Growing up, I was in church anytime the doors were opened.
I went on all the mission trips, camps, and retreats…
attended bible studies, had the best of friends, and had multiple mentors.
My life was beautiful.
I said “the prayer” when I was 8 and proceeded to be baptized.
I laid wide eyed at night for years terrified that the rapture was going to come
and I would be the only one left behind.
I went forward again at a church camp in middle school
and cried out again for Him to take my sins away and give me peace.
Nothing dramatically changed.
But I kept up with the façade of being super holy.
When I went off to college, I found myself shedding the church girl persona
and giving myself to the first person to call me beautiful…
and saying yes to any drink or smoke that was passed in front of me.
My life was spiraling but I didn’t even care.
If my mask was still tightly fastened at the end of the day I was okay…
I could suffocate my convictions easily.
It took me lying in my bed so sick with mono…
unable to make it to the bathroom down the hall without passing out…
for me to cry out to the Lord.
He met me there and I felt Him calling me away
from the life I had built on sinking sand and into a new adventure with Him.
That’s when I signed up for the World Race.
I proceeded to spend a year preaching, holding orphans, and living extreme.
I saw healings and people surrendering their lives to the Lord…
it was absolutely intense.
My view of Him was rocked.
I remember sitting on a roof in India and being completely overwhelmed with His presence.
I can vividly remember sitting down with Him and writing down everything I’d been through.
Crying and snotting and surrendering the darkest parts of my heart to Him.
It was incredible.
If I’m honest…
That’s where my testimony stops when people ask.
I think there’s an unspoken expectation that once you have an experience with Jesus
you aren’t allowed to screw up after that.
I’d like to say my life has been flawless and beautiful since that moment on the roof.
But it hasn’t.
I still struggle.
I have had many rock bottom moments since.
Moments that I’ve laid in my bed face down in my pillow
crying out to a God that I didn’t even know if I believed in.
Moments where I’ve fallen flat on my face
and slipped back into addictions I thought I’d shaken.
Moments where my strength dwindled and my flesh lead
and I was left completely empty and hating myself.
Moments that I’ve doubted the very importance of my existence.
Moments where I’ve literally hidden in shame and never wanted to be seen again.
Many moments—months even—that I didn’t even crack my bible or mumble the smallest prayer.
Call me crazy but I can’t help but believe I’m not alone.
Don’t get me wrong,
I wholeheartedly believe that there are people who experience the Lord
and it wrecks them from deep within and they are changed completely.
but I also wholeheartedly believe through personal experience
that once we surrender, the enemy hops on us…
trying to suffocate any peace and life that was so freely given to us.
I often find myself paralyzed to even write because I feel inadequate to have influence
when I know the depths of my heart.
Today I choose to shatter the façade that I have it all together.
I confess that although I am a Christ follower- I still struggle daily.
But I breathe deep in the fact that His grace is suffocating and constant.
Let’s be honest…
Living from Him is messy.
But He knows it is.
He walked the earth and was tempted and tried just as we are…
and He gets it.
I find rest in that.
I find peace in that.
I find peace in the fact that he doesn’t kick us away when we fall.
He picks us up and sings over us and reminds us who He truly created us to be.
is what gives me strength to fight my flesh and choose to live for Him.
Not out of fear or obligation
but because His love and grace is so full force regardless.
It’s damn hard.
And I don’t understand anything…
But I’m in.
It’s not easy to confess when I’m struggling…
And to mumble through teary eyes and shaky hands that
this life is hard even WITH Christ…
but I’m in.
Cheers to testimonies continuing for our entire lives.
Cheers to bumping the enemy’s lies that we are failures.
Cheers to peace.
Cheers to true life.