10 years ago… October 11, 2009… I walked into my very first young adult “Reach Prayer Night” service on a Sunday night, and encountered the life transforming Jesus!
I had no clue what was coming. During the night different people were praying about different topics. There was a woman (who till this day I have no clue who she was) who went up to the microphone to pray next. She prayed about chains being broken, people being set free from addiction and bondage, and she prayed and prayed and prayed. She didn’t ask anyone to come to the front, but I felt a pull almost forcing me out of my seat. I had never experienced anything like that & kept trying to hold on to my seat. But as she kept speaking, her prayers felt like she was talking to me. I let go of my seat & went up to the front of the (large) church, knelt down, and literally felt something leave my body. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that in that instance my life would never be the same.
See, what people didn’t know was that up until that moment, I felt like I was literally dying. I was depressed, battling suicidal and murderous thoughts, and fear kept me from telling anyone. I was getting more entrenched in addictive behavior to numb the pains of rejection I’d experienced repeatedly. I’d hit rock bottom and kept thinking “if this is all there is to life, this sucks.” In September 2007 I started reading a chapter a day in my Bible starting from Mathew. I read out of desperation & frustration, and didn’t understand anything but kept reading anyway. There was something in me that didn’t want to stop reading these words.
2 years later, God used this stranger’s prayer to reach & transform my life. For the first time, I knew God created me for something much bigger than myself. It was this night that Aphesis was birthed in me, (Aphesis is the Greek word for forgiveness or releasing someone from bondage). It was this night 10 years ago that the life long healing process began for me.
When I first walked into Shepherd Church July 2009, no one invited me or prompted me to show up. I was reaching the end of myself and was on the verge of giving up on God and religion altogether when I kept remembering this church I had heard about 5 years earlier from my college’s basketball team. When I started attending the young adult ministry 3 weeks later (The Vine – no longer a young adult ministry, but now a Sunday morning service under Own Your Faith), no one invited me or urged me to go. I simply saw the time in the announcements, then showed up by myself. When I was at this Reach Prayer Night, there was no alter call or sentimental music encouraging me to walk to the front. The only way for me to explain my July-October 2009 is that it must have been God, relentlessly pursuing me & guiding me on a path to peace.
My experience in coming to know Jesus has taught me that grace looks unpredictable. There’s no formula. It was literally God “reaching” me in His mercy when I didn’t know an intimate relationship with Him was what I needed. So when you see my spaces decorated with bible passages, and you hear my stories mixed in with God, that’s on purpose. I need the constant reminder! I’ve known a depleted life without Him, and I never want to experience that again. Has life in the past 10 years been all laughs and mountain tops? Absolutely not! The first 2 years of my walk, and these last 2 years of my walk, have been bookended with the EXACT same trials & persecutions. These faith testing trials have happened in the midst of mind-altering breakthroughs for me, so in the midst of pain & loss, I’m still looking forward to what the next decade holds. I have a hope I didn’t have before! God truly has me in the palm of His hands, and I am forever grateful! 💙 #10years #believenew #Godcares