I grew up in a family where all we did was go to church. We weren't real Christians.
In 2011, I went to a church camp where I gave my life to Jesus—became a true Christian. I really didn't know who Jesus was, but I knew I needed him. After that, I didn't know what to do.
In late 2015, I began to dabble in an immoral practice. I new it was wrong, but I continued into early 2016. Before February, I stopped, but I had done it long enough to begin to feel immense guilt for it. Here is where things got complicated for me.
People, especially certain people that I could couldn't escape from began to convince me that there was no God, no Jesus, only what we can observe. They were winning. I had become like the rest of my family. I would say I was a Christian, but in actuality, I was just acting. And it was the exact thing that I loathed about my family.
From February to April 2016, I kept my acting "career" going—acting like the perfect little Christian I was thought to be. I had good attendance at Sunday School and I participated, but I never told anyone about my underlying problems. Eventually, my act won me a "scholarship" to the camp where I chose Jesus so long ago. I figured it couldn't hurt. Maybe I'd figure everything out there. What I didn't know then was that God wasn't waiting til June for me.
In May, I went to Confirmation class, and decided to pick up my old, dusty Bible because of it. And my faith grew.
About a week before the Confirmation, I hit my low. Even I knew in those few hours that I was an atheist, possibly agnostic. I decided to watch a YouTuber live stream who took prayer requests and tell him what was happening. He didn't hesitate to begin a prayer for me. After he said it, I began to feel a bit better.
Later that same night, I picked up my Bible and opened up to the wrong page (unknowingly). The first verse I read was Luke 17:1, "Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!" I took this as, people will cause you to stumble, but they will be judged for what they've done. As soon as I read that, I knew it was God's answer to the prayer.
My faith was at 100%, I knew that God is real. I never would have expected Him to answer so quickly. Nothing like that has ever happened before (to me). I also learned something, not only did at least one person care for me, MY GOD CARES AND LOVES. Not only me, but for everyone. I remember thinking, "God wasn't letting me go easy." And I am so thankful for that. This was the easy part.
The hard part was forgiving myself for what I did. Through music like East to West by Casting Crowns, prayer, and tears, I slowly made progress. Finally, I forgave myself and asked God to forgive me.
That summer, I went to the camp. There, I knew I needed to go into ministry work, and I gave my life back to Jesus—I became a true Christian once again. This time, I knew what it meant, and it means a lot.
Lately, I have begun to suffer mild bouts of depression, but I always remember to put my trust in Jesus and he always pulls me through. Without him, I am sure I would be cutting or attempting/committing suicide.
I am young, so my story isn't over yet, but this is most likely the most important part. Still, I never know what God has planned for me next. My prayers are for anyone who reads this, that they may take something away from my story that they didn't have before.
—Abigayle G. - age 14, 9th grade