Every person has a story. A story that makes them who they are. A testimony of sorts, of their lives from birth until this point. Sometimes I look at elderly people and think, “That man or woman has lived a full life. What were their teenage years like? What kind of home did they grow up in? What are their love stories, their heart breaks, their life-altering moments? What makes them tick?”

So I want to share my story with you. Whether you’ve known me my whole life or if you’ve happened upon this blog via the internet and we’ve never met face to face. That way, whenever you see my picture or hear my name, you won’t have to wonder. You’ll know what I’m all about. Bear with me. It’s good, I promise 🙂

I grew up in a wonderful family with a mom and a dad and twin brothers who are 4.5 years older than me. Honestly, looking back, I don’t think I could ask for a better childhood. Yes, it was crazy, and yes there were times I wanted to hide in my room away from the chaos, but I was indeed very blessed by being born into the family I was.

I grew up going to church every single Sunday and every single Wednesday night. I knew the name of Jesus from birth. Some of my fondest memories are of my dad blasting Phillips, Craig & Dean on Easter morning and yelling “HE IS RISEN!” throughout the entire house to wake us all up. But up until the age of about 7 or 8 it was just “church.” It was just what we did. Didn’t every body go to church? That’s what I thought anyway. The summer I was 7 years old I went to Vacation Bible School at our church (which is basically a weeklong “day-camp” of sorts for elementary aged kids to go learn about Jesus and do some awesome macaroni crafts). I remember the teacher talking about sin and how that separated me from God and being able to go to heaven when I died. I remember being confused a little bit scared. So when I went home I asked my parents about it all. Thankfully, they were open to answer all the questions that I had.

What I learned is this: Sin is anything we’ve done that goes against God’s Law. It’s disobeying your parents, lying to people, stealing a pencil from your teacher, or worse. I also learned that EVERYONE has sinned and therefore cannot go to heaven when they die. The Bible says that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Sin is like having a debt. This debt HAS to be paid. There’s no getting around it. We are all headed to hell unless there is an intervention. Unless there is something or Someone who can pay our debt for us. ENTER: Jesus. Romans 6:23 goes on to tell us that “The wages of sin is death, BUT the gift of God is ETERNAL LIFE through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Jesus is God’s only Son, and He came to earth, was born of a virgin, and lived a perfect, sinless life. He lived a life that none of us have been able to live. He is the only Person in the history of the world who has lived and NOT sinned. At all. Ever. Therefore He is the ONLY ONE who can pay our debt. And then, at the end of His life, He voluntarily died on the cross and paid for our sin. The debt was paid with the perfect, sinless blood of Jesus covering all of our wrongdoings. He was buried in a tomb for three days. Yet the best was still yet to come. After 3 days, He was raised from the dead! God brought Jesus back to life, showing us that only He was able to conquer sin and death and give us hope for eternal life through Him.

Think of it this way: If you’re out in the middle of the ocean during a thunderstorm and you’re flailing your arms, drowning in the sea, you don’t want someone who is also in the middle of the ocean with you, also drowning, trying to pull you out of the water. It wouldn’t work. You’d both end up drowning. What you need is someone who comes to the rescue in a lifeboat, who is NOT in the same position you are in, not in the water, to reach out and pull you out of your situation. That’s what Jesus does. He is not in sin, so He is the only one capable of saving us from drowning in our sin.

Well this was great news to me as a 7 year old. I was so glad that Jesus was able to save me from sin. But here’s the thing. Knowing that wasn’t good enough. Being in the middle of the waves and knowing someone is in the lifeboat reaching out to save you is not enough to actually save you. You have to also reach up and grasp their hand. You have to put your life in their hands and trust them to save your life, to pull you out of the water, and to bring you into the lifeboat. My dad made it very clear to me that it was my personal decision whether I wanted Jesus to save me or not. No one else could make it for me. He also made it clear that I needed to be certain I wanted to trust Jesus, and when I was, to reach out to Him as soon as possible, because no one is promised tomorrow.

I went to bed that night thinking through all of this information, in my 7 year old brain, trying to make sure I understood it all. The next morning, I remember going to my mom and telling her I wanted to be saved. I wanted to trust Jesus with my life. Romans 10:13 says, “Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” Great! How do I do that? Well Romans 10:9-10 makes it clear: “that if you confess with your mouth, Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” So right then and there, my mom prayed with me as I asked Jesus to forgive me of my sin and to be my Lord and Savior. It was at that moment that God marked my account with my sin debt as “PAID IN FULL” by Jesus Christ. He paid a debt He did not owe because I owed a debt I could not pay. That is what is simply known as the Gospel—the Good News. It is Good News that Jesus is able to pay the price for our sin and offers His righteousness, His goodness, His holiness in return.

So what difference has this all made in my life? I mean, it sounds good. Has my life been perfect? Of course not. Have I still struggled with sin? Yes, on a daily basis. But I don’t live under condemnation because I know that my sin has been paid for and I am forgiven. What I do have is HOPE. I have peace in my soul. I have joy unspeakable. I have confidence in Christ, knowing that this life is not all there is. I have a heavenly home that is waiting for me. I have eternal security. I never have to worry about my “good outweighing my bad” or making sure I follow a list of do’s and don’ts. Ephesians 2:8-9 says “for it is by GRACE you are saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is a gift from God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Some of you may be saying, “Congratulations, what a nice little story.”  But this is what I want you to know more than anything. This truth about sin and the life of Jesus, His death, burial, and resurrection from the dead is not just for me, or for church-goers, or for Americans. It’s for every single person who has ever walked this earth or ever will walk this earth. You also have an opportunity to spend eternity in heaven, free from sin and death, in the presence of Jesus if you just recognize your need for Him and ask Him to do in your life what only He can. You must repent (turn away from your sin) and put your full faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone to save you.

I encourage you to deal with this. Wrestle with it, think about it, pray about it. Ask yourself, has there ever been in a time in my life when I handed over the reigns of control and placed my faith and trust in Jesus alone? If not, I would love to talk to you. This may just be a blog, but you didn’t visit this page by accident. I would love to answer any questions you may have about all of this and what it has to do with YOUR life.

 Thank you for taking the time to read this lengthy post. Thank you for reading My Story.