So, I came to accept Jesus Christ at a very young age. I had a relationship with Him from then on that, like most relationships had it's highs and lows. I always believed in Him but didn't always seek Him out and follow Him. In high school and college in fact, I blatantly choose to live in sin. During this time, I struggled with anxiety and depression that would carry into my early twenties. This cumulation of sin and sickness made me feel alone, exhausted and unworthy.
It wasn't until the summer of 2016 when I was talking with a young co-worker that my life took a drastic turn. We were chatting while sorting through fabric samples at work when she turned to me and asked about my testimony. I started to tell her about I how I had been saved and baptized when I was five years old and some of the times that I had gone through but I struggled... I never got to the part where Christ changed me - where I died to myself and let Him have ownership over my life. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 it says that, "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone and the new has come!" I looked at my co-worker, a young woman who was going through some really hard times and yet... she radiated joy and peace. I wanted that. However I knew that in order to get that, some things would have to change. I knew what it was like to live for myself - to live in sin; and while it may have felt fun at times, at the end of the day it left me feeling awful. I knew that I needed to make a decision that day about whether or not I was going keep living more myself or whether I was going to live for Christ and to follow Him; about whether I was going to seek peace and pursue it.
I went home that weekend and spent the entire time in prayer, in worship, and reading the Bible. I felt God's Spirit come into me again and shortly after that weekend I began to see changes in my life. The way that I looked at things changed - everything became about Jesus. I learned how to pray and realized the importance of community. I asked for and accepted His forgiveness and love. God also miraculously healed me of my anxiety and depression!* I could go on and on about the things that He has done and is doing...
While He has done some amazing things in my life, my life itself isn't perfect. I still have hard times but I know that I'll get through them because of the hope and peace that I have. I still make mistakes but I know that if I come to God with a repentant heart that I'll be forgiven. I don't have to fear death because I know that I'll be spending eternity with God. I believe that having Christ in your life is the equivalent of having peace.
* While my anxiety and depression is nothing like it was before I do still have occasional bouts of each that last anywhere from a 3 - 10 days (read more here). These bouts though are nothing like what I experienced before and are often caused by a hormonal imbalance and over-committed scheduled. I want to encourage those who do deal with anxiety and depression, that it is nothing to be ashamed of. God was gracious to heal me however I know that that is not always the case and that sometimes it is necessary and right to seek out professional medication to help with these diseases. Just because God doesn't take away this thorn in your side does not mean that He doesn't love you... 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 explains how God is the God of all comfort and how by going through suffering we are in turn able to be comforted by Him, and then go and comfort others who are dealing with similar issues.