for a year the Lord began to call me into ministry. After many open doors from the Lord I am now a campus missionary at UTA. God is faithful to always be there with me no matter how far I tried to run from him as a teenager. He is a patient father and a friend who has always provided for me. He is my Lord and also my best friend.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” - Romans 12:2 -
If you're on the fence about believing in Jesus or about being friends with Christians, I would say go all in. You won’t regret it. I have had more fun by accident with people who love Jesus than I ever had beforehand.