My Story: Christina
Let me tell you a story.
At one time in my life, I wished that my story had amazing plot twists and turns–ones that would have you gasp and then sigh with relief. At one time in my life, I didn’t want to share my story because I thought it was too simple. But now I realize the beauty of the simplicity of my story.
And I’m going to share it with you.
It starts with a girl, born third of four…
I was born with an older brother and an older sister, and later welcomed a younger brother into our family. For the first seven or so years of my life, I had no idea that our family was a little different. We did the normal things. We went to school. We went to church. We visited family during the summer and holidays. We had friends.
But one day, my mom came to me and sat me down. She told me something I refused to believe at the time.
My sister was adopted.
I told my mom she was lying….because I obviously knew better than her.
These were the kinds of things that people joke about. “You know you’re adopted, right?” a sibling would tease.
But this time it was real.
I could not believe this. You see, my family was fortunate in that the child they were able to adopt happened to be brown like me–a mixed race baby. So to the average eye, and certainly to my young, naive eye, I had no idea that anything less than blood bonded us together.
I think that encounter, that information, really played a major part a little later on.
You see, I understood right away that family is more than blood relation. Family was about who you choose to love. Anyone could be in a family if you choose to make it that way. You didn’t have to do anything other than make that choice.
Not too long after I found out that my sister was adopted, I attended my church’s day camp. Though I could be naturally shy in new situations, I really enjoyed my days there.
One particular day, while we were gathered in the sanctuary, a speaker got up and shared a love story. One of a God who left His throne and humbled Himself so that He could take the punishment that I deserved for my wrongdoings. One of a God who pursued me despite my failings. One of a God who wanted me in His eternal family.
The speaker asked if anyone wanted to make a commitment to God and join His family forever. He asked anyone interested to come down the aisle so they could speak to a counselor.
I remember so desperately wanting to have the courage to get out of my seat and go down that aisle. I wanted to be in God’s family. I want to accept the ultimate love He showed me by taking my punishment on His shoulders.
But I couldn’t.
I remained firmly, albeit miserably, in my seat.
That night I cornered my mom and asked her about this love that I had heard about. I told her of my desire to be in God’s family. I knew that all I had to do was choose to be a part of it and I could. So right there in our apartment, my mom lead me in a prayer to make Jesus Lord of my life.
I’d like to say that everything was sunshine and roses after that. But it wasn’t.
The Muddy Middle
Why I had been earnest in my desire to be in God’s eternal family, I think I had no real idea what that meant beyond making that choice.
My life did not change overnight. In fact, it was really mostly that same.
I was generally a rule follower, and still quite young, so I hadn’t yet made the decisions to form habits that I needed to break or relationships I needed to severe.
So for the next several years, life basically proceeded just the way it had before I entered God’s family: I went to church on Sundays but did nothing with or about Jesus any other time of the week (and truthfully, I hardly did anything with Him at church).
The Turning Point
Shortly before I turned ten, my family moved Texas, and I became best friends with a girl who was very active with her church. As I was entering middle school, she invited me to come to her youth group.
I had never seen what living with God as your Lord looked like until then. I was introduced to Christian music, Christian apparel, Christian camps, and more.
And I loved it. I embraced it. But in and of itself, it wasn’t enough.
I came to doubt myself, doubt my faith.
“Could I really be saved when I didn’t live like it for so many years?”
“Did I really mean it when I was seven?”
“What if I wasn’t sincere enough?”
Almost every night I would struggle with these questions, often ending with a prayer of salvation–just in case.
But the Lord saw me. He saw my doubts, and He sent peace. He sent it through my youth group in the form of a Bible Study called Experiencing God.
That study taught me what it meant to commune with God. That study taught me that I can devour God’s word and that can give me the answers I need. That study taught me to see how God was moving all around me and to join Him in His work. But most of all, that study taught me that I am His forever and ever. I need not doubt. The evidence is all around me that God cares deeply and specifically about me.
I am His beloved daughter. Forever in His family because He chose me, and I chose Him.
My Story Continues
I would love to say that from that moment on, I never had a doubt again. I never strayed from God’s will for my life. But I am a work in progress.
But I know that in the midst of my ups and downs, my times of deep scripture study and spiritual dryness, my times of hurt and joy, and everything in between, I know to whom I belong to.
And that is how my story begins.
Thanks for coming along for my little trip down memory lane. Grow posts are by far the hardest ones for me to write, but Tiff, MaryAnn, and I decided that we wanted to let you, our readers, know a little bit more about us. So we are sharing our stories this month (check out both MaryAnn’s and Tiff’s stories), and our love stories next (here’s mine). So stay tuned, dear readers. We got some more life to share with you.
Feel free to follow us to find out more.