When I think about the question, “how did I come to faith?” it is difficult for me to conjure up a dramatic story about how I came to know the Lord because that is not my reality.
My story does not consist of drugs, sex, wild parties, or the like. For as long as I can remember, I have been a rule follower, one who has possessed a moral compass to do what’s right.
I was raised in both a Baptist church and the Church of God and taught to always do the right thing, but the understanding of salvation is a faint memory.
It wasn’t until I went to university that I realised my need for a living Savior. I connected with the campus gospel choir for community and was approached by some of the upperclassmen in the elevator after rehearsal one night. They asked if I was “saved” and I had no clue what they meant. I proceeded to share with them that I was not saved and that I didn’t understand the concept. They briefly explained and asked if I would like to accept Jesus Christ. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time, so, of course, I accepted.
That night, in 2005 as a college freshman, I accepted Christ in my life. However, I was a little perplexed about what my life would look like from that moment forward.
Would God magically make all of my worries go away? Would He instantly remove the procrastination that I had struggled with for years? Would the low self-esteem vanish and allow me to wake up with bold confidence?
I continued my life as usual with very little guidance and began attending the local church along with other college students.
It wasn’t until two years later in 2006 when the Lord captured my heart on a much deeper level after I had experienced academic probation, academic suspension, sat home for a semester, and returned to college with a new perspective.
I was involved in an unequally yoked relationship and felt convicted, but it wasn’t strong enough to pull away.
In August 2006 I was in church when the pastor made the alter call. I could feel a tug in my stomach, and knew it was time to rededicate my life to my Father in Heaven. It was time to embark on a new path with new people and hopefully, new life.
I always consider this encounter as my ‘true coming to Jesus moment’. It was after that moment that I did away with the unequally yoked relationship, threw away all of my secular music, and put distance between me and some of the friends I once hung around. My life was changing and there was no appetite for anything unholy. However, some areas were still a work in progress and still needed to be renewed. Let’s pause there, my mind is still being renewed daily. Remember, it’s a process and we work out our salvation daily.
When I think back to my life before Christ and the form of godliness that I possessed, the fixed and limited mindset I had, the guilt I carried, and lack of identity that was present, I quickly realize that I didn’t have a proper perspective of myself or of God.
I think about all of the years that I squandered not seeing myself in the same way the Lord sees me and settling for things that did not fulfill me. I think about how I viewed situations as hopeless endings with no sight of a better outcome. So, needless to say, my relationship with Christ gave me purpose and gave my unfortunate situations purpose.
Unfortunate situations didn’t lead to a dead end road and were no longer empty moments that didn’t carry weight. The unfortunate situations were now moments that were part of a bigger picture, a testimony, a lesson, a moment to boast about God’s grace, and how He gave me a new perspective to take leaps of faith.
You see, I was a girl who looked through tainted lenses with a prescription that included rejection, pessimism, doubt, fear, worry, inferiority, low self-esteem, and poor self-perception. These lenses limited me, my relationship with God, my familial relationships, my friendships, and most importantly, my ability to live a life of freedom. God’s presence in my life gave me so much hope and peace.
Aside from experiencing hope and peace, God gave me a special gift that I get to carry around with me daily. This gift is one that is exclusive to the Christian community at the time of salvation and it empowers us to do the unthinkable! This gift helps me do things that I cannot do on my own. Remember, those negative thoughts I was struggling with? Well, the gift God gave me at salvation helps to quiet the negative chatter in my head and reminds me of who God says I am. It’s the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is such a wonderful companion for this journey I’m on. His presence is truly a game changer. I could not talk about having hope without mentioning the Holy Spirit.
It is my prayer that my story has encouraged at least one reader to trust in God and to rely on Him for proper perspective of self, circumstances, and other people. He is definitely one that will give you hope when the world tells you it’s the end. Placing my hope in Jesus helps me to cling to the promise in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” No matter what your situation looks like, it will work out for your good. It will not result in a hopeless ending without meaning.
That trial, whether self-imposed or God ordained, you will get through with understanding, wisdom, and knowledge. You even have the opportunity to experience joy, if you choose to do so.
The Bible tells us that we are to be of good cheer when we experience trials, for it’s an opportunity to grow in faith. I mean, can you ask for a better deal? He always finds a way to give us hope in any dark situation. Remember, put your trust and hope in the One who has all power and not in your own works.
TO CONNECT WITH NOLIE ON: