I distinctly remember being 18 years old, sitting on my bed, weeks before moving on from childhood and into the unknowns of college life. I sat there and contemplated the changes that I was about to embark upon. The more thoughts that ran through my head, the more overwhelmed I became, and finally cried out, “There’s got to be more than this!” I was coming off 18 years of a comfortable, but broken upbringing. At a very ripe age 10, I decided that my life was my own and it was up to me to get myself to where I thought I should be. The words of the culture around me echoed in my head daily: Be a perfect student and star athlete with a lot of friends and a handsome boyfriend. Win everyone over with a charming personality, and never let anyone see you fail. Oh, and make sure that you have a body that turns heads, along with more than enough money to clothe it in today’s hottest trends!
In those 18 years I became an expert at disguise. No one around me knew my true longings or deepest desires. No one knew that I longed for true love. A love that was bigger than me. A love that could fill in all the holes that doubt, fear, abandonment, and disappointment had left in my life. No one knew that I longed for purity and a true righteousness in my heart that was so often clouded with selfishness and unfair judgments toward those around me. And above all else, I made sure no one knew that I was scared. Scared of failure, scared of being lonely, scared of people’s opinions of me, scared of my future here on earth, and deeply scared of my future beyond this life – if such a future existed. I walked around every day in fear and by the time I went off to college, I was tired. I was so tired, I started letting pieces of myself go to various distractions around me. My demanding academic schedule and new part-time job took all of my time and energy. I joined a sorority and they took my social life and all of my money. My long-time boyfriend decided he would marry me if I would finally agree to sleep with him. So there I was, about to be just another girl who would succumb to the pressures and temptations of the world around her. I knew one day, she would eventually disappear into her career, or her family – if she was lucky! Most likely, she would become another statistic of divorce, or simply suffer a life of mediocrity.
But, it turns out Someone was listening that day I sat on my bed and cried out for “More!” Over the first couple of months of my life at college – while I was unknowingly giving bits and pieces of myself away – I was slowly being introduced to Jesus Christ. I learned that God had come to earth to live as a human, and then to die on the cross and take my place of punishment for my sins against Him. That same God had created the earth and from the beginning of time had intended to create me one day so that He could have a personal relationship with me. He was who I was always supposed to turn to in great happiness and in overwhelming despair. He was the reason for all my hope and who I could run to when I felt all hope was lost. He even knew those secret longings and deep desires I thought I had kept so guarded. He knew I was tired and He knew of everything that was taking me apart piece by piece.
I stepped into a relationship with Jesus on October 26, 2003. All I knew at that time was that He wanted my everything and He was the only one who deserved my everything. And I knew that with Him, I would be truly cared for. That’s all I needed to know at the time and ever since then, Jesus has shown me more and more of who He is and who I am – as He always intended me to be.
All of this may be hard to grasp for someone who doesn’t know Jesus – or even believe Him to be real. So, I say to you that I understand, and that if you are willing to want to get to know Him, He will lead the way. Just ask Him to. He’s the only one with the right answers to any question you may have.
Giving my life to Christ was the best decision I ever made. But it didn’t make life easier – in some ways, life has become more difficult. And like all humans everywhere, I’ve experienced grief and loss, failure and closed doors, disappointment and loneliness. Yet it’s through all of those that I’ve come to know truly what it means to draw close to my Savior and lean on him who is stronger and better than my greatest efforts. God promises, What we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will give us later. Romans 8:18.
God loves people – He loves you! – and He has given me a heart to love people too. I gave this tract to you because, regardless of how well I may know you, I care about you and desperately want you to experience God’s overwhelming love and all-encompassing forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
“The time has come”…“The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1:15