To be honest, I wrote this a little bit ago, and I know it is not a typical blog post; but I really wanted to share with y’all how my relationship with Christ came about. Thank you Maddie Heth, and everybody who has impacted me along my journey to know God and make Him known. Also, thank you to all the amazing people I have met through Trietsch youth group. I agape love y’all. Here it is.
He is man with long brown hair and brown eyes. A kind man. A patient, joyful, and loving man. A forgiving, courageous, honest, fair, wise, and fearless man. A holy man. The holy man. I was fearful, nervous, lonely, doubtful, and curious. I became optimistic, hopeful, anxious, and still curious. I am now happy, confident, excited, fearless, and faithful. I am now a Christian.
As a kid, I grew up in the church. My mom is Catholic, and my dad is Presbyterian. I was baptized Presbyterian, but went to a Catholic school and had my Catholic Holy Communion. We would go to the Presbyterian church in town every Sunday at nine in the morning. Every Sunday I would go to Sunday school. Every Christmas Eve we would go to the church. Every Easter we would go to church in the morning. I was even a part of the church choir. I went to church, but I was not actually there. I sat in the third row near the middle every Sunday. The two rows in front of me and the rows behind me were filled with smiling faces of what it looked to be everyone in town. I had the best view in the church. I was able to see the old lady in the top left corner of the adult choir falling asleep while singing hymns. I went to the same church my dad went to growing up, so every person in church knew me. All the older couples thought I was the best kid at church since I was the only one not crying, but truly I was either sleeping, drawing on the white offering envelope, or playing my Junie B. Jones game on my Leap pad. For me, church was just something I had to attend. I did not like church. I thought it was boring. The only thing I liked about church was in Sunday school when the teacher would give us Bugles, and I would put them on my fingers as claws and act like a monster. I just went through the routine of church. I believed in God because I was told to. I went to church because I was told to. I prayed because I was told to. I did everything because I was told to.
In the third grade when I moved to Texas my parents did not find a church of their liking. A few years later, a group of girls I met in middle school invited me to go to their church youth group on Wednesday with them. At first, I was very hesitant, but my mom thought it would be a good idea to go with them since I had not been to church in awhile. I became interested in the church, in the people that were there, and in the music. The youth-goers made me want to come back. I became a regular throughout the year, but I was still going through the motions. I told myself and others that I believed in God, but I truly in my heart did not. I wanted to, yet something was still missing. I felt a hole in my heart. I felt empty. I was optimistic, but still curious with a few doubts. I was only there half- heartedly.
In the seventh grade, those same girls that brought me to church took me to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes club at school. Later in the year, in March, I went to a church retreat with the club because all of my friends were going. I had no idea what to expect. I was only told that we would play games, hangout, and sing worship songs. Just like the youth group I attend. We left right after school on Friday, driving two hours to get to the retreat. Right when we got there we went straight to dinner. They served us pizza. It tasted like I was eating plastic on top of card board. It was not the best, but I was not here to criticize the cooking. I was here to play games and hangout- right? At least that is what I thought, but I was in for something that I never expected to happen.
Woah- Saturday was an early morning. We had to wake up at 5:30 for breakfast at 6:00. Then we played games, hung out, ate, played more games, read the Bible, and ate some more. Saturday was different than Friday. We worshiped on Saturday just like we did on Friday, but before we worshiped we listened to people’s testimonies. The testimonies ranged from cancer to rape to drugs to abuse to thankfulness. I was in awe that with what already happened to kids around my age, and they were still believers in Christ. One girl with short blonde hair shared that the only reason she beat cancer was because she saw an angel in her dream. Every story shared made me interested in God a little bit more. After all the testimonies, we sang worship songs for two hours. Everybody was emotional around me crying in happiness and thankfulness because they had already accepted Christ in their lives. The second to last song the band played was a cover of “One Thing Remains” by Jesus Culture. As we were singing the chorus for the third time I felt a rush of cold air swarm around me, as if, someone was hugging me while I closed my eyes. I fell to my knees crying knowing He loves me even through all of the years I was not a believer. He loves me. He never gives up on me. Still on the ground, I felt a bunch of hands touch me in support of my decision in life. I felt relief. I no longer felt lonely. The hole I felt in my heart was gone. I stood up moments later when my friend, and as of that moment, sister in Christ now, Maddie Heth, hugged me saying ” I knew it. You had just accepted Christ. Congratulations!” Hearing the word “Congratulations!” for accepting Christ in my life shocked me because I normally only hear that after winning. “Congratulations!” “Congratulations!” “Congratulations!” I kept reiterating Maddie saying that in my head. Still crying, we began to sing the next song, “I Surrender” by Hillsong. “With arms stretched wide/ I know You hear my cry/ Speak to me now/ Speak to me now/ I surrender/ I surrender/ I wanna know You more/ I wanna know You more” my favorite lyrics were sang by everyone at the retreat. This was the moment I surrendered my life to Christ. When I sang those exact words I knew I fully and whole-heartedly was a follower of Jesus. I was grateful, happy, and felt like a better person leaving the retreat.
That kind, forgiving, fearless, and wise man I described with the long brown hair and brown eyes changed the person I used to be into the better version of myself. I went from being fearful, nervous, lonely, and doubtful to strong, happy, confident, excited, fearless, and faithful. I was not a believer. I was just a church-goer who went for the wrong reasons, but I am now a believer who loves God, Jesus, and the Bible. I surrendered. God is in my life. God is my life. He loves me. He will never give up on me. His love is everlasting. Agape love. I am Christian. A Christian from the time in seventh grade when I went to the retreat in March with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes club. I accepted Christ in my life when singing covers of “One Thing Remains” by Jesus Culture and “I Surrender” by Hillsong with all the believers of the Word and my brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen.