I will never be the same
I grew up going to church, and like most children, I knew the song “Jesus Loves Me” – I even went to a Christian daycare. Although I had grown up hearing about God and Jesus, I didn't know that I was a sinner damned to Hell. My mother became a Christian in 1997, but as a new Christian she didn't know exactly how to live out her faith (God was slowly working on her).
When I was eight years old, my mother led both me and my dad to the Lord. I truly believe that I became a part of the family of God that night. However, as a young child, I believed that the Christian walk was going to be a bed of roses. I have always had an evangelistic heart – I began witnessing to everyone (I was even sent to the principles office for witnessing on the playground). At eight and a half years old I gave a piece of my heart to my good friend, only to have him break my childish heart a few days later.
At nine years old, God led me to trusting Him with my heart. December 27, 2009 I vowed to remain pure until the Lord brought the right man into my life. I went to all of my friends and told them about the decision I had made. Instead of encouragement, I heard “Alisha you're crazy!”, but I didn't let that phase me. I kept on keeping my heart pure – and still am.
When I was thirteen, the Christian walk became an extremely bumpy path for me. We had been living in TX for a year, when my parents told me that I wasn't able to go to the young group until I was fourteen. I got mad at God and my parents, and decided that I could live my life better without God. Finally fourteen rolled around and I was able to go to the youth group. One night, the pastor's son asked me out on a date. Out of spite for my parents, and without hesitation, I told him “yes”. Surprised to hear that I had accepted, he told me that it was an April Fools joke, which really bothered me. God was trying to pull me closer to Him by giving me an uneasy feeling about this youth group. Heeding this feeling, I stopped going, and thankfully God led us to a different church.
At the age of fifteen, I got myself into some trouble and even contemplated hurting myself. I was choosing to follow the crowd, and not follow the Word of God. I was allowing my past mistakes to control me. I was in a secret relationship, listened to music that wasn't glorifying to God, talking like the world, and simply not living my faith out.
When I turned sixteen, I couldn't hide my miserable life any longer. I told my parents what I had been doing, and they were extremely disappointed in me. Hearing them say “We're extremely disappointed in you” was heartbreaking, but it caused me to think of how I had disappointed my Heavenly Father. I had walked around calling myself a Christian, while living like the rest of the world. My parents prayed with me, asking God to change my heart, and if I wasn't truly saved – to save me. I knew I was truly saved, but I wanted life done with me in the driver's seat.
From then on, I really dove into the Word and started getting my life back on track. I still made silly mistakes, but I finally realized that I had victory over them! I realized that they didn't have to consume me, and that I didn't have to beat myself up over them. I knew that I didn't have to let my past control me, and that I had been forgiven.
When we moved to Virginia, we started to attend a small Baptist church. Two nights before my eighteenth birthday, the pastor felt the Spirit leading him to allow the congregation to give praises, thanksgiving, apologize to people – it was a wonderful impromptu revival service. Four nights ago (April 3, 2013) I surrendered my life to God. That night I realized the following:
Yes I became a Child of God at eight years old – and was baptized two months later. I had made mistakes that I regret (even to this day). What I was missing in my walk with God was complete surrender! I needed to get out of the driver seat and allow God to take the wheel of my life. Until I surrendered control, my life wouldn't be in line to God's will.
Now at the age of eighteen, I am so thankful that I have not only given Him full control, but I have given Him my dreams/desires. Once I surrendered my dreams/desires to God, He has opened doors for me that I honestly never thought would be opened (oh me of little faith).
While I regret the mistakes I made in my past, I know God will use them to touch other peoples lives. I am thankful that while I decided to live life my way, I never lost sight of what my Savior did for me!