I was raised in a Christian household. Every Sunday, my parents brought my siblings and me to church. We’re a musical family, so in addition to Sundays, that meant Tuesday night band practice and Wednesday night choir practice. At home, my parents prayed with us before bed and raised us according to the Word.
As I kid, I didn’t appreciate it as much as I do now. A lot of things my friends did, I could not do. Now we didn’t only listen to gospel music or watch Christian shows, but if there was profanity, it was getting shut off. If there were sexual scenes or vulgarity, it was getting turned off. I hated not being able to be like a “regular” kid. I didn’t know that though I didn’t have a relationship with God for myself, my parents were building a solid foundation for us.
When I turned 17 and moved away to college, I found a church home similar to what I was used to growing up, because that’s what I was used to. But after a while, I realized that that specific church home was not for me. For a while, I went months without regular Sunday corporate worship, and my personal walk with God had not yet really started.
There came the point where I was no longer fearful of what my parents would say about me not going to church. I had my share of “fun,” but God was always pulling at my heartstrings. I was now at the place where seeking God was a choice that I had to make for myself. I didn’t really know what I was doing. My prayers were short. My devotion time was quick and sometimes put me to sleep. And I still hadn’t found a church home I could call my own.
In my Sophomore year of college, I met a guy who eventually became my husband. I started going to church with him in my Junior/Senior year of college, which has remained my church home. Though I wasn’t a traditional new believer, I was new to walking with Christ on my own. My parents laid an excellent foundation for me, but I had a hard time figuring out what to do next. My church family embraced me, nurtured me, and provided me with excellent leadership, and I learned by example.
Now, I’m no super saint. I struggle with my consistency at times, but I know what it is like to give God my all and friends, there is nothing better. If you’re a new believer or are struggling with your journey, here are a few things that have helped me:
Photography // Thalia Nino
I encourage you to get connected to a community of believers. Find a church home that is biblically-based and encourages you to read the Word for yourself. Having friends who are like-minded Christians is also a great support and will help you in your walk with God.
Get To Know Jesus As Your Friend
Religion can often make us feel that God is untouchable. Yes, He is almighty. Yes, He holds our world in His hands. But, He also wants to be your friend. Getting to know Jesus as your friend is such a beautiful experience. Go on dates together. Talk with Him about what you want to wear. Share with Him the details of the new guy you met. It’s weird at first because you may feel like you’re just talking to yourself. But, if you give it time, I promise you, you will feel His presence on a whole new level.
Give Yourself Grace
Becoming a believer does not make you exempt from everyday temptations. Girl, you will fall. But, 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” That is your escape clause. Do not let the enemy, or your friends, or your spectators guilt you into believing that your faith in invalidated because you made a mistake. Recognize it, give it to God, and allow Him the time to work on you.
I pray this was helpful. If you’re struggling, if you have questions, if you just want to talk, please feel free to reach out. I’d love to hear from you!