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MY TESTIMONY - nine year baptism anniversary



Today is my nine year baptism anniversary, and in celebration of that, I wanted to share with y'all, officially, a more in depth story of my testimony and the work God has done in my life since then. It honestly feels like yesterday that I was getting baptized and making that decision, and as I look back on the nine years since then, I'm genuinely in awe of how good God is and how faithful He has been.


I grew up in church my entire life, baptized when I was 8 years old. I don't exactly remember my relationship with God before this point, but I do remember that my faith has always been extremely real to me. I hadn't really questioned my faith at all, and I was already really into reading daily devotionals and learning more about Jesus. In fact, the day of my baptism, after my little party, I went on a road trip with my grandparents, and I was distraught because I left my Bible at the church.


From then on, I remember that I slowly worked up and increased all the things I did during my Bible study. I started out with devotional books, and then I did Bible studies on the Bible app, and I eventually began taking my own notes as I read straight from the Bible. I created a routine, and from that point, I think I've only missed a few days of Bible study - simply because after doing it for so long, I crave Scripture and meeting with Jesus, and when I don't do it, I don't feel like me, and definitely not the best version of myself.


My life was pretty smooth sailing, for the most part, until one summer in middle school. One of my very best friends had some serious health issues, and I sank into deep depression and struggled immensely with anxiety. I lost my joy, my passion, and pretty much my entire personality. I wasn't myself anymore, and my relationship with Jesus began to backslide. I didn't have the energy to pray or keep fighting for my faith, so I just rolled through the motions. My Bible study often ended in tears and I couldn't sing at church anymore without bawling my eyes out, because God felt oh-so far. My heart was numbed yet so full of pain, and while I didn't stop believing in God, my relationship with God struggled immensely.


So I went into my 7th grade year terrified of people seeing me this way. I decided I had to pretend, I had to come back as the happy girl everyone knew, and I did. I don't think anyone would have guessed it, but I was still hurting so much inside, and it was overwhelming. (This is our reminder that we have no idea what is going on in someone else's life.)


By a series of events that could only have been coordinated by God, I was placed in the 8th grade gifted class. I mostly stayed to myself, because, hello, I was a seventh grader with a bunch of eighth graders, and that felt like a huge deal. But I got to know one of the girls really well, and we became super close. Our stories of struggles weren't the same, but she listened and understood the way I felt, and the way God felt so far. We actually wrote letters back and forth, sharing pieces of our story and attempting to encourage and empathize with each other. I still have those letters in my closet.


Because of her, I didn't feel so alone anymore. There was someone on my side, who understood how I felt and wasn't going to let me remain unseen. She was there when I had my first anxiety attack on the bathroom floor, trying to soothe me over text. She challenged me to talk to my parents and encouraged me with Bible verses. And I think that she was God's way of, little by little, opening my heart up for healing and trusting Him again.


After that, for the most part, I was a pretty average pre-teen/teenage girl. I went through a season of loneliness, when I had pretty much zero friends, and that was hard, but I think that was also used to draw me deeper and deeper into Christ. Anxiety was still a real struggle for me sometimes, but not nearly as bad as it once was. I was doing well, mostly. My faith was strong, although my relationship with God sometimes felt like more of a rollercoaster than a relationship. But yeah, life was good.


And then, sophomore year, heartbreak of the century. A breakup.


I had to surrender everything I thought my life would be and process all the ways I was hurt, and then begin to unpack how that affected my identity and the way I saw myself. It was a long, hard journey, but I honestly feel like that was such a turning point in my faith. That was when noticing and hearing God became more consistent for me. I developed this peace that I wish I could explain and this joy unlike any other, and although I had to go through one of the hardest things, it helped mold me into a new version of myself, and one I like a whole lot more.


I so vividly remember on some of the hardest nights that I would just reflect on that summer before seventh grade, when I was so depressed and so far from God that I just gave up. That was the thing that kept me going, that forced me closer to the Lord because I couldn't go back to that spot. After the breakup I was hurting so badly, questioning if it was even worth it to keep living, and sometimes I'd settle in that for a bit too long - but then I'd remember the few years before and how my faith slipped away. I refused to allow myself to let go of my death grip on Jesus, so I prayed harder than before, dove into Scripture deeper than ever, and pushed myself to heal the broken places of my heart and press even closer into the Lord. And guess what? Jesus met me in that place. He met me there, and it was there that I experienced the presence of God unlike anything I've ever experienced before.


It was not easy. Some days, it's still not easy. But the intimacy I experienced with Jesus in my most vulnerable, hurting places have transformed and will continue to transform my faith and my relationship with Jesus. Because it really is just that - a relationship.


So here I am, continually healing and growing and working through hard things. I'm not perfect. I don't have it all together. I still struggle with sin and forgiving people and understanding my identity, but I am joyfully walking with the Lord, continuing a journey that I began nine years ago today.


Dang, it is crazy for me to think about that.


I hope little me is proud of me.

 

There ya have it! My testimony. It is truly my prayer that God would use my story to encourage anyone I get to share it with, and ultimately, that it would ooze His goodness and grace. I want my life, my story to reflect His faithfulness through every high and every low, and I hope that by sharing that with you today, you were reminded just a little bit more that the God we serve really is good, and He really is faithful, and He really is making a way through the pain - even if we can't quite see it yet.

1 comment

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Love you bunches, Sweet Ellie!

Curtir
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