I am Redeemed.

I grew up in a family with believing parents, attending church weekly, listening to Christian music, going to church camp, attending every youth group event… God has always been a part of my life.

However, as I got older, I began to look to others for my worth and fulfillment. I felt more and more empty and constantly sought to be filled, especially by the attention of boys. I compromised a lot to get that attention, including not only my morals and dignity, but also my good relationship with my parents and even some friends. But none of it ever filled me up.

I hit rock bottom over and over, ran to God just long enough to get back out of the pit before jumping right back in. I was sure that no good man would want me after all my mistakes, and to me that was the most devestating place to be because I had made marriage the “god” that I was chasing. I knew that the true, living God was my answer, but even as I was seeking him I wasn’t willing to give up chasing after relationships with guys. I guess I didn’t truly believe that a relationship with Jesus was better than a relationship with a guy.

I sought God more and more, but was caught up in a relationship that I idolized and I just couldn’t stop chasing it. Finally one day, halfway through my junior year in college, after missing out on so much and being so depressed and unfulfilled for so long, I finally decided that I needed to chase after God completely, and when he told me I needed to leave that relationship behind, I listened and obeyed. It was finally worth it to pursue God with my whole heart.

The more I came to know Jesus, the more full I was. The less I needed to chase after other things. I actually felt weird getting compliments from boys because I didn’t need that attention anymore. I wasn’t scared anymore that I wouldn’t be wanted, because I knew that God had washed all my sins away and left me white and pure. I also knew that I was wanted by God, so even if no man ever wanted me, I was so satisfied and trusted that God had perfect plans for me. For the first time since I was a young girl, I was full of joy, excitement, hope, and peace.

Following Jesus isn’t always easy, and it has been really hard at times. But I feel like the times when I have struggled most are the times when I have stopped looking at Jesus and started looking at what the world “has to offer” instead. But even in my struggles, he always is there for me, arms open wide, faithful to take me back and still love me. Nothing can separate me from his love!

This is my story, and it can be yours too.

Your story may not have started like mine. It may be similar, or it may be completely different. But all of our stories share a common thread: brokenness and separation from God. All of us have sinned, and there is no distinction made. And the worst part is, none of us can erase our mistakes by doing “better tomorrow,” being a “good person,” or trying harder. We all end up making mistakes and trying to find something to help us not feel quite so empty… And it never works.

No matter how your story began, though, it can start over fresh and new just like mine has. That’s what Jesus offers- Life. A new life. A life where all of our mistakes are washed away and we are called “righteous” and adopted as God’s children. A life where the Holy Spirit guides us instead of sin. That doesn’t mean our lives will look the same, but it means that, just like me, you will look pure and new to God, and that you will have hope in the future you will spend with him. It means that you can have peace, joy, comfort in your grief, strength to face the trials in this life, and most of all, you can have love that can never be taken away from you.

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