Tuscaloosa, AL

A Story of Salvation

shared by LS-- The first semester of my freshman year was really rough. I was hundreds of miles from home, I didn’t know anyone, my roommates were complete strangers, and I was in a sorority making new friendships and really just trying to find my place and my people. A couple months went by and I realized I wasn’t happy at all. I was surrounded by people who didn’t share the same values as me and lived a completely different life than I wanted. My friends were always partying and going to bars and I did not like that lifestyle. I missed my family, my friends, the comfort of a home and talking to people who understood me. After a while I stopped going out with them, and would sit in my dorm, FaceTiming my family. Last thanksgiving break, I told my mom I couldn’t finish the semester out, and that I wanted to move back home.

Just before the semester finished, some of the best people I know were dropped right into my life. 5 girls who are pure, honest, encouraging and didn’t go out!!! After hanging out with them a couple of times before Christmas break I knew I wasn’t going to move back home. I had finally found my people.

I was introduced to them through one of my classmates because she went to the same church as these new friends of mine. So I knew going into this that they were Christians, and I really didn’t think anything of it. We would have game nights, go to lunch, and at times they would talk about Jesus and their faith and pray before they ate, which is something I had never experienced before. None of my family had grown up going to church, none of my friends back home were religious, and so when they had these conversations  with me I felt like I was in a whole new world.

One of my friends in this group started talking to me individually and asking me questions like, “Do you think you are going to heaven” and “Do you believe in God” and I answered honestly. My whole life these questions had never crossed my mind. I had never thought about heaven, God, or what I believed about spiritual things. On top of these conversations she started inviting me to go to church with her and the other girls. Every Wednesday, every Sunday she would invite me. Not to mention Monday nights when they had this thing called Life Groups. The first couple of times I declined, but after a while I said yes. Partly because I was curious and because I felt that if I went I would fit in with these girls more. Although our lifestyles looked similar in many ways on the outside, I still felt like an outsider because I didn’t understand their love for the Lord and why it was such a big deal. Little did I know, I was going to eventually understand and fall in love with Jesus too.

After going to church with them a couple times I realized how much I enjoyed it and how much I was learning about Jesus. But one thing was holding me back. And that was my family. I was so afraid to stray from my families beliefs— which I wasn’t even sure what they were, but I knew it wasn’t Christianity. I was so torn. The more I went to church the less I felt like an outsider with my friends. But the more I felt like an outsider with my family. And that was awful. My family has been my everything my whole life.

This past summer I went home, and went to a church near my house maybe two times. But once I got back to Bama, I couldn’t get enough of it. It was no longer because I was trying to fit in with my friends. Now it was completely about Christ and wanting to know Him more and more. I was going to Sunday services, Wednesday nights and I was reading my Bible—  I was completely fascinated and amazed with God.

Then one week earlier this semester my friends shared their testimonies with me. In hearing what Jesus had done for each of them personally, I felt surrounded by evidence of God’s love, faithfulness, kindness, forgiveness, and grace. I didn’t want to wait another day to have a personal relationship with him. So on September 19th I asked Jesus to become my Lord and Savior, and now my life has been changed forever— I’m forgiven of my sins, I am a child of God, and I get to spend eternity with Him!

Ever since that day I have been really nervous to go back home, because I knew I would have to tell my family. I had been praying about how I would have these conversations and my friends were giving me advice and helping me find confidence in scripture. After some time, the Lord allowed for almost all of the nerves to be gone and I was filled with pure excitement to tell them.
I went home two weeks ago. I ended up talking to my mom first and going into it, I didn’t really have a plan of what I was going to say so when I started talking to her I started off bluntly by telling her, “Mom, I’m a Christian now”. At first she didn’t understand and had a lot of questions, and so I answered them by sharing the gospel with her. This was one of the coolest things I have ever experienced.

After my mom I told my little sister, and she actually knew what I was going to say. We ended up talking about my faith and why I believe in God which allowed us to talk about her and what she thinks about God. She opened up to me like she never has before. This, too, was really, really awesome.

I also had two other amazing conversations with my older sister and dad, who were the two I was most nervous for. Though neither of them were interested in hearing more about Jesus, they said they will love and support me no matter what. Even still, I feel like I’m in a great position to continue talking and sharing with them openly about Christianity.

I am in awe of what the Lord has done in my life over the past year, and specifically this semester. Jesus has brought me from death to life because of his loving and gracious gift of salvation. Now I’m living life with a purpose!