Recently, a bunch of y'all have asked me what my relationship with Jesus is like, how it came to be, and how I continue to grow with the Lord. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to explain that part of my life with y'all, especially because I am in the process of becoming a Young Life leader!!! :)
To start off, I haven't always been this close with Jesus. My life before knowing Him was a whole lot different than it is now. Growing up, I went to a childcare (Pre-K) center my great-grandparents had started. It was right next to our Methodist church back home and every Wednesday we would have chapel for about an hour. I’m sure you can imagine little 5 and 6 year olds in chapel, not exactly knowing what was going on. Along with chapel, every other day we would have Bible lessons in class. I remember vividly watching “Beginner’s Bible” on VHS and reading their version of the Bible. At that age, I didn’t quite know who Jesus was, but I had an idea. My immediate family wasn’t super religious so they didn’t force me to go to church every Sunday. We were that family that just went on Christmas and Easter.
After graduating from Pre-K, I didn’t really have much guidance to continue my vague relationship with Jesus. It wasn’t a priority to me. In 8th grade, I met now one of my closest friends, Stephanie. Right off the bat, you could tell she knew Jesus and had a very strong relationship with Him. I wanted that. She was a part of her church’s worship team and tried multiple times throughout high school to get me to go to R.U.S.H (Rise Up Share Hope) which was their youth group. I attended a couple times, but I felt like the atmosphere just wasn't for me. Right before our senior year started, Stephanie moved back to her hometown in North Carolina. Great, now what? I have no friends that go to youth group or have any interest in knowing Jesus… Or so I thought.
At the beginning of my senior year, I started dating Jake. Same situation as Stephanie, you could tell he knew Jesus, as did his family. I wanted that. Now being somewhat older, I really wanted to commit and see what Jesus was all about. His family invited me to attend church with them one Sunday about 3 years ago and really ever since then, I have been in love with Jesus. About 2 and a half years into Jake and I’s relationship, we broke up. It was a mutual decision and we are still great friends today. I’ve always been one to try and find the reasons behind things and why they happen the way they do. I can say without a doubt in my mind that Jesus put me in that relationship to bring me closer to Him. As far as being friends with Jake now, I believe that’s also Jesus’s doing. We both knew it would be better going our separate ways yet, we still love one another, just not in that way. To me, this is us living life like Jesus did. He loved no matter what.
Now knowing Jesus, I live my life in a different perspective. I constantly want to share His word and I want people to see Jesus through me. I think the turning point when I realized I was actually making a difference and seeing the impact I had on others was about a year and a half ago. One of my friends from high school had messaged me to ask if I truly live my life based on the idea that God would take care of me. I responded with a short story of how I came to know God and told him if he ever needed to talk that I would be there (this was on Christmas day by the way). About 2 weeks had passed, when one night he messaged me again and had said he went to church for the first time and I may or may not have changed his life…. I cannot begin to explain in words what that felt like hearing that. That is when I knew Jesus was working through me.
Today, my love for Him is growing every day and I want to continue my relationship with him. I constantly have conversations with Him, whether it be in my room while I'm getting ready for class or driving in my car. I have yet to be baptized, but I would love for that to happen in the near future.
As far as Young Life goes, it is an organization that focuses on building relationships with kids in middle school, high school, and even college. As a leader, once we build a strong relationship with these kids, we are able to introduce them to Jesus and help them grow in their faith. I am so excited to see what Young Life has in store for me because I truly believe that Jesus put me in the right place, with the right people, and believes I can truly do wonders being a leader.