By Ally B
Unrest and confusion have marked the majority of my life, whether by choice or unforeseen events. By age 18, ten of my friends had passed away. At 21, I graduated from Auburn University, and at 22 I ended up with a walker after surviving a horrific head-on collision. Married at 23, I was divorced at 24. I’d always considered myself a Christian because I grew up in a Christian home, went to church, attended camps, led Young Life, and prayed often. But just before my 26th birthday — exhausted from living on my own terms — I realized I had this ‘Christian’ thing all wrong.
Until that point I trusted in everything except the Lord: my friends, relationships, and mostly in myself. I depended on my education, physical appearance, money, guys, and social status for my self-worth (the opposite of Proverbs 3:5). That left me feeling lost, broken, numb, exhausted, and hopeless. Finally, just 18 months ago, I realized I didn’t need to make more money, get more friends, or meet another man. I needed a SAVIOR. I needed this Jesus I’d heard about my whole life. Nothing else would complete or satisfy me.
Much of my pain has come from me and others in my life turning our backs on God and doing what we wanted instead. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” Since surrendering my life to Christ, I’ve never felt more alive, peaceful, joyful, or hopeful. I know that I am not defined by my divorce, my sins, or even anything good I’ve done; I’m defined by Christ (Ephesians 2:1-13) and what He did for me. Even when I’ve been faithless, He has been faithful (2 Timothy 2:13). God continually amazes me with His faithfulness, providing opportunities to share my story with friends, family, people in the Amazon jungle, and even my ex-husband. I’ve learned that it isn’t enough for me to just say I’m a Christian. My life must reflect that I believe in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. I’m humbled that God uses sinners like me (1 Timothy 1:12-17).
Today, the Lord has restored and redeemed me. I was never meant to carry the bitterness, guilt, and insecurity. I’ve learned I not only can forgive others, but I can embrace the forgiveness Christ offers me as well. I’m forgiven and set free through Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).