I’ve been praying and dwelling on the second part of my testimony the last month. I wasn’t sure I wanted to reveal it about myself, thinking how people would ultimately see me. God spoke to me about it in several ways, leading me to the knowledge that I do not care how others perceive me. I am secure and loved by an amazing God, and that is enough. It’s not about me, it’s about HIM. Let me state that again, it is not (and it never has been and never will be) about me, it is about HIM (His glory, His honor, and His work). My life hasn’t been all roses and hearts. I’ve struggled, and I’m sure I will struggle again. I realize now that I need to share this with people, for whatever reason God has. It’s not my place to question.
Ten years down the road from accepting Christ into my life as my Saviour, I think I’m just now getting to know how amazing He truly is. I ran from God for along time. I ran from everything that remotely resembled the Christian life. I questioned Him, His will, and my faith in Him. I struggled, broke down, and thought I got it all fixed back up. I put on a good front to alot of people in my life. The only real person I was fooling was myself. I knew God had called me and convicted me of my sin that night in Panama City. I followed Him as long as I was surrounded by the small group of people who I thought were Christians as well. I thought if I just lived in this bubble, within a safe circle, I would be the greatest Christian ever to grace the church doorway. God knocked me off that high horse rather quickly when I went off to college. I fought to fit in with a group of people at a large university. I found a niche where I could be accepted, as long as I wasn’t talking about God. This isn’t a fault of those people-it was my ultimate choice to be with this group of people. As the pull of the world got ever more enticing to me, I saw myself slipping from walk with God. I would go months without attending church, only going when I went home to visit my parents-being forced by my mother at that time only made me resent church even more. (I am very thankful and grateful for a mother who never gave up on me, continued praying to God to see me through all that I struggled and fought against.)
I didn’t rely on God for any decisions in my life. Looking back, I regret that and the fact I lost ten years of serving and walking with God. I also know that I cannot live my life regretting past decisions and actions, trusting God that it happened for a reason and to bring me to where I am now. I hated the one thing I had worked for three and half long years to accomplish-my career. I had dreamt of working in baseball from the moment I changed my major in the middle of my freshmen year. I had done countless hours of work in the baseball office at UT, interning for a minor league team back home, and so much research on ways to break the glass ceiling as a female in athletics. Then I finally got an internship in another state with a baseball team. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to get away from everything in Tennessee. I was running yet again-from God, only I didn’t know it was Him at the time. Within a week, I was crying wanting to come home to my sister. I was miserable and couldn’t see myself ever doing this as a career. I approached my job with such a bad attitude and disgust that it showed, to EVERYONE. I did only what I could to get by. I was happier when I was cutting loose with alcohol-something I never thought I would do. I had sworn to myself when my dad almost died from years of alcoholism that I would never drink a drop of alcohol as long as I lived. Without God’s help, that was never going to happen.
Over the next year and half I struggled to figure out, on my own, what I was going to do for the rest of my life. By this time I had moved back to Knoxville, working in retail to earn a living. I attended church occasionally, when I felt I really should be going. And by the fact I hated lying to my mom about going when I was in actuality not going. I started the book “The Purpose-Driven Life” since the church I was attending was doing a week-by-week study of it during morning worship. I thought it was perfect since I had no purpose for my life at that time. That’s when I started studying for the GRE and figuring out that I wanted to go back to school. Why not? Everyone else was doing it!
Three-fourths of the way through my first year in graduate school, I broke down. I was in a bad place, with no regard for consequence. I was on the outside, handling everything well, keeping my grades up and balancing working full time with a full load in grad school and an internship. That’s when I crashed. I remember it very vividly one night in my apartment. I couldn’t do it anymore-playing this charade had taken it’s toll on me and finally broken me. I wish I could say that from that point I trusted God with everything, but that’d be a lie. It took almost 2 more years before I finally grasped the gravity of all the things I was doing wrong in my life.
In December of this past year, I gave my life back over to God (not that it was ever mine to do in the first place). I knew that things needed to change within me in order for God to work in me. It’s been a very slow process, as it should. Changes, most anyways, do not happen overnight, especially when it comes to altering the very way you live life. Eight months later I am just now able to see God’s glory in all of this. It’s for His purpose that I have come down this road and into a new beginning with Him. I am so very blessed by where God has placed me and it’s for His praise and honor that I am serving Him where I am. I still have struggles in trusting God in every area of my life, but it’s something I pray to Him about daily, sometimes multiple times daily. He breaks me of sin in my life that I never realized was taking me away from Him. He’s blessed me with an amazing church family that encourages, teaches, and lovingly disciplines. I am amazed daily at all the things He’s done, and is still doing in my life, and the lives of people around me. I pray that I never stop hearing His voice in my ear. If you had told me this time last year that I would be an active member of a church, going to two Bible studies a week, and excited to worship and praise God every day, I would have laughed in your face. That’s how far I’ve come, but it’s a journey not a destination, and it will continue until the day He calls me home with Him. I’m so thankful for that hope and my eternal security.