I have been actively serving in ministry since the age of 7.
As my mother would clean the bathrooms at church I would assist her the best I could. She took me to all of the church events to serve at.When I was 12 my mom joined Single's ministry where every Friday night we would set up and tear down. At 13 I joined Children's ministry and assisted in the 4 year old class on Sunday mornings and 1st- 6th grade on Friday nights. I did that for 7 years. And I have been with the high school ministry for 8 1/2 years now. I love serving my Lord. One thing I have learned is to always have Jesus number 1. Although I have always loved Jesus and served Him, my identity was found in fear.
My home life was hard. My mom worked a lot. Parents divorced. My dad lived in another city and I didn't get to see him often. My mom, 2 brothers and I lived with my grandparents and school was the least of my worries. I attended 5 elementary schools alone and all together attended 8 schools.
Most of High School was not a great experience for me. I struggled with my identity in Christ, I had a lot of distractions around me and a lot of temptations. A lot of my friends were into drugs, cutting, stealing, alcohol and like them we both struggled with depression. I find it funny how Jesus protected me, because if anyone would have offered me drugs or an invite to a party or a relationship....I would have said yes. But no one ever did. I would be a couple feet away from my friends as they would light up but was never offered. Without me even knowing it, a light was shining. We were all trying to find our place in this world, some pushed there way into it to make a name for themselves and some just stood there, hoping their time would come. We all wanted what we didn't have...which was love.
Typical day was either walking 2 miles to school or taking the bus and if i woke up too late I would beg my college aged brother to give me a ride so that I wouldn't be late. I most definitely did not want to be there but I was a good kid... so I went. I barely passed my classes, my grades were C to D average, I had no interest in school.Upon arrival to my home I faced one of my brothers making it difficult for me to enter... I was constantly bullied and dealt with verbal abuse. Almost every night I cried wanting more, wanting life to be different. I felt like I didn't fit in and the drive to live was only renewed upon attending church a few times a week. Church was my out, it was my escape from life and the trials I had to face. Going to church was the highlight of my week. I was able to fellowship, be myself, have fun with my christian friends and most of all experience the love of Christ. I knew Jesus was there for me but it was sometimes hard to see the good in the trials. He never left me.
My few friends at school were not Christians, I was probably the only one they knew. Most times during lunch we would make comments about the kids walking by as if we were different or even better than them...but really we were worse. I loathed the jocks and cheerleaders. The teachers only seemed to care about homework and grades. I never felt like they wanted to invest in me. None of them did.
There were a few christian clubs i attended but eventually they died out.
Then at a summer camp before my Junior year, I rededicate my life and started to care how I portrayed Jesus. During Junior year I found a few Christian friends and the Lord started using me, we would talk about Jesus and during lunch discus the bible. I finally felt like I was actually being a light. I finally cared. And when all seemed like life was a little less hard, my mom remarried and we moved away. So the issue of attending a private christian school came up. My fear crippled me into depression and a hard heart. Change was a constant in my life and I never accepted it with open arms. Mid summer right before my Senior year the Lord really challenged me to trust Him and let go of my fears. I didn't realize that I had been in a deep depression all through my first 3 years of high school until that summer.I finally surrendered and immediately had peace that I had never known before. My fight with God was over and although He won, I had victory.
Senior year was great, I had great friends, awesome teachers and Jesus was constant in my life. I was so impacted by one of my high school counselors during my high school years that I wanted to be one. After I graduated I went to summer camp as a leader and have been with the High school ministry ever since.
But it wasn't easy. And we are not promised an easy life. Life was hard but He allowed me to go through those trials that I could be an example to others. The Lord has given me a love for the high schoolers that I serve with. I would have never thought that I'd still be "in" high school, the place and time of life I hated the most. I'm amazed by these kids, their stories, their hearts, their hurts and pains. And every week He reveals to me just how much He loves them. I get to be apart of the work He is doing in their lives and the Lord is constantly transforming my heart. The more I learn about the trials these kids face, the more I want to show them Jesus. The more I'm reminded to pray for them and love them. And I am challenged to know Jesus more.
The only constant I had was Jesus. I never doubted that God loved me but rather the amount of love. My concept of love was tarnished growing up. I still struggle with the fact that He loves me in all that I am. Yet I am constantly reminded through His word, through my church family and through my mom. I can always rely on my God. He met me in my darkest moments in my hardest of times and in the fears that kept me chained.
I have so much to be thankful for, He saved me from myself, set me free and gave me peace. I am forever in love with my Savior who gave it all that I may know Him and be loved.
" So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in Him" 1 John 4:16
Abide in Him. Walk with Him. Trust and obey. Love Jesus and keep your eyes on Him.