I grew up in a christian home. We went to church every Sunday. I “believed in God”, got baptized around age 10, and never understood what the big deal was about Jesus.
When I became a teenager, I had so many questions about God and faith. I had undiagnosed mental health issues swirling inside as well. I wasn’t involved in the church outside of Sunday mornings, so my sounding board for life’s biggest questions were my peers. (eek!)
I was an insecure girl searching for meaning, purpose, self worth. My impression of God had become distorted. I viewed him as a grumpy old man sitting high in the sky judging us. Or sometimes a stuffy college professor type, playing with our lives like his chess pieces, for fun.
I began drinking and partying at a very young age. I was a shy kid and believed that was a flaw I needed to fix. I wanted to fit in so badly. I drank, to become the version of myself I thought people wanted and to try to numb the depression and anxiety. And also because…well, all my friends were doing it.
I wish I could say I grew out of this quickly.
Unfortunately, I lived in this place for many years. By my early 20s, I was at the lowest of lows with partying, not taking care of myself, desperately seeking love in all the worst places. I was reckless with my body, my mind, and my heart. I was drinking to the point of oblivion, experimenting with drugs, and living dangerously. It is by God’s grace ALONE that I made it out of that season of life alive.
But 2010 marked a change in my life, a shift in my soul. I had felt God pursuing my heart at different points in life, but in recent years and months–it was an intense pull, that I was actively trying to avoid. God was relentlessly pursuing my heart.
I remember one night specifically, I was laying on the floor of my apartment. It was early morning and I was alone. I had been drinking all night and the sadness in my heart felt like a gaping chasm in my chest. With tears falling, a desperation in my voice, I prayed and asked God to show himself to me. I told him I wanted to believe, but I needed him to SHOW me. I didn’t know how to ‘be a christian”. Or even if I wanted to be one. I just knew I needed HIM. I felt a supernatural calmness fill my soul. I was able to rest.
Things did not change suddenly. After that moment with God, my heart slowly began to soften to the idea that maybe God is who he says he is. But I still couldn’t understand why Jesus mattered.
I bought my first bible [in my adult life] and began to read. As I read God’s word and learned about Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and love for me, I felt it was true in my bones. His word is LIVING and reading it changed me. Not overnight. But the gospel of Jesus began to slowly chip away at the unhealthy parts of me. The peace He gave me was unlike anything I have ever known.
I reached out to the only christian I knew that was my age. I asked her to go to church with me. And she agreed. Bless her.
I had heard about this cool, hipster church in Louisville and I wanted to visit. That is what initially led me to Sojourn, to be honest. But it was there, in that dimly lit room with low ceilings and loud music–an old school converted into a church/art & music venue–that I truly heard the Gospel for the first time. A pastor stood in front of me speaking about his own sin and struggles with a magnetic candor I have never heard before. Especially not from a pulpit! It was intoxicating.
As he talked of our sin and how we are separated from God, I believed it. In a refreshing way, he told us that God desired a relationship with us so much that he made a way for us to be reunited with Him. He sent his son to live as a human–fully man, fully God. To bring us back to the family of God when we believe in his life, death, and resurrection from the grave. No strings attached. No perfection to be sought. I didn’t have to strive for “goodness” or favor from God. Instead, if I repented of my sin and trusted that Jesus is who he says he is, I could have a renewed relationship with the creator of the universe. It felt so simple, yet so complex. And I believed.
I became a member at Sojourn midtown, then Sojourn East, and now Sojourn J-town. Through this church body, I have gained a godly community that has helped shape my faith.
Jesus has RADICALLY changed my life these past 10 years. Through reading His word, [authentic] godly community, and the Holy Spirit, He has revealed his character to me. And it is trustworthy.
There have been ebbs and flows with clinical depression, GAD, chronic fatigue, marriage, friendships, and motherhood. Faith is messy. I have faced seasons of doubts, like most people who are Christians for long enough. But God has never let me go, never given up on me. Jesus is who he says he is and he has proven that to me–over and over again.
If you made it this far, thank you for reading! I felt like it was important to share where I came from, to understand why my faith is so important to me.
Whether or not we believe the same things, our stories matter. YOUR story matters. They make us who we are. I would love to hear yours!
Hey Lacey, thanks for sharing your story. It’s so amazing to hear how God spoke to you personally on that one dark night and how He has grown your heart to desire and love him more throughout the years. You have a gentle kind heart and I love how He is using you to speak into others lives about Him.