There will always be one true King in my life.
...His name is Jesus.

But for the first 20 years of my life I never knew Him.

So let me tell you my story.

I remember like it was yesterday: going through all of the insecurities that both middle school and high school typically bring along with them. I desperately wanted to be known and thought well of among my peers, like most people do around that age.  In middle school I began to mingle more with the popular crowd, and by the time I made it to high school, I was officially in with the cool crowd. At that time in my life, it felt so good inside to be popular. I loved that people wanted to hang out with me, and were constantly reaching out to me to go on adventures together both in and outside of school. 

It was right around this time where I started to get into the whole partying scene. I had this one friend who introduced me to the idea of getting drunk and also high. I remember both being a little bit scared and a little bit excited. "Why not?!" I thought to myself. I was willing to do pretty much anything to maintain my "cool" status at that point in my life. Not too long after this, my group of friends and I were pretty much having parties at each other houses every weekend, which involved a lot of drinking and smoking.  I loved the idea of being rebellious. But mostly, what mattered the most to me was that I had people around me who affirmed that I was valuable. I placed my worth in the way that my popular friends at school thought of me.

Shortly after this, my worst nightmare happened. My best friend in the cool crowd decided one day to simply stop talking to me. I remember feeling hurt, depressed, and honestly worthless. This friend who stopped talking to me was the person at school who I spent the most time with; and was honestly an idol to me. Without her affirmation in my life to affirm that I was "good enough," I found myself in a place of despair. After this happened, other areas in my life began to fall apart. As my friends and I continued to pursue lifestyles of sin, our friendships were torn apart. I also believe that God was attempting to break down every wall in my life just to simply get to my heart, but I was both too prideful and stubborn to see what He was doing.

So what did I continue to do? I let my heart became hard toward both God and other people. I remember at once specific point in my junior year of high school crying in my room, lifting my hands to God. At the time I really had no relationship with God, but I remember questioning that if God was actually real, then how could He allow such horrible things to happen to me? You see, because I didn't know God, I didn't understand that my relationship with Him meant there would be trials, and I had the choice to either trust and pursue Jesus through them, or run away and become angry. Unfortunately at this point in my life, I chose the latter.

When I arrived at college at Oregon State University in 2009, I remember being determined to "start over." I figured that if I could make new friends, join a sorority, and get settled in Corvallis, then I could put everything behind me. Well, old wounds have a way of resurfacing. I did end up making new friends and also joining a sorority, but because I had never accepted Jesus nor allow for God to heal my heart, I wasn’t really in a good place to start over. College just became a flashback of high school: a lot of partying and getting myself in situations that I shouldn’t have. 

The summer of my junior year of college, I found myself in probably one of the darkest points in my life. I was 20 years old, and I didn't see the purpose to life. "This was it?" I remember thinking to myself. "THIS is all I am here for? This is awful!" I honestly was so depressed, so full of anxiety, that I questioned what was the purpose of living. I was never going to kill myself, but I wondered why I was on earth. I had this friend named Julia who kept asking me to come and read her Bible with her. She even had brought me a Bible the previous summer. Her and I met for coffee one day and were reading God's word, when out of no where, I heard the Lord ever so clearly speak into my heart:

"Jessica, I love you. Will you please follow me?"

Woa. I wasn't even sure how to respond. Julia was looking at me and I knew she could tell something major was going on inside of me. I had never heard the voice of God before, but I knew without a shadow of a doubt that in that moment, that was HIM. He was bold, yet gentle. Loud, yet soft. Something came over me in that moment. God's presence in my life had suddenly become so real, in just a simple moment. I just knew once God spoke to me that I had to REALLY start pursuing Jesus. I had no idea what a relationship with God looked like and I didn't even know this Jesus guy, but I knew that I wanted to experience more of what I had just felt.  I never realized how intimate God wanted to be with me. It blew my mind. 

What began to change in my life after I accepted Christ? Well a lot. God had a lot of work to do on my heart, and that certainly required a lot of time. Although I knew that God had spoken to me, I had built up strongholds throughout the past in my mind toward how I thought about God and other people in my mind that Jesus needed to break down. I also had areas of sin in my life that God needed to tremendously work on. I'd say that getting through those areas of my life took a good two years, (spiritual growth certainly doesn't happen overnight!). However I did end becoming a Young Life leader shortly after I was saved, with my friend Julia. Julia and I were leaders together for almost four years, and I truly believe that God used Julia and our Young Life girls to make a huge impact on my faith at that point in my life. It was wonderful, and I truly will always cherish my time as a Young Life leader. Who knows, I might be one again someday :D. 

That is my story, friends. Today I reside in the Pacific Northwest, with my lovely family and friends. In God, I truly am complete. I wish I wouldn't have allowed myself to go through so much heartache to figure out that Jesus is the answer, but that is my story. My story is unique, just like your story.  What is your story? I would love to hear. Head on over to my contact page and send me an email! 

Much love to all,
 

"I never knew how intimate God wanted to be with me. It blew my mind."

I never knew how intimate God wanted to be with me. It blew my mind.