I grew up in a Christian home and have parents who love the Lord and who preached the Gospel to me daily. I can remember going to church from a very young age and my parents have had me in church since I was a newborn. I grew up at First Baptist Church in Greenville and decided to be baptized at the age of eight and can remember making that decision but not fully understanding what that meant for me. It wasn’t until college however that I fully surrendered my life to the Lord, the summer after my freshman year in college. Throughout high school I never went through a rebellious stage but was actually the opposite. I struggled with legalism, comparing my sin to others and feeling better about myself through seeing that I wasn’t doing what others were doing. I was essentially a Pharisee. I went to youth group, bible studies, could tell you all the right things, but my heart had not been changed.
It wasn’t until my freshmen year of college that things began to change. The Lord stripped everything from my life…my community, my family, my friends, sports, and my church. I was in a new town and new school with absolutely no connections or community. I was miserable. I became very depressed and thought that I would transfer. I remember calling my mom that whole freshmen year and looking to her to help me and fix my hurt. She bluntly told me that she loved me but that she couldn’t be my Savior. Only Christ could fulfill that for me and I was looking for that fulfillment in all the wrong places. It was then that I understood the sweet truth of the Gospel. I was a sinner, who had been trying to work at my salvation my whole life. I essentially thought I was my own God and in control of my own life. I understood that Christ had died for a Pharisee like me and that his death and resurrection meant that I could have a relationship with a Holy God and become a new creature. Through Christ’s sacrifice I would no longer be separated from God and could have eternal life through Christ Jesus.
My walk with the Lord since then has grown and blossomed so much. I still struggle with legalistic tendencies and views but the Lord has burdened me with my sin and has shown me my black heart. I am grateful for how he has given me a love for Him and for others and to know His word and Truth more fully. I realize that I will never fully arrive while on this Earth and that the Christian life is one of repentance and believing again. I have had to embrace that every day and preach myself the Gospel every day because I know that my sin is ever before me. It is sweet to know that God’s grace is bigger than my sin and that I can rest in His grace completely.