My walk with jesus

July 13, 2009
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Ever since I was a little girl I always remember my parents making me wake up early on Sunday mornings and go to church. I grew up in a Christian family that went to church every Sunday, and it was just a regular part of my lifestyle. As I got older I would pretend to be sick Sunday mornings so that I wouldn’t have to go to church. Church wasn’t something that I looked forward to, it was something that I was obligated to do. I was a Christian and I loved God, but because I was so young and had not had a personal experience with him I did not see the importance of going to church every Sunday. That never stopped me from believing in God, because that’s what my parents expected from me. But as I got older and my childhood innocence diminished after my parent’s divorce I began to think differently about God. I felt less and less compelled to regularly attend church services. I was caught in a sea of emotions, ignited by my father’s lack of morals and his emotionally abusive behavior directed towards me. When I wasn’t reminded of my traumatizing experiences of him I mostly thought about how miserable my life was. I became depressed with low-self esteem, and most days I didn’t even want to wake up in the morning. That was because my dreams were so much better than reality. I would miss school, go for days without talking to my friends, and almost every day ended with an emotional outburst when I was reminded of the memories of my father, and how I had been treated. I felt alone and abandoned in my life, and blamed some of my circumstances on God. Why would he do this to me? What had I ever done to deserve this? I put a wall up between me and God and accepted and carried all of my pain alone. I believed that no one could help me, not even him. Sadness became the only emotion I could feel, and I became numb to joy and happiness. I had forgotten what it felt like to really laugh, or smile without having to force it. I fake this happiness for my teachers and friends, but that was never how I felt inside. I closed my heart and turned my back against God. What could he do that could ever help me? My world was filled with sin, and the pain of living in that world was unbearable.

The summer was drawing close, and every day I was waiting for an opportunity to leave the neighborhood. My mom was researching summer camps for me, and she came across Sambica. I immediately said that I wanted to go, a week away from the chaos of home was just what I needed. She told me that it was a Christian camp, but I didn’t really care. I was just pleased to be getting away from home. I invited my friend Morgan who also was also interested in going to a summer camp. A few months later it was (date here) of July and we were loading up the car t leave for camp. When we pulled up into the gravel parking lot of Sambica I was already impatient to find out where and who was in may cabin, and what the camp looked like. Once I was assigned my cabin and met my councilor and the five other girls I said goodbye to my mom I started unpacking all of my belongings. As I unpacked my things I thought about how I was finally free, and away from home. That night we went to the Foyer to worship God, and meet all of the kids in the camp. During worship some of the kids would outstretch their hands and close their eyes when they were singing along to the songs. I thought this was lame, and actually kind of stupid. Ignorantly me and another girl in my cabin that I had just met started to imitate the kids. We would laugh and giggle because we thought they were so weird. Almost all of the people in the Foyer were all really passionate about Christ. Even the way that they were singing, like those kids, showed their enthusiasm for God. After seeing them I realized that maybe God was not a priority in my life. But at the time I pushed that possibility out of my mind. I wanted to believe that I was a Christian, because that’s what seemed to the right thing. The next day we spent a lot of time in the Foyer worshiping God. It seemed like that was all that we did at camp. I was frustrated that we spent most of our time worshipping; I thought that camp was supposed to be fun. At one point I even reached the conclusion that I wanted to leave camp and go home.

But that feeling didn’t last for long. The more time I spent worshipping and talking about God with councilors and friends the more I started to care about God. The verses in the bible that I had never really put much thought into finally started to make sense. They were all about loving God, and loving people. I then started to read my bible before bed during lights out, because I wanted to understand it better. But the bible never taught me as much about God as my counselor Prof did. She was the most warm-hearted and compassionate person I had ever met in my life. As I watched her help people, and exert kindness onto others I immediately knew that was the type of person that I wanted to be. Even being around her for five minutes would make my day, because the way she talked and listened to me made it seem like she actually cared, and she did. She cared about everyone. Prof didn’t care what you wore, looked like, talked about, or believed in. She loved everyone and everything. I remember every night before we would go to dinner our cabin would look out at the sunset on the lake and gaze at its marvelous beauty. Prof would talk about how important it was to appreciate the beauty of the earth. It really got me thinking about how much I take for granted, and how the simplest things that we sometimes overlook can be extraordinary.

The most important thing that got me focused on God were the
testimonies that other counselors would share. The testimonies were about the hardships that people had been through, and how God pulled them through all of the rough times. The most mind provoking, and completely moving testimony was one from a counselor named Spaz, her real name was Jenny. She talked about her middle school years when she started drinking and cutting herself. Her story advanced when she said that at one point she was going to give up life, because she didn’t want to live anymore. I can’t explain or even begin to try and re-tell the story the way she did, but towards the end of the story right when she was finally giving up hope God saved her. He took her into his arms of mercy and infinite love and extended a relationship. She talked about her moment with God, and described it so vividly it was like I could actually picture experiencing it. By the end of her testimony she wasn’t the only one crying, I was too. Her story touched my heart and made me well up inside with tears. I could feel her pain, and I knew how it felt to be lost and alone. If someone who had been through as much as Jenny had and still found God, why couldn’t I? For some reason I felt a bond with Jenny after hearing her story, and I knew that my heart was opening more to God.

That next night was when it happened. The single most important night of my life that has changed my life more than anything. The moment that Jesus reached out and touched my heart, as I accepted him as my personal savior. As I walked into the Foyer everything was normal. The campers were all standing up by their counselors chatting and laughing at jokes that were unheard. Rev, the singer and guitarist who lead worship every night interrupted the chatter with a short announcement that tonight’s worship was going to be special. He started to sing and play his guitar and the room was filled with the sound of worship. The first song was normal as it was every night before, but by the second song the atmosphere in the room had changed. I started to feel a change in emotion as people sang the song, the lyrics were more meaningful, and the room felt like it was filled with the presence of God. The lyrics of the song started to penetrate the way that I was feeling; Oh no you never let go, through the calm and through the storm. Oh no you never let go, Lord you never let go of me. Once I heard those words I outstretched my arms and opened them wide to let Jesus into my heart, I had no intention or control; I just did it. It was the same thing I had mocked and made fun of before, and I was now doing it myself. I wasn’t even paying attention to what the people around me might think, all I cared about were the lyrics to the song and the feeling I got as I took everything in. Within a few minutes I looked around and saw people in every direction with watery eyes, or softly crying. I hadn’t noticed before, but tears were falling fast down my cheeks. I felt God take away all of my pain that had been there for so long, and replace it with happiness and love. I felt warmth in my heart that replaced all the cold and bitter feelings that I had experienced. I felt all of my emptiness go away, and I was whole again. A feeling that I had never believed was possible for me to experience again. Suddenly my counselor Prof had me wrapped in her arms in a tight and loving hug. I held on to her and she asked me if I was okay, or if I needed to leave the Foyer to talk. I said that I was amazing, and that I wanted to stay. After awhile she let go and as I released from her grasp I looked around the room and noticed that the Foyer was almost empty. Most of the campers had stepped out of the room to talk to their counselors about their emotions, and the noticeable presence of God in the room. I wanted to stay. I wanted to hold on to every moment there and every happiness and joy that I was feeling in my heart, so I stayed. I sat there for a few minutes just thinking and crying, and then my brother’s best friend Travis reached out and gave me a hug. He looked concerned, and asked if I was okay. I told him that he didn’t need to be worried, and that I was crying of joy. It was then when my friend Morgan got up and hugged me too. She began to cry, and so did Travis. We all hugged each other and held onto each other as we experienced God together. It was the most amazing experience that I had ever experienced in my whole life.





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beepbeep_07 said...
Sept. 7, 2009 at 1:55 am
truly an amazing story to hear from a sister in christ:]
 
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