I was having lunch with my aunt when she told me about a memory she had of me when I was about seven years old. She said that on my 7th Easter, my cousin and I stood up in church and dedicated our lives to Jesus.
My memory of this is super cloudy, and we never went to church much when I was a kid. However, I always felt that God was real, and that He was drawing me in.
Fast-forward from that childhood moment to ten years later, when I was seventeen and falling apart. I had just broken up with my first boyfriend and was starving myself.
I felt depressed and hopeless, to the point of self-harm. Shame consumed me. I truly thought that the world would be better off without me.
I remember the nights of lying in bed weeping and fighting hunger, asking God if He was there and if He would help me get to sleep. Within a few minutes I would drift off into a warm slumber.
The love of Jesus found other ways to pursue me. I stumbled upon Christian songs and movies, and eventually my mom and I decided to go to church. I was saved the November of my junior year, but the real battle had just begun.
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Soon I started college. I tried finding my worth in places that always crumbled—boys, achievements, looks—they all failed me. I developed chronic health issues, as well as anxiety. Food became a battle, as my digestive issues made it hard to eat.
I hated the way I looked, even though I was thin from being ill. I isolated myself frequently, until one day, a sweet girl invited me to the church college group. Though I was terrified to go, I actually made friends. Slowly, my relationship with Jesus grew stronger.
The things I was stuck in—such as anxiety and disordered eating—lost their grip on my heart. When I became a leader for the church youth group, I realized I wanted more from life than focusing on the superficial or worldly pursuits I was used to.
During an intensive winter retreat with the youth three years ago, I fully surrendered my life to the Lord. Although I still struggle with anxiety or negative self-image at times, I now recognize these feelings as weapons the devil uses to keep us from God.
I now eat healthily and for the first time in years, I appreciate the body God gave me. Panic attacks and breakdowns are decreasing, and when they happen, I know the Lord is always there to hold me through it. Even my physical health is improving!
A Changed Heart
Since I decided to follow Jesus with my whole heart, my life has changed. I found meaning and purpose for my life, and am able to love others better.
There is a cost, of course. I had to give up my old ways of living. But I consider that as nothing compared to the life Christ has given me through His death and resurrection. I may not be perfect, but my Savior is.
As my aunt reminded me of my childhood salvation, I couldn’t help but smile. Although I didn’t understand what that fully entailed as a child, it opened my heart to the Lord.
Now it all makes sense why I’ve always felt Jesus there, even in the midst of my darkest moments. The love of my Father has never left me. God pursues me no matter where I run, and He reminds me that my worth is rooted in Him alone.
Will you make a choice today, lovely one? Will you stop running from God and chasing worth in things that will always fail you? Jesus is ready for you to come home. You don’t have to chase self-worth or love. It was already won for you on the cross.
The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3 NIV)
Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below
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Awesome post Emily – I love how transparent you were about your testimony and your journey with God! I could also relate to some parts of your testimony. I got involved in a college/young adult group at my church over the summer and now I’m also leading at the youth group! Keep shining your light for Jesus – I always love reading your posts!😃💙
Thank you for sharing your story. I related to it in many ways(:
Thank you for your comment Nikki! Keep shining God’s light.
Emily, thanks for sharing this candid post. I know God will use your testimony to help others!
Thank you Beckie! I really appreciate it. We must shine His light in this dark world.