Sometimes those who grow up with the gospel take for granted what a good thing they’ve got. Seeing it through fresh eyes makes it come alive. Sarah was kind enough to share her testimony of God’s work in her life in the past while:
The Past 6 Months
“I have always had the image or reputation of being a “good girl”. A “good girl” in the sense that I don’t drink, do drugs, or hang around with “bad” people. I work hard to achieve good grades, have a future ahead of me (I’m a pre-med student), volunteer my time, and am respectful of and care a great deal about other people. I have always felt that I am different from most people on an emotional level. I’m not quite sure how to explain it, but I feel like I care more about people than myself, and that I feel and perceive things quite differently than most. This is the person that I had always wanted to be and had been up until last summer.
“I met somebody who changed me, and not for the better. At first, this person seemed nice enough and just needed a friend to talk to. We began to hang around with each other and became friends. We had deep conversations about absolutely everything and immediately clicked. It was like I had found my best friend. We spent a lot of time together. However, this person was not the best of influences and not the best person to hang around with, but I was blind to see it. At first, everything seemed relatively harmless, but soon enough I was lying to my parents as to where I was and what I was doing because they did not approve of this person. Thinking I knew myself and my limits better than they did, I ignored their objections. I did things that I would have never usually done. I will spare the details of the things I did, as they are for me to know, but they were things that were out of my character. My new best friend slowly but surely began to reveal their true self to me. I should have listened to my parents and respected their requests, but I just kept telling myself that they were wrong and this person was the person I had created in my mind, not the person my parents had described to me. After ignoring many warning signs, everything came to a screeching halt at once. This person reared their ugly face and showed their true colours, and I instantly realized that this was not the person I had imagined in my mind and that I was no longer the person that I wanted to be anymore.
“Severing our friendship and feeling extremely guilty about the entire situation and what had happened, I began to isolate myself from my existing friends. I became a nasty person. I channelled my anger, guilt, and frustration in such an unhealthy way. I picked fights with everyone I could at any opportunity, saying things that should not have been said and in a way, became depressed. I grew apart from most of my existing friends and we eventually stopped talking altogether. Next thing I knew, fall was here and it was time to return to school for the semester. I decided to focus all my energy on my courses and not worry about relationships with anybody anymore, as I had just ruined the only good ones I had ever had in my life. I was very alone.
“Now it was November and school was going well. My grades were good and I was also working and volunteering. I decided to join our school’s pre-med association in order to help me figure out and plan my future a little better. Again, I met somebody who changed me, and this time, for the better. We began chatting and became good friends. Eventually, we got onto the topic of religion. I wasn’t raised in a Christian home and knew very little about any aspect of Christianity. My mom was raised Catholic but never really continued with her faith once she became an adult and was married. My dad is an atheist. I was curious though, as I have always believed that there was a God out there, but I had never really truly brought Him into my life or gone past just acknowledging His existence. After everything that had happened that past summer, I was feeling very alone and questioning where my life was going. It was different when you were in high school. You had a goal that was in sight. Finish grade 12. Once you’re in university, the end seems much further away, especially if your university career will be 12 years in the making. I needed a new source of motivation to live my life for. Something that could capture my heart and would keep me grounded and focused. I’ll admit that I’m a very emotional person. In order to commit myself to something, it has to connect with me emotionally. I can’t be bothered with something unless I feel some sort of emotional link to it. It’s just how I’m made, I guess. I have had some sort of emotional tie with anything that I have been involved in, as far as I can remember.
“This new friend invited me to attend church with him. I’m a pretty open minded person, so I agreed to it. I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I wasn’t sure if I was going to find everything absolutely absurd or if I was going to find everything to set me on the right path. The latter is true. Even though I’ve butted heads with my parents more than a few times due to differing beliefs, I haven’t had any regrets in the least finding God. Sure, it’s been hard having these differing beliefs and not having parents who are of faith, but I’ve tried not to let it get to me too much. I have been introduced to the most amazing people I have ever met and they have welcomed me more warmly than I have ever been welcomed into anything in my entire life. I would love for my parents to have faith as well and at times it hurts that they don’t, but I’ve come to realize that it’s out of my control. All I can do is pray and hope for them, and love them as much as I can. God has His reasons and I just have to trust He has a plan. There is one person in particular that I have to mention. She has truly been a blessing through all of this and we have become good friends. I have been able to tell her a lot of personal things and she has been able to help me work through them. She has devoted her time to helping me work through the Bible, an experience which has changed my view and perception of the world and has helped me realize that even though I’ve done some things I am not proud of or happy with, I have been forgiven and am loved in a way that I will never comprehend nor understand.
“Since I have found this new family of people, I have never felt more at peace. I have never felt more relieved, calm, and happy in my entire life. Knowing that there is a God out there who forgives me and loves me more than I can imagine has comforted me a great deal. I have learned so many new things and gained an extremely different perception of the world and how you should live your life. You should live your life for God alone, because He controls and decides everything. Everything happens for a reason because it is part of His design. Don’t live your life solely for the purpose of other people or for material things. Do it for Him and He will bless you. Love, praise, and find your strength in Him through everything that you do and everything in your life will fall into place. I’ve begun to notice the absolute unparalleled beauty that exists in this world because of God’s grace and when you perceive this world in a sense of His will, everything begins to make much more perfect sense. I’m not quite sure how to explain it, but I haven’t found myself questioning things nearly as much as before and it’s made me feel a lot more grounded. Before I found God, it didn’t really matter to me what I believed or how I went about believing it. I was mulling along in life. Believe a little bit of this and believe a little bit of that and you’re good to go. That is completely untrue. It is so important to have your own beliefs and opinions. They define who you are and they also lead you to develop your own morals and values. Finding the love of God has set me on the right path, and I have never been more happy, thankful or joyous. To everyone who has accompanied me on this journey, I will be forever thankful. Words cannot explain how much this new life means to me. Believe me, life isn’t simple or easy. The only simple thing is that you must have faith and trust in the Lord with all your heart in order to be blessed physically and spiritually, in this life, and the next.”
– Sarah McCrea, 21 April 2011