March 1, 2008 is what I consider my Spiritual Birthday. Even though I accepted Christ when I was little and knew the gospel and had a heart to sever God, I walked away from my faith in high school. This is that part of my story.
There’s a debate of whether I was saved when I first accepted Christ when I was 2 ½ years old, but all that matters is I know for sure now that when I die I will be with Jesus in heaven.
I grew up in a Christian homeschooling home. We had many spiritual discussions, watched Christian movies, and watched both my parents serve in various ministries over the early years of my life. Up until middle school if you had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I would have said a missionary. In middle school that slowly began to change.
I was very active in ballet and began to get serious about dance and wanting to pursue dance as a career after high school. I also began to desire to have friends outside of the one or two through my homeschool co-op. I slowly began to put dance and fitting in as the focus and Jesus slid farther back in my priorities. Then freshmen year of high school hit.
Freshmen year of high school for me hit hard! It started off with suddenly everyone who didn’t have a boyfriend in middle school suddenly having one in high school. This left me with two predicaments. One my parents had made it clear that I could not date until I was 16 years old. Two, there were no guys in my life I was interested in dating. Then I heard one of the older dancers talking about her long distance relation with a guy she met on the internet. All of my peers thought that was cool and so grown up. Then it clicked, I could have a boyfriend that way. Through a long process I started “dating” a guy through instant messenger and email. I was suddenly the mature cool freshmen with the long distance relationship. He was a pretty nice guy as well and I enjoyed having someone there to talk to. Freshmen year was beginning to look awesome!
Then half way through the school year, I fractured my back and was told that I would never dance at the level of ballet that I was currently at. In an instant my heart broke and my dreams burst into millions of pieces as I sat in the doctor’s office letting his words sink in. I was put in a back brace and told to limit my movement even walking and standing for at least until the end of summer. I quickly spiraled down into depression. I had lost what I loved so much. Plus I found myself alone except for my boyfriend. Then the second blow happened. That boyfriend that I clung to for dear life broke up with me for a “real girlfriend.” I suddenly felt completely alone.
These and a few other things left me broken hearted and very angry at God. I became even more depressed until one day I decided that I didn’t believe there was even a God. That lasted about two weeks. I just knew deep inside me that there was a god I just wasn’t sure it was the God of the Bible. I began researching different religions. None of them made sense. I finally just decided I wasn’t going to care. I was just going to live my life without worrying about religion…at least for now. I sunk lower and lower into depression. I began to struggle with an eating disorder as well as many other things. Pretty soon thoughts of suicide ran through my brain with increasing speed.
I was lonely, heartbroken, and miserable. The only way out seemed for me to finally get up the strength to just end it all. But God had another plan.
To tell exactly how God chased me down and got my attention would be a book in itself, so I’ll summarize. Starting my junior year of high school I joined a Christian dance and drama group. My family also started attending a new church. These are the two main things God used in my life. Both places just loved on me and genuinely cared. That slowly began to melt my skeptical heart. I began to feel God tugging on my heart, but I thought that there was no way He still loved me after everything that I had struggled with and done. Plus I had satan increasing in volume and frequency that the only way I’d be free was to kill myself. My soul was in the middle of a life changing battle. Finally one summer evening after my junior year satan’s voice became so loud that I felt like I couldn’t breathe. It is hard to explain exactly what I felt other than I was sitting on my bathroom floor in an empty house with blackness closing in on me. I began to get tunnel vision and felt like someone was squeezing me so tight I couldn’t breathe. I held a bottle of pills that I began to open to take. When I suddenly saw in my head when I was little sitting in Sunday school and I was learning about when Peter walked on water out to Jesus, but then Peter began to freak out and took his trust and eyes of Jesus and began to sink. It was in that moment I heard God speaking through the thoughts in my head, “You took your eyes off Me. Keep your eyes on Me and I will help you.” I began to cry and mutter “Jesus help me.” I began to be able to breathe and it’s hard to describe but I was filled with peace and warmth. I told God that I had no idea why He would still love me or want me back, but if He did to show me. And He did.
So where does the March date come into place? Well from that summer evening until March God was showing me that He did still love me, had forgiven me, and that I could be free. I slowly began to let go of some of the things I had fallen into when I wasn’t following Him. There was quite a process of Him loving me and helping me really believe that I could follow Him and that He did really want me back. Finally March 1, 2008 it clicked. I sincerely realized what Jesus’ death and resurrection meant to me. It meant that no matter how far I ran or had run He will always love me and I can always repent and come back to Him. March 1 is when I made that decision.
It is a process. Although some change happened immediately even before that specific date, lot of my change has been based on my growth in Christ. I have a purpose for my life now. Soon after my Spiritual Birthday I found a verse that spoke volumes into my life. “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the LORD. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” Jeremiah 29:11.
Although I do still go through times of depression, I can say that I do have that hope in Christ! Because of that hope my struggle with depression is nothing like it used to be. I know also know that it is only in Jesus that I have true joy! I’m learning to find satisfaction in Christ and not through being popular or guys. It is a process and I’m not to the finish line until the day I die, but I know that I know that whatever happens in life I am not alone, I have the God of the universe loving me and there to pick me up when I for a moment take my eyes off Him.