My first church experience was very harmful. They never taught me about salvation because they believed the confirmation of the church started your journey towards “Christianity.” It was during my fifth grade year of public school that this process started for me, but through that time I was being heavily bullied by a group of girls, and my Sunday school teacher was the ringleader’s mother. Because of that, the bullying extended to church, which caused me to question Christianity at that young age.

Throughout middle school the bullying continued and I dealt with anxiety and depression. My mom’s friend suggested that I go with the Baptist church to Lake Ann Camp. So the summer between my eighth and ninth grade year I went to Lake Ann. Throughout that week I uncovered the hatred I held in my heart towards people, that there was only one way my depression and anxiety could be healed, and there was hope in life. The last night at camp we all gathered in the chapel and listened to Ken Rudolph preach and I believed in my heart that Christ died on the cross for me.

Coming back from camp I started to attend the Baptist church and began my journey in life. The first few months I was in bliss and nothing got me down.  I met Caleb who is my husband now and we started to “date”.  We quickly became obsessed with each other and I lost focus on Christ. Within months we got ourselves into trouble with the church and our families. 

We rebelled and fought with all of them and I moved in with him the day I turned 18. I thought this would cure all my problems. We lived together for a year and it was pure hell. Two weeks before our wedding I caught him looking at pornography and was quickly on my way out of the relationship. God had other plans. 

Through that time of praying and begging for forgiveness I found in my heart that I had a pride issue. People had hurt me and I had convinced myself that those people were the reasons I had issues. I convinced myself that it was their fault that I had sudden bursts of raging anger, constant depression, and panic attacks. With that going on it created a separation from Christ because I believed my sin was justified. I did not have a true appreciation for Him dying on the cross for my sins.

We married and fought with these problems for a good year and then approached a couple in the church for help. They helped us see that discipleship is essential in your walk with Christ.  Through this past year I've had to look at my own flaws and see that I did wrong to people just like I had been wronged. I am learning to see Christ as love and forgiveness.

I wanted to become a member at Willow Creek because I need discipleship with fellow believers and to be apart of a church community. I want to continue my journey, start becoming involved, and working the spiritual gifts God gives.