I was blessed to be raised in a Christian home where the Gospel was recited
frequently. My mother led me through the “sinner’s prayer” when I was four years old, but I am not sure that I truly grasped the Gospel at that point. As I matured in the Church, I came to comprehend more clearly that my sin merits the wrath of God and eternal punishment, but that I am righteous in his sight due to the grace poured out toward me through Christ’s sacrificial death on my behalf. My life has been marked by steady growth, punctuated by phases of more intense growth in the faith. For example, during the summer I spent as an assistant pastor in my home church I was mentored by my senior pastor and experienced and witnessed the grace of God as I was involved in various forms of ministry. A couple of seasons of pain and difficulty have caused me to trust in God more actively, rely on his strength, and rest in his sovereign, loving care for me. Since being married, the Lord has used the first year of my marriage to expose selfishness and pride in my life that went relatively unchecked while single. As a result, I am all the more aware of my need for the cross. After having been heavily involved in my local church in high school, I failed to get integrated into the local church as an undergraduate. Since then, recognizing my error, I have made the local church a central fixture in my life. Consequently, I have experienced joy and growth through various opportunities to teach fellow believers, serve within the church and reach out to the community.
I grew up in a Christian home where I was introduced to spiritual truths at a young age. Although I may have understood the gospel at an earlier point, my first memory of a spiritual awakening was at a Christian camp when I was nine years old. The emphasis on the gospel left me feeling the weight of my sin upon my own shoulders. I knew I was separated from God, and I longed to be at peace with Him. I found a place to be alone and confessed my sins and accepted Christ to be my Savior. God’s peace and joy filled my heart as I knew my sins were forgiven. As the Holy Spirit entered my life, He began to grow in me a desire to share Christ with others. Opportunities came through friendships with neighbors, church outreach programs, a backyard Bible club, and eventually Christian camp counseling. Those years of leading others to Christ and explaining truths from the Bible to kids who had not heard were years of great growth for me. One of the pivotal events in my teen years was an encounter I had with some people who challenged me to scrutenize what I believed. My lack of ability to defend my faith in light of their arguments spiraled me into a dark time of confusion and questioning. I began to wrestle with Biblical texts in an attempt to determine the truth, primarily about the Person of Christ. Although this was a difficult time, by God’s grace, I emerged with much stronger convictions about identity of Christ, His authority, and His work. It was in part this time of searching and finding answers that led me to study the Bible in college and gave me a deeper passion for sharing Christ with others. My present walk with Christ is a day-by-day battle with the old flesh, continually relying on the same grace that bought me and made me a child of God. I’m thankful for the accountability and encouragement from other believers that are so essential in my growth. I’m also thankful for the Lord’s patience and love as He continues to mold me into the image of His Son.