My Story: From This World to the Other

God answers prayers.

Three words that have summed up my life especially this new season that I am in now.

It has been on my heart for a few weeks now to write about fear, worry, and anxiety. Three things that I have struggled with and am still dealing with today. But, this past Sunday at church during worship, nine new believers in Christ stood up and shared their testimony. Later that night during small groups, eight others shared their testimony. Strong, powerful, faithful is our God. His amazing love and awe-inspiring faithfulness to us permeated through each story. Their own personal life story. A love story at that. God spoke to me in awesome ways through each person from the little blonde six year old girl who told God she wanted to be His child to the once fatherless man who’s life was made new by the great love of His Heavenly Father! Each one had this in common: God pursued each one despite their sinfulness and God LOVED each one despite their lack of love for Him. They are now transformed! They are new!
Each testimony has power and has something that someone else can be encouraged by or can learn from.

I want to share my story. My life. I want to share my past of brokenness that was turned into beauty and new life by the Living God. My past does not define me and your past does not define you. There is no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)

I grew up with two young parents. I remember attending a country baptist church and always going to vacation bible school. A few years later, they divorced.

Fast forward about seven years, my mom and I were in church and I started feeling sick. My heart started pounding just like someone was knocking on the inside door of my heart. As the preacher’s words of salvation and redemption echoed through my mind, I pictured three crosses. I remember it vividly to this day. The middle cross was empty and there was something shining behind it. I believe that was the moment that God was calling me to salvation. Looking back, I know he was saying, “Come to the cross and find me; I have great things waiting for you!” I accepted. I whispered, “I think I need to be saved”, and went up to the alter to talk to a woman who ended up crying the entire time she was teaching me what being a Christian means. She said it was the most moving experience she had been in. I really didn’t know why she had said that but again, looking back, I know that she felt something from God. Because since then, my world has been right side up and upside down.

The years leading up to my middle school days were good. I struggled heavily with my parent’s divorce but through God’s love and comfort, I somehow survived. I remember back talking to the teacher and hitting a girl in fourth grade in the bathroom line. I wasn’t that type of kid. I was quiet and meek my whole life except for when life was really difficult because of the divorce.

Fast forward into my middle school/junior high days. That was a nightmare I wish I could forget. I hung out with the wrong people and listened to the wrong music. Not being discipled by any Christians or being around any godly influence besides my mom and grandparents, I was forced to be taught by the world. As any other awkward preteen, I had no idea who I was. By the grace of God, I never got into drugs or did anything stupid. I just hung out with people who did. God had His divine Hand over me every day for those 3 agonizing years of depression and confusion. I’m so thankful!

Ps-Parents, if you’re teenager has a bad mouth and attitude and always slams the door just to make a point, YOU need to make it a point to call them out, tell them God loves and wants them, and you are there for them every awkward step of the way. I believe that the only reason that I survived my preteen years was because I was a God’s child. Your kid may not be therefore please try your best to lead them to Christ or send them my way because there are young girls everywhere getting pregnant outside of marriage because they feel like they have to impress, boys drinking and doing drugs because their own dad abandoned them and they want to escape and every one of them need God!!

Moving on!

Needless to say, I strayed away from the faith because all around me was negative influence. I tried finding my identity in friends and impressing people.

That spilled over into high school, where I immediately sought out the popular crowd.

I put myself in so many instances where without God’s eyes and hand of protection over me, I wouldn’t be here today. No doubt about it.

I chased the things of this world like there was no tomorrow.

I looked at those kids in FCA and thought they were the most annoying, goody goody, obnoxiously happy people I had ever seen. (God does have a sense of humor.)

On the inside, I (very) secretly wanted to be them.

I was in extremely emotionally abusive relationships but I put up with it because I wanted to be loved and accepted. Mostly loved because a young girl without her father’s guidance and teaching rarely ever ends up withOUT a broken, shattered heart. I say this with complete love: Fathers, step up. (For the record, I have an awesome dad & step dad but I believe that most fathers have a role that they are not playing. Your children depend on that role being played out completely.)

Little did I know, the summer of my junior year of high school would be the last summer I ever had to chase this world again.

I LOVE telling this part. God works in amazing ways!!!

At the time, I was in a relationship with a lost, world chasing, drinking kid who didn’t know any better. (I fervently pray that one day very soon, he comes to know Jesus as Savior)

Through the worlds eyes, I had it all. I was part of the popular crowd, I had a faithful boyfriend who cheated on me multiple times but always came whining back; I was thin, tan, and blonde. (I’m naturally a brunette, ha!)

One summer night, my younger sister, Emily, had said she accepted Christ and that whipped my parents back into shape. Let me add that I had/have the best parents who never hurt us or lead us down the wrong way. They, well, they’re sinners too and weren’t following God how they should have been.

Nevertheless, God used my little sister to change our family. A year or less later, my stepdad started attending a men’s class at our church that God used in a CRAZY MIGHTY way to change him as well. He started leading us to Christ and making us go to church more and was living out the Walk not just talking about it.

I was still holding on to the world as tight as I could but also, the things I heard in church made sense and stuck on meso I tried to get this cool boyfriend kid to go to church with me. I thought that if he got saved then everything would be fine. Poor innocent 17 year old me. (FYI- you can’t change ANYONE)

Obviously, that didn’t work. And that’s when God took matters into His own Hands. I am eternally grateful.

I was supposed to go on a trip to the beach with this cool kid and his friends. My mom said yes but for some (at the time) weirded out reason, she told me to ask my dad who lived in another town. Just trust me when I say that never happened. (God’s hand)

It just so happened that the youth group at my church was leaving the same day that the beach trip was scheduled. Since that little excursion was a no-go, I decided last minute that I would go on this youth trip. For whatever reason (God’s hand again), I felt like I needed to.

Those six to seven days were the most life changing, heart melting, reviving days of my life. There was one particular night when the band sang “Lead Me to the Cross”. I can still close my eyes and feel the sin, the guilt, the heartache, the pain, the many lies, and all the brokenness lifting, being thrown off my shoulders and chest. In that moment, I fell to the ground praising God, SOBBING and glorifying the Creator who held me in His Omnipresent Hands safety throughout every twist and turn of my life! I AM FREE! I was on my knees in humility and repentance. I was free and I was His!

I came back home a new person. A new Katie. Completely. I was so transformed and alive that I knew I couldn’t live life the way I used to. I had no desire to! I desired all that God was and had in store.

I broke up with the kid, my old friends, and my former way of life.

When I went back to my senior year, I literally had zero friends. I was now the girl who always carried her bible even to lunch. I’m sure everyone was so weirded out. I prayed to God for true and godly friends and I became close friends with people I used to make fun of.

After high school, I started teaching class at church, was in every bible study that was offered, and had amazing mentors. I was so hungry for the Word and thirsty for the cup of Living Water.

Praise God, I haven’t been the same since then! I am a new creation in Christ!

God is and always has watched over me and blessed me!

God turned my darkness into light and rescued me from the world’s pretty traps that deceive and slowly kill.

Then— God went above and BEYOND all comprehension of blessing when He sent my husband, Joe, into my life so unexpectedly!

What a blessing, encouragement, and man of God he is.

I had never been able to completely understand God’s love for me in some way or the other throughout my life because I thought I didn’t deserve it. I don’t but through Christ, I am righteous and God DOES love me more than anything! Joe lead me to see this through his understanding and love for God and honestly just the fact that he showed up in my life was my answer to all those questions. Through my husband, God taught me about His unending grace.

I hope my life and transformation encourages you.

He is able to save you. It doesn’t matter how far you have ran from Him. He has never left you! Nothing you have done or are doing can change God’s love for you.

Beloved, the world will never satisfy you. Your boyfriend/girlfriend will never make you complete. Your friends or your job will never be enough.

Only Jesus. Only Jesus.

Only Jesus.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. -Matthew 11:28

For God did not destine us for wrath but for gaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. -1 Thessalonians 5:9

For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him.
The one who believes in him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. -John 3:16-18

So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away – look, what is new has come!
-2 Corinthians 5:17

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may proclaim the virtues of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. -1 Peter 2:9

Therefore repent and turn back so that your sins may be wiped out,
so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and so that he may send the Messiah appointed for you – that is, Jesus.
-Acts 3:19,20

These are the verses God used to teach me how to turn from my sinful ways back to God:

So submit to God. But resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and make your hearts pure, you double-minded.
Grieve, mourn, and weep. Turn your laughter into mourning and your joy into despair.
Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you. -James 4:7-10

-K

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