As many of you may have seen, I posted a video on my Facebook page answering the question, “Why am I a Christian” under three minutes. I moved to Concordia University about three weeks ago, and I’ve been attending Christ Lutheran Church Room 211 since then. Although my church back home will always have a special place in my heart, I’m really beginning to like this place. The church’s pastor encouraged us to share our testimony with our Facebook friends, videotaping ourselves talking about when Jesus became real to us. Since I am a talker, and could go on and on and on about how overwhelmed I get by the love of God, I wish my video could have been a bit longer. That’s why I decided to write my testimony here! 🙂
As I mentioned in my video, my first couple years of high school weren’t really what I would call the “glory days.” I struggled immensely with anxiety, depression, self esteem, and tried way to hard to be accepted by others. It wasn’t until the summer between my junior and senior year of high school when I truly claimed the faith I had my own. That fall, in my English Composition class, we had to write a personal narrative, and I decided to focus on the privilege I had that summer to attend the LCMS National Youth Gathering in San Antonio, Texas. Here’s my story…
Unfavorable thoughts raced through my mind, destroying every bit of idealism that passed through. Filling cups up to the brim, my head was compacted with uncertain circumstances that continually overwhelmed my life. My pupils grew wider as my eyes were fixed against my reflection. Staring back at a person I did not want to become, but unfortunately emerged into. Tears trickled down my cheeks while the beige linen soaked up my afflictions. This perpetual agony was the result of allowing one to dictate my happiness. One moment, he gazed back into my eyes, confessing the beauty he saw within me, the next, there is no acknowledgement to my existence. Milliseconds of eye contact were all it took to bring me back to the stark reality, knowing it’s over. Feeling demoralized than ever before, the salty droplets began to develop into tsunami tides, which then became a daily occurrence. Until a sudden moment, everything changed.
My heart anxiously waited healing and longed to be mended together with love. Fortunately, opportunity struck my interest. As the euphoric sun grew warmer and school no longer existed to me, I was blessed to travel to San Antonio for the biannual National Youth Gathering. Anticipation bubbled up in my stomach from the excitement occurring. I began to remove my mind from past situations I was in; I was attending with a positive attitude. I told myself repeatedly, “Now is your time to start over with a clean slate and enjoy yourself.” Only my mind can determine whether or not I am happy.
Looking down from the skyscraper hotel room, minuscule ants marched the streets of the city with teal backpacks around their shoulders just like mine. The little hand finally reached the six on the analog clock, and we journeyed towards the glass building. With every step I took further to the stadium, I hoped for a new story to reveal back home. Shuffling into the massive arena, I perceive just a glimpse of the overwhelming satisfaction about to occur. The flashing and radiant stage lights beam across my cheeks as a grin develops upon my face. I cannot believe I am here. Minute after minute, thousands of teens piled through the doors with the same expression as me. I am ready for an experience of a lifetime.
Every double door I view, innumerable bodies appeared before me. The bearded man slammed his foot against the bass, feeling the vibration up and down my spine. Ivory keys on the piano and coiled strings of guitars joined together in unison. Chills ran through my veins while blood pumped through my heart, making it beat faster and developing a sensational feeling. I turned my body forming a diminutive circle around myself, absorbing the atmosphere. Section by section, palms of various colors and sizes began to rise above our heads as we all praised our King. My vocal chords strenuously rubbed against each other as I belted out the songs of glory.
Each speaker chosen to declare their testimony supplied it with inspiration and a message to all. A thin, shiny headed man stepped up the stage and emphasized three words that will endearingly live in my heart. Pausing between each syllable to show importance, he softly chanted, “You. Are. Forgiven.” I have repeatedly obtained words related to this, but never accepted the sincere grace given to me.
Instructed to do so, thin sheets of paper were sent forth individually to the row I was seated in. “Write down whatever is on your mind. Confess your wrongs, and let go of your pain,” advised the man. My sweaty fingers clung the lead pencil while the graphite scratched against the shriveled sheet. Allowing a faint sigh to be caught, I folded my misery now etched in writing, and gripped it between my palms. 25,000 creased papers made their way to the edge of the stage, where a cross awaited. Thousands by thousands, confessions were poured onto the scorching fire turning my sins to complete ash.
The woman’s painted fingers stroked the keys filling the silence with peaceful notes. Involuntarily, my fingers intertwined one another and my eyelids began to close. Lowering my head, I reached out to my King showing Him my desperation. “Preserve my life; in Your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.” Quiet sobs filled up my throat hoping the pain would all go away. I then rose up my crippled body that was curled together with agony.
Rolling my shoulders back, I no longer felt the pressure among my bones. Knives didn’t slash though my heart like they used to everyday and glimpses of self-worth flashed before my eyes. Waterfalls of tears flowed down my cheeks, overwhelmed with His great love. And just like He cried out 2,000 years ago, I knew, “It is finished.”
As the sun rises and sets endlessly and the hour hand makes its daily rounds, temptation still reveals my past to me. Despite this distress, the great book states, “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” An innocent, selfless man burdened Himself to release my worries, then disastrously murdered just so I could live. Considering Himself, “a friend of sinners” overflows my heart with serenity. Obtaining the realization, I now fathom His eternal companionship and guidance towards His wondrous plan.
My perspective of life changed from learning that He has “plans to prosper and not to harm, plans for hope and a future.” The Lord granted me understanding to sustain love because He defines the sentiment.
A reason to let one control my dignity no longer exists to me anymore. The King appreciates my genuine worth, and I am beloved by Him. When temptation arrives again, and my eyes are fixed against what I once thought was a horrible reflection, I will smile, because His love never runs out on me.
It’s kind of crazy to me that I feel even somewhat comfortable sharing this with everyone now. This whole “blog” thing was really out of my comfort zone at first, and now all I want to do is share the Word of God with others. Ever since that experience, I’ve longed for more and more of God. He opens my eyes every day to see more of His beauty, grace and love. Of course, I’m not perfect. FAR FAR from it actually, but I use the learning experiences I get from sin to become the woman of God that I am suppose to be. I encourage you all to think about why YOU chose to follow Jesus, and if you feel up to it, share your testimony with others! It may make a difference.
Thanks for reading!