As Brett stated, the Pilot of any TV series is just the beginning to an epic story. The epic thing about our stories (plural because even though our testimonies somewhat intertwine, they are also completely different) is they are still being written.
So what I want to do tonight is to just share a chapter of my story with you.
I’ve always believed in Jesus, but it’s not always been easy for me to share that with people or to walk out my faith. It was honestly very difficult for me to even thank God for anything for a very long time, because I felt like He had abandoned me and my family. I knew He was there, but it was so hard for me think He was a loving God when I had to watch my older brothers fall victim to addictions. How could a loving God allow my brothers to loose control of their own lives?
I actually used to act oblivious to the fact that my eldest brother was an alcoholic, and that my youngest brother was addicted to pills. I tried my best to act like we were just like every other family: perfectly okay. I ignored them when they were wasted, I judged them for being strung out on drugs, but I cried for them when I realized they felt alone.
I feared that I was going to end up just like them: alone, depressed, and with no sense of purpose. I was so afraid of being lonely, that it ended up controlling my life. I got involved with a guy at 14, in ways no 14 year old should; I thought if I was with a guy, I would never be alone.
But really I just had no self-respect, and I had no sense of self-worth.
That year was my freshman year of high school, and it was one of the most difficult years of my life. It’s actually kind of funny now, because looking back, I was so afraid of people not liking me, that I decided I just wouldn’t talk to hardly anyone. I was so afraid of being alone, that I isolated myself. Ironic, huh?
Highschool was difficult at some points, but I don’t really have anything bad to say about my classmates. We were just all trying to figure out who we wanted to be, and sometimes people just don’t mesh. And that’s okay! I learned a lot during those four years, and I was finally able to push past my insecurities. It was a long process, don’t get me wrong. But it was during that time of figuring out who I wanted to be, that I began to find out I wasn’t satisfied by anything but Jesus. No guy, and no friend made me feel complete like He did. Everything was fleeting, but He was constantly with me.
Brett’s calling came in 2014, which somewhat set my calling into motion. When I saw him get free of his addictions, it started a fire in my soul; his walk with God is so inspiring, and I can’t wait till you guys hear the rest of his testimony. My eldest brother, Jerry, also fueled my fire; he would tell me that he wanted people to know that they don’t have to be perfect to have a relationship with Jesus. Even though he was never freed from his addictions, his life motto was “God is good always.” How inspiring is that?!
My calling didn’t come until my senior year of high school, and I’ve just recently begun to walk in it. Even though I made a lot of mistakes (I still make mistakes daily), and even though I was not the most qualified (still not the most qualified), I felt called to reach out to girls, to encourage and empower them. And I still do.
I just want girls around the world to know their value; I just want girls of all ages to dream big; I just want to uplift and encourage all girls to be who God has made them to be.
I am not perfect, and I can’t say that I don’t mess up big time. But I can say that walking with Jesus is the best decision someone can make. Life with Jesus is just as difficult as a life without Him, but it’s so much more fulfilling, and so much more joyful. There is a peace beyond explanation.
So if you feel Him tugging on your heart, you should respond. Don’t live in fear, and don’t worry about being under qualified. As my cousin-in-law Matt Anzivino once said, ” God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.”
He sees so much more than your mistakes and fears. He sees you. You’re not alone.