Who I Was Before Christ
I was raised in authoritarian household. Opinions different than those of my parents were not well received and usually punished. It was an austere environment, but I still knew that my parents loved me. We attended a Baptist church for as long as I could remember. At the age of five, I decided to receive Jesus as my savior. However, the pastor there was a pedophile, and he molested me for five years, starting at age six. As part of the concurrent psychological abuse, this man made multiple threats against my life and the lives of my parents and siblings. I eventually began to believe that I was not worthy of love and that I was a mistake of nature. At the age of 8, I contemplated suicide, and, by age nine, I made my first attempt. A year later, I attempted again. This time, I heard a clear voice in my head saying, “Don’t do this; I have a plan for you.” I knew it was God.However, for allowing this evil into my life, I became very angry at God, bitter and introverted. I refused to trust anyone; instead I wanted “to do it myself.” I tried to pass myself off as a “good Christian,” but deep down I knew I was a bad person and a hypocrite. I became sullen, withdrawn and vindictive. I struck out at everyone and everything, trying to inflict the same pain I felt. I also became a perfectionist, pushing myself to succeed, because I felt it was the only way to earn my parents’ approval. I craved any positive attention I could find, and I drowned the few friends I had with my neediness.
When I was sixteen, I told my parents about the abuse. The truth shocked them and began a power struggle within my family. Though my parents tried to support me, I often felt ostracized by my family, especially my siblings. Seemingly, my worst fears of being unworthy of love came true overnight, and I fell into a deep depression. I was miserable.
By the time I went to college, I just wanted to “fit in.” I started to drink and party even though I knew that lifestyle was wrong. I didn’t want anything to do with God or His rules, and I lived my life the way I wanted to for seven years. I felt like God had failed me, and I owed Him nothing. My life was an absolute mess, and I wavered between despondency and apathy.
Wanting something more, I began listening to Christian radio in 2010, and I started attending the Rock on and off. When I was there, I felt accepted and genuinely wanted without being forced to give anything of myself. I was confused but interested by how joyful and accepting everyone seemed to be. I went to the Faithwalkers conference that year, and God finally caught up with me. He showed me that I was running from Him and that I was making poor choices in my life. He made it clear that my sins could only be covered under the cleansing blood of Christ, and I needed to repent and surrender my life to Him again. Since I made that decision, my life has been far from perfect. I continue to sin and suffer the consequences of my choices.
Who I Am Now
Despite my life prior to God, He has radically transformed my life. Because God has given me an identity through Christ, I no longer need to live to please others. Because God generously provides for my needs, I no longer need to be a perfectionist or to live life solo. Because God cares for me, I don’t have to be burdened by the worries, fears and anxieties of this world. Because of God’s immense love for me, I can in turn pour out my love for others. Because of God’s unfathomable mercy, I no longer need to fear the judgment of others. Regardless of what happens in my life, I know that God holds me in the palm of His hand, and He will never leave me. He loves me as no one else can. I have experienced such amazing grace, and my wish is for you to experience the awe-inspiring God of the universe too! Romans 8:37-39
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