Hungry

TESTIMONY: Could God’s love reach me?

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My spiritual journey has had many twists and turns. I have always been a seeker with a hunger for knowledge. My curiosity and eagerness for deeper understanding has led me down many adventurous roads.

I was born into a devout LDS family, and when I was in my teens, like many others raised in religion, I fell into the trap of rebellion. A pleasure-seeking lifestyle led me to a cycle of radical self-destructive behavior. I filled my life with drugs, alcohol and every form of immorality. I had no boundaries. No concept of right and wrong. I believed God existed in myself, and the only way I could really know God was to follow my own path of personal enlightenment. This self-centered pursuit only led to more questions, feelings of emptiness and ultimately, a life of anxiety and depression.

My life had come to a standstill when I got pregnant with my then boyfriend (now my wonderful husband). I was filled with so many doubts and fears about how I was going to raise this child. I realized that my life no longer revolved around myself. That’s when I met Jehovah’s Witnesses. They taught me that knowing God meant cleansing your life from all worldly influences and devoting all your time to evangelizing others. This felt familiar because of my upbringing in the Mormon church, and at the time I gravitated to their zeal and strong boundaries.

They further instilled in me what I was taught from childhood: that Christ’s atonement only applies when maintaining a strict standard of moral behavior. I became a Pharisee, looking down on my friends and family with judgment. The more I did to “serve” God only made me more prideful. I did not realize it was actually pushing me further away from Christ.

Once again, I found myself anxious and depressed. Even though I lived by the organization’s standards, inwardly I felt like God’s love would never reach me because of my imperfections. I could never do all that was asked of me. I was exhausted.

When the pandemic hit, I was forced to pause and reflect on my life. I spent the time pondering and studying Scripture. The more I read, the hungrier I got and I realized that something was missing from my understanding of God. I wanted more depth to my Bible study, so I took to the internet and began devouring information about Christianity, which also led me to question my faith as a Jehovah’s Witness.

Suddenly, I was confronted with a deep sense that I had been deceived. Christ’s love was much more profound than what I was told. Through my growing understanding, I felt Christ humbling me, teaching me what grace truly means. I cried out in my brokenness for God to show me the truth, and in that moment, I heard a voice saying, “I AM.” I knew it was Jesus, revealing himself as one with the Father in purpose and essence. I felt the Holy Spirit rush into me, healing my broken heart and giving me clarity for the first time. At that moment all I could do was worship in full surrender.

Since then, I began to see all my hard work at living a perfect life as a self-righteous attempt to become my own savior. Now I understand Jesus’ sacrifice was the only thing that was saving me from the judgment I deserved. I will never be “good enough” because there is no such thing. It is only through the mercy of God that I have been given the gift of forgiveness, and in my growing relationship with Christ I have experienced true transformation and freedom.

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