I have so much to be thankful for. I had the privilege of being raised in a Christian home. My father and my mother were and are very devout Christians. When I was six years old, I stayed home during Halloween to ask my dad a lot of questions about God. That night, he led me to Christ.
It would seem my life was going really well at this point but it would soon be turned upside-down. I remember my dad being sick a lot during those years but it didn’t mean a lot to me because I knew he would get better. I didn’t have any experience with death.
While spending the night at a friend’s house when I was nine-years-old, I got a call from my mom telling me that my dad was in the hospital and that he was dying. It was like receiving a tremendous amount of pain to every part of my body, even the deepest recesses of my mind. Tears immediately began streaming from my eyes and I dropped the phone to the floor. My friend’s family rushed me to the hospital that night so I could spend what time with my dad while I still could, and that next morning I watched as he went to be with his Lord and Savior. My world had officially been blown to pieces.
I wasn’t mad at God. In fact, I still felt that He had things under control. However, instead of running to Him and clinging to Him, I slowly became independent and I relied on myself only. I became the lord of my own life and it was only mine to control. This was the biggest obstacle I would face in my journey to mature spiritually.
During a Christian summer camp while I was in junior high I became aware of my need for Christ in my life, something I never fully grasped before; I dedicated my life to him and him alone. I wish I could say that was the end but it wasn’t; it only began a much longer struggle of surrendering my life to Christ.
My senior year of high school was the greatest year of my life. A very small and close-knit class at a great Christian school helped me a lot in maturing in my faith. I began to make new, strong friendships that will last forever. One of these friends would eventually be the catalyst that brought me to tears one night as I realized just what my Savior had done for me. That was a turning point for me. I became on-fire for God. I threw out my prior dreams of studying pharmacy and embraced a passion and desire for ministry.
One night, my freshman year of college, I was once again brought to tears as God broke me. I realized that I could not do things by myself and that I needed Him. Since then, I have made it my mission to live my life in complete service to my Savior, not as I would have it done but as He would have it done.
Over this past year God has really shown me the need for complete surrender as well as the need for fiery passion instead of the stale participation we find too often in “Christian” circles. In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, God continues to teach me that “…God gave us a spirit, not of fear, but of power and love and self-control.”