Photo by Joy Monét Photography
God was patient. I actually attended a great church and youth group growing up, but although I “believed” in God, I didn’t know Him. In my mind, He was the distant guy in heaven who was surely disgusted and furious with me for the way I was living. Boys, drinking, marijuana, and eventually partying in bars and clubs five nights a week was the life for me. Surely so much fun would make me happy, right?
After a disastrous (and dangerous) engagement to an alcoholic when I was twenty, a devastating miscarriage when I was twenty-three, and a general feeling of “Is this all there is?”—at the age of twenty-five I was ready. I had begun listening to Pastors Chip Ingram and Michael Youssef on the radio on my way to work (my car didn’t have a CD player and this was before the days of Pandora). I loved the stories they told and the fact that God actually seemed to answer their prayers, make them happy, and give them purpose in life. I wanted that, and seeing the joy and peace God was offering me, allowed me the freedom to let go of the garbage I had been holding onto in an effort to maintain my “happiness.”
“Take it, God.”
It wasn’t easy. I’m not one of those people who had a sudden conversion and all of a sudden walked around singing, “This Is the Air I Breathe” with a huge smile on my face. I struggled. I still had a boyfriend who was SO not a Christian, and I smoked Newports like they were going out of style. I did quit smoking weed and sleeping with the unhappy boyfriend, but I wasn’t quite sure how to change in my current situation.
My best friend from third grade, Julie, had been praying for me for a long time. When she heard of my decision, and my desire to start fresh, she said hesitantly, “Chris and I had actually talked and prayed about you coming to live with us here in Richmond, but weren’t sure if you’d be open to the idea!” I was open. It was a tough decision because I knew exactly one person in Richmond, which was a two-hour move south from my home in Northern Virginia.
As I was lying in bed one night before I committed to go, drifting off, I heard a voice. I don’t know if anyone else could have heard it, but it was definitely not a dream.
God (and yes, His voice is deep and booming): “Go to Richmond.”
Me: “What?” (Only I would make God repeat himself.)
God: “Go to Richmond.”
That certainly made my decision easier. I packed up a month later, moved down, and began my journey of getting to know Jesus. I have never—not once—regretted it. Since then I have been a part of a couple of amazing churches, made the best friends a woman could ask for, seen God answer prayer in mind-blowing ways, been to Haiti on mission, and become happier and more peaceful than I could ever have imagined.
I still struggle. I’m not perfect by any means, but God’s grace is truly enough and He leads me back into truth each time I forget. I have hope, I have joy, and I know my future is bright because God will be right there with me no matter what.
A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.
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