My testimony, how can I type that in 350-500 words? Let me try and sum it up in three: He found me.
Growing up, we went to church every Sunday. It was not anything more, and not anything less. Right after I turned seven years old, my parents got a divorce, and our regular church-going family halted to a stop. As I hit 5th grade, I began to ease my way back into the church with my friends. The church was fun for me. Yet, it was not anything more, not anything less. I bounced around tons of different churches until I found The River Church in small-town Holly, Michigan. It was a church where I could sneak into a 6th – 12th grade event when I was only in 5th grade. I loved being sneaky!
I was a force to be reckoned with in fifth grade. All throughout elementary school, I got in loads of trouble because I hung around the wrong crowd. I was an outreach kid, a van kid, and a trouble maker. However, many showed me the love, grace, and mercy that Jesus showed them. People began to pour into me and fight for me every Wednesday night at this outreach event. The church kept reaching for me so that Jesus could find me. After a consistent year of going to Fusion every single week, I was finally old enough to go to camp. It sounded fun, so I gathered some friends, packed way too many bags, and endured the two-hour bus ride to camp.
Day one, two, and three of camp, my heart remained hard. I did not focus on the hour-long chapels, the worship music, or the conviction that I felt in my heart. I focused on my friends, the gross games, and the chaos that I could create later that night for my cabin leaders. By day four, though, I walked out of the chapel feeling conviction in my heart and knowing that I was lost in my soul. Do you remember the last night of chapel at camp when the pastor is digging so deep into your heart, and everyone is crying in a corner? It was that night. I began walking back to my cabin, stopped, and turned back around to find myself back inside the chapel and sitting down with the student pastor to confess my sins. Now, at that age, I did not realize I was confessing, but rather spitting out choppy, sob-filled sentences about my mess of a life. I know you know exactly what I am talking about. Please do not pretend you have never been there! Yet, I remember him explaining salvation to me and feeling the weight of a thousand tons being lifted off my shoulders when I confessed with my mouth and believed in my heart that Jesus Christ is Lord.
I remember hearing the Gospel and reciting the “salvation prayer” hundreds of times as a kid. This time, though, I felt the love of the Lord overflow in my heart. Remember when I told you that I was a nuisance from birth to middle school? I never got in trouble since middle school. Even though I was not completely devoted and committed to serving the Lord until about 8th grade, He changed my heart and my soul that night in the corner of the chapel. He took a mess, a broken child, an outreach kid, a stubborn girl, and He changed her heart. I cannot imagine where my life would be without the God who sought me out and found my soul. He found me, and He will find you, too. You just have to let Him.