My mom made me promise her one thing when I went off to college, to keep going to church. I rolled my eyes and mumbled "yeah, yeah, yeah." I had always heard about people losing their way in college and never understood it or thought it would happen to me. But it did.
Well, coming to a new city and leaving behind the familiar community of your home church was what did for me.
I couldn't bring myself to go somewhere new all by myself, it just wasn't the same. I tried a few times, but it never really stuck. So, somewhere along the way, Sundays became my sleep-in days. I felt guilty about it for a while and then there were weeks that I forgot Sundays were meant to be the Lord's day.
So, I found myself around people who were a good time, but faith was never a topic and I honestly to this day I don't know what they believe. I went through the typical college phase of partying. Most people from back home probably think I went off the rails, which looking back I kinda did. It was a shock for me coming to college and the fact that I no longer had a strong relationship with God definitely impacted me.
In the midst of it all, I lost my dad. It was the hardest thing I have ever gone through.
He was there one day and gone the next. My dad was a man of God. He served in the church, read his Bible regularly and never missed a Sunday morning service. I know he's in Heaven and is still here with me, but at the time, I hated everything. It was felt like a really bad dream and I would wake up with him still here. I didn't blame God, but I did get angry. I pushed a lot of people away and broke down almost every day. There are still days that it hits me HARD, especially with my graduation in a few months.
Since then, I've been more lost than ever before.
I've struggled more than I ever imagined that I would. But, recently I've been working on myself and bringing myself back to someone that I'm proud to be. I wanted to be the kind of person that my mom and dad wanted me to be and raised me to be - God was a part of that.
This past weekend I completely broke down. I started sobbing.
I knew it was time to go back to church. I've felt God tugging at me for weeks and I finally faced it. I called my mom crying and she encouraged me to reach out to a friend. So, I texted a close friend who has been trying to get me to go with her to church and she was so excited to have me come with her on Sunday.
Sunday morning came and I was SO nervous. I was scared, I hadn't been to church for almost 4 years and I didn't know what to do with myself. It was weird at first, driving into the parking lot, but there was so much familiarity with it. I had so many flashbacks to memories of my church back home, of my dad and of the life that I used to be a part of. As I walked up to the entrance, I got more and more nervous and I honestly felt out of place. It was so weird to feel the distance from God and not knowing what to do.
I made it through the whole service until the very end when I just completely lost it.
I started crying. Everything that was said hit home with me and I felt God for the first time in a long time. I was home.
It's the start of a new chapter in my life and I'm so excited. I've never felt so motivated to grow in my faith and have a strong relationship with God. I'm so grateful to have this second chance with Him and I know my dad is up in Heaven smiling down on me that I've come back home. My mom is so happy that I've decided to get in touch with my faith, sending me passages and devotionals.
God has a plan and he's been working on mine.
The last couple of months I've grown close to the most amazing and kind ladies that have opened up my heart and brought me back to the Lord. I'm so thankful that He put them in my life and I can't wait to see what He's got in store for me.