IN the life: A change of Heart

I prayed to accept Jesus into my heart one night before going to bed with my parents when I was just four years old. Not much understanding exists at four years old, but Jesus says with arms wide open, “Let the little children come to me” (Mark 9:36; 10:14). I had all the understanding I needed. I became a daughter of God that night and have been ever since, even through times of doubt.

With everything happening underneath the surface as it was (see prior blog here), I still loved the Lord and did my best to follow Him. During high school, some things started tugging at me. First, my sophomore Bible class was asked to write down our testimonies. I didn’t have much to write. I had asked Jesus into my heart at four years old, attended church, and was in a Christian school my whole life. That’s all I wrote, and it didn’t sit right with me.

Second, I had some pretty remarkable “spiritual” experiences. This included going on two mission trips, hearing speakers, attending events and taking an extracurricular class where I entered deep times of worship and had my eyes opened to deeper things of God. Through these, I developed this mindset where I wanted to want God more. I knew there was more but I didn’t know how to get to more. Praying and reading my Bible more than I already was didn’t excite me. I was also already going to church and youth group, so how was that going to change things?

Finally, I started thinking about future plans. I wanted to go to a Christian university, although I did not know what to study. After visiting some Christian universities in the Midwest, applying to two, and considering several different majors, I settled on attending Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, IN, and majoring in Athletic Training (AT). I became determined that AT was what God had called me to, and I was not going to be that person that switched their major.

Entering the college years was a huge change. I lost everything that had “kept me on top” in high school. I was no longer playing sports competitively (intramurals does not cut it). I no longer had close friends by my side. I was no longer in the school environment I had been in for 13 years where I knew the faculty, had good standing, and was confident in how things rolled. I was starting fresh with my grades, classes, professors and homework. I was in a new state, in a new school, around new people, looking for a new church, not involved in any extracurricular activities or groups, and opened to a much bigger world. My main goals were to get good grades and make friends, still with this “wanting to want God more” mindset off to the side.

In my very first AT class, Intro to Athletic Training, some of the first words out of my professor’s mouth were, “This class will help you determine if this is for sure what you want to do.” Instantly, doubt crept up within me. Almost just as fast, I dismissed it. AT was where God wanted me. That same doubt would creep up at different times consistently throughout the semester. The same dismissal would also come quickly after.

One thing I learned quickly was that the fall was always considered “Freshmen Dating Season.” While I was waiting until college to start dating, and my eyes were now open and ready to start scoping out that area, no way did I want to be a part of “that season”. I would at least wait until the next semester. But only if God brought someone into my life. I took this area seriously and wanted only what God wanted.

I started meeting some pretty fun and nice people through my roommate. I was glued to her that first semester. As we started hanging out more with some of the same people, along came a guy that seemed promising. We started texting (a lot!), asking questions and “getting to know each other”. As everyone left for Christmas Break, I just kept praying beneath my nervousness and excitement.

“God, is this okay? Are we supposed to date? Is this of you?” I prayed and sought God more deeply and sincerely than I ever had. It was the first time I was truly asking God specifically for something I really wasn’t sure or confident about and desperate for Him to answer. What ended up happening instead of getting an answer was something much better. It was as if all the knowledge of God I had accumulated throughout my life became the most real thing ever. It was an experience so tangible and so deep within my spirit, that the complete desire of my entire life became Jesus. He was no longer just a part of my life. He was my life.

What I remember going through my head was, “Everyone has to know Jesus! They have to experience Him!” It was from this moment that a heart for ministry formed and I finally started confronting the doubt I was having about my major. Even more than that, my true desire for God started blooming. Prayer, Bible reading, Scripture, seeing God in all areas of my life became exciting and not just things I had to do. I was so hungry to get to know God more.

The other crucial thing that happened because of this moment was I finally started recognizing sin in my life! A lot was there, underneath the surface, that wasn’t right. This started the long journey ahead of finding the healing I would need and freedom I was really yearning for but had no idea existed. It’s a journey I’m still on, but have come a long way on as well.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10







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