Hey guys! This page is all about me and my faith story. If you are interested in learning about my blog and its purpose, you can find that on the Home/Welcome page!
If I were to describe myself in one sentence, I would have to say: “an introverted left-handed 16-year-old sophomore homeschooler who loves Jesus more than anything.”
In case that’s not enough information to satisfy your curiosity, here are some more random facts about me:
- I’m a published author (my short story was published in an anthology, and I had an article published in a magazine!).
- My favorite subject in school is Bible Doctrines (Abeka) and English (also Abeka).
- I’m an INFJ.
- My favorite color is mint green.
- I absolutely love listening to Christian music. TobyMac, Matthew West, and Unspoken are just a few of my favorites.
- My absolute favorite book (besides the Bible) is Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. It is an incredibly well-done, absolutely beautiful allegory that had me hooked from page 1. I definitely recommend it! My favorite book series is the Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins; I’m currently working my way through them, and they are AWESOME as well. I am also currently obsessed with Mark Batterson.
So that tells you about me, but now here’s my testimony, or my story (this is what I read to my church the day I was baptized):
I’ve been a Christian my whole life. I grew up in church; I knew that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and that God raised Him back to life on the third day. I knew I was saved because of my faith and that my home in Heaven was secure. I knew the meanings behind Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, Pentecost even. It seemed as though I had heard every Sunday School Bible story there was to be told. I had all the facts. But what I didn’t have until just one or two years ago was a relationship with the Savior of the world. I had His words, teachings, stories, and commands—but I didn’t necessarily have Him.
“If you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” ~Romans 10:9
“You believe that God is one. Good! Even the demons believe—and they shudder. ….Are you willing to learn that faith without works is useless?” ~James 2:19+20b
I started coming to the Youth Ministry here at [church name] when I was about half way through 6th grade. One Saturday night during small group time, we were discussing the crucifixion and the leader called on me to tell the group what I thought about it. I was caught off guard a little bit—not used to giving impromptu testimonies like that—but I managed to mumble an answer. I said something to the effect of “Jesus died for me, but a lot of times it’s like ‘oh yeah, that happened.’ When I actually think about all the suffering He went through, I guess it means more to me.” 1 John 2:2—“He himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world.” Again, I knew the facts, but I still did not truly know what it meant to be a Christian.
And then [camp name] 2017 happened. Being from a really small church at the time, the hundreds of students overwhelmed me. I had never seen such genuine worship, such passion for the gospel. I went home closer to God, but nothing in my life really changed. It was just the same. I think deep down I longed for that passion, that desire, but I just hadn’t found it. I don’t remember if it was before or after camp, but I remember either [person’s name] or [person’s name] saying during a devotional time that a thirst for God and a desire to do His will is a good start, and that God can take that longing and turn it into something great.
I started reading through the Bible in November 2017. I had the motivation, just like all the other many times I had attempted it, but something was different. A “you must do this if you’re a Christian” attitude and conviction weren’t behind it; I believe that it was driven by the longing to know God. I missed some days, even some entire weeks, but I kept at it. I actually made it past Genesis for once. And [camp name] 2018 was what convinced me to start to read every day. I had finished the entire Bible by August. It helped me to find the true passion, and I began to pray to God not as a power or a force, but a Father and Friend.
Then [person’s name] announced that there was going to be a baptism service in August. I knew what it was—being dunked under water to publicly show that you were saved, that you were no longer a slave to sin but a new creation like 2 Corinthians 5:17 talks about—and I wanted it. But, honestly, I was afraid. I’ve never been one to like huge crowds, especially not when everyone’s attention—humanly speaking—is on me. I started to make excuses, such as telling myself that I should observe a service first because we had only been attending [church name] on Sundays for about six months at the time. I knew every reason why I couldn’t be baptized was just an excuse, but I told myself that God would forgive me for not doing it and that I had my whole life ahead of me filled with second, third, and fourth chances. But Jeremiah 4:14 says, “Yet you do not know what your life will be! For you are like a vapor that appears for a little while, then vanishes.” As I stood there on the grass that day in August, watching [person’s name] and then [person’s name] walk out into the water, I thought to myself: “That could have been me.” That could have been me, had I just asked God for the courage to do it. After that, even the word “baptism” had a negative effect on me. It made me feel guilty, like I was running from something—running from God when I wanted to be running toward Him.
And then January 1, 2019, came. I wrote in my journal: “I pledge right here, right now, that 2019 will be different. It will be better. …He will be with me every step of the way—in the good and the bad, the mountain and the valley.” I made Matthew West’s song “All In” my motto. It says, “I’m going all in, headfirst to the deep end. I hear you calling and this time the fear won’t win.” I read Philippians 4:13 over and over again: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” I was determined to follow God’s plan for my life, and I thought I was ready. But I also thought that baptism was still a far way off. The idea that the next service wasn’t going to be until summer again comforted me at first because it let me know that I still had time before I had to worry about it. In other words, I was determined to follow God in the easy things but I was avoiding complete obedience because of fear.
But just two days later, January 3, I felt hopeless. I had lost the “all in” mentality. It seemed as though everything I read in YouVersion that day had to do with baptism, and the guilt snowballed until I found myself drowning with the weight of it all. I was at rock bottom because I so strongly felt God calling me to be baptized, but I was too afraid to bring it up with anybody and felt like a failure because of it. I prayed in despair, saying: “God, if you want me to be baptized now, then just give me the opportunity. You make a way and I will do my best to follow through.”
By the time I walked into church that next Sunday—January 6—I had almost forgotten about that prayer, but God hadn’t. I sat in my seat that day listening to [person’s name] as he went over the week’s announcements as usual, but then he announced a baptism service. I don’t even know how to fully put into words how I felt in that moment. I thought that I would be terrified if it ever actually happened, but I wasn’t. My fear had melted and all I felt was astonishment, thankfulness, and strength. Just the fact that God had so obviously answered me gave me the courage I needed to follow through. I talked to my parents that same day and then the elders two days later. I was finally free.
After the years of seeking and then finding God, the months of wanting but never receiving courage to walk in His will, I have finally found strength in Jesus Christ. He is my Savior, Father, and Friend. I can honestly say along with Paul that “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Jesus Christ, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:14)
I love the way Casting Crowns put it in their song “Voice of Truth.” It says this:
“Oh what I would do to have the kind of faith it takes to climb out of this boat I’m in onto the crashing waves // to step out of my comfort zone, into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is, and He’s holding His hand // but the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me, reminding me of all the times I’ve tried before and failed // the waves they keep on telling me time and time again ‘Boy, you’ll never win. You’ll never win!’ // but the Voice of Truth tell me a different story // the Voice of Truth says ‘do not be afraid’ // the Voice of Truth says ‘this is for My glory’ // out of all the voices calling out to me, I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of Truth”
It’s time to SEND IT!!!!