Have you ever known someone who has experienced the Lord so strongly in their life that you can literally see a radical change within them? I am blessed to have met & become the best of friends with a sweet lady, Kayla, who continually pushes me to grow in the Lord and pursue his calling in my life. You must read her beautiful story of redemption & restoration. By the way Kayla is the one who let me take pictures of her worshiping for the Now Rejoice photo above.
“Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story..” Psalm 107:2
I’m so honored that Brit would ask me to share something on her blog. She has made a huge impact on my life—I definitely would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for her encouragement, support and prayers…and of course, all of the fun and laughter we have when we’re together! Did I mention the laughter?
Growing up I always went to church hearing stories about how much God loves us. I didn’t understand this love because the only love I knew was seeing my parents argue all the time. I went to church because my parents made me, not because I wanted to. My deepest desire growing up was to be loved. I started searching for it in all the wrong places, though. In junior high I started hanging out with the wrong crowd and doing things I was not supposed to do. In high school things only started to get worse. I began sneaking out and I turned to alcohol and drugs, hoping that would make someone love me.
Even though the constant partying nearly cost me my life my junior of high school, it did not stop me from getting into an unhealthy and immoral relationship. Although I knew it was wrong, the inability to stand up for myself had such control on me that I could not stand up to this man who took advantage of me, manipulated me, and abused me in every way. Going through this time was very hard. I went from a fun, bubbly girl to someone I didn’t recognize. I was down all the time. I was angry all the time. I hated people. I hated life. I hated everything. I didn’t believe in God. I was mean and rude to anyone who tried to reach out to me.
During this time, my family did not get along. I was pushing my parents to get a divorce. They didn’t know what to do with me. I did not get along with any of them. I was rude and never wanted to be around them. This all changed, however, when I went to college and got out of the unhealthy relationship.
It’s a beautiful thing when the Lord intervenes. During my first year of college, my super sweet roommate kept encouraging me to attend Chi Alpha (a ministry for college students). That was the last thing I wanted to do. She kept inviting me, and I eventually went for the free pizza (being broke has its advantages :) ). The Lord began working in my heart and I eventually responded to His longing and gave my life to Him. It has been a beautiful ride seeing the faithfulness of God on my life!
“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” Ezekiel 36:26
Since being saved, the Lord called me to pursue justice on the man who abused me, He has restored my family (we all get along and have a blast!), and he restored my broken and bruised heart. He has brought His beautiful redemption to me when I was lost, broken, hurt, and confused. Now, I'm a child of God called righteous, holy, a saint, beautiful, loved and forgiven. I am free and no longer bound by sin and the weight of my past. I am a new creation, brought to life by His beautiful redemption.
I now love people. I love life. I love Jesus. I love my family. I love all of my friends. I love the calling God has on my life. I Love.
I’m so thankful that I can Now Rejoice because of everything God has done in my life.
“To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.” Isaiah 61:3