I was raised Catholic. I attended Mass every Sunday and participated in a youth group. My wonderful parents led me in faith and prayer. I remember them coming into my room as a child to pray with me. However, I did not take independent steps to develop a personal relationship with the Lord. My faith was not my own.
My high school and early college years were times of deep insecurity and loneliness. I sought validation in friendships and school, neglecting to realize that idols never satisfy. The Lord met me where I was by speaking through friends at school. He surrounded me with Christ-loving women who steadfastly prayed for me. I immediately recognized their joy was not circumstantial. During my sophomore year of college, they invited me to a worship service, and I joined. As the worship band began playing, I could feel the Holy Spirit softening my heart, and I cried as lyrics pointing to God’s character filled the room. The sermon of that day told of God’s grace and His gift of salvation. I asked myself why I had pushed away this Love for so long.
God sent His only Son to die a death that was meant for me. He is not distant. He loves me with a depth that my human brain cannot comprehend. My pride kept me from professing faith on that day. A few weeks later, my college friends were talking about a woman they knew who was kind but did not know the Lord, so she would not be saved. At that moment, I realized the same applied for me. My friends hugged me while I sobbed. I could feel the Lord consoling me through their touch and saw Him in their smiling and teary faces.
I professed faith and promised to live the rest of my life for God. Since then, He has given me joy despite circumstances.