Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Joy: Jamie's Story

From the time I was born until about Kindergarten my family was extremely involved with church and we were there all of the time. At some point our pastor left and my parents decided it was time for us to find a new church as well. We never found another church. We became professional church hoppers. Then we just quit trying at all. If we went to church it was because it was one of those random weeks that my parents felt bad that we weren't in church anymore. Every time we would go I would secretly wish that we would go again the next weekend. I would see girls from my school and see how happy they were during worship. I wanted to be just like them. I wanted to sing the songs, but I was too embarrassed. What if someone saw me? They all know what I've done, I can't be a "church girl".
I lived with this belief inside of me for a very long time that I wasn't good enough for church. God didn't have time for someone like me.
I was a cheerleader, I was popular, I had a lot of friends.. yet I was always longing for that relationship with Jesus. I just didn't have anyone around me striving for the same thing. This made it very difficult. I fell into sin after sin until it just became who I was.
I was that girl.
That was me and there was nothing I could do about it.
I had no self-worth, I was a hopeless fool....

Fast forward into Senior year of high school. I had been working at a restaurant for about a year and had made some great friends. One of the girls I met invited me to this thing called "Young Life". I had heard of it before and knew it was some sort of "church thing". This girl went to a different school than myself so I wasn't expecting to see anyone I knew there, but I was wrong.. there were A LOT of people there that I knew...people just like me! I remember having so much fun and wanting to go back the next week. I went back week after week. Eventually I started dating a guy that I was friends with who was there the first week I went. He invited me to go to church with him, and before I knew it God was transforming my life before my eyes. All it took was that first time and I was hooked. I was meeting so many great friends. It was the craziest feeling in the world, but I knew that it was what I wanted to do. It was so tough because I felt like I was living a double life. I had my school friends and then I had my church friends. Even though it was hard and I was really worried that my friends at school would think I was weird and crazy I knew that I wanted to keep pursuing the Lord because I could feel him pursuing me.

It felt like over night that I went from being a crazy, popular, care free cheerleader to a bible reading-worship singing-prayer warrior-jesus freak. and I couldn't have been happier. It's like I knew that this was what I was missing in my life but up until this point I just didn't have the resources to get myself there. It's amazing who God puts in your life.
And it's amazing how powerful prayer is. I can remember praying SO HARD to God that I could just let go and give my life to him. I wanted this, I knew I did, but I was starting to get scared. Over time and with the great guidance from my new found church friends I completely surrendered my life to Christ and it is still the best decision I have ever made.

The Summer after Senior year is what I like to refer to as my born-again summer.
I made some AMAZING friends. I grew so much in my faith and even got baptized!
I will NEVER forget that moment.
Such freedom.
Pure JOY.


After the summer was over I headed off to college.
I lived with 3 girls that I knew from high school.
This was the best decision I could have made for myself against everyone else's better judgement. I knew God was challenging me to stand firm and to be obedient to Him. I know that He was with me every step of the way that year.
I learned how to really lean on God. In the good times and the bad. I learned how to obey and honor Him with every decision I made.
After a year and a half I decided to end my relationship. I knew that this was what God wanted for me. Even though it was a tough decision I knew it was right. God promised He would take care of me and provide me with a man who would be my husband someday.

And take care of me He did. I had never depended on the Lord like I did the two weeks after our breakup.

Two weeks later God provided for me just like He had promised.
He allowed Adam and I to cross paths again after three years and fall in love.

He also provided a new living situation (and just for the record, I still do not regret living with those girls, I love them a lot and am still friends with them it just wasn't where I needed to be). I have now lived with McKinley for the last three years, and Katie the last two. Two amazing, Christian girls, who have helped me SO much! I am SO thankful for their friendship.

God also provided me with my Jessie Bear. I have never felt so connected to someone in my life. God knew what He was doing when he introduced us ;-)

Time and time again God has provided me with the things I've needed.

To this day I am still madly, deeply, forever in love with Jesus.
I have NO SHAME about my past. He has washed me clean. 
I know my God will come through, always. 

My life is filled with so much happiness and Joy because I am best friends with God. I am still SO thankful that He met me where I was and brought me back to Him.

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"You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy."~Psalm 30:11

"But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me."~Psalm 13:5

"With joy you will drink deeply from the fountain of salvation"~Isaiah 12:3

"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."~Luke 11:9

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My prayer for you, sweet friends, is that you will live a life filled with joy, that you will trust in Jesus always and know that if you knock He will answer. God is pursuing you, He wants you to stay in His presence. 

And now a song that encourages you to always trust that God will bring JOY to your life..no matter what you are facing, God will come through!

8 comments:

  1. The more I read this post, the more I love it !!!! So glad that God crossed our paths in our very first class in college, I would not be the same without you. You mean the world to me, Jamie! I am so proud of you. :)

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  2. So encouraging to see what God can do!! Love you, Jamie!

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  3. I loved reading your story Jamie! It's so incredible to see God's work played out! love it!

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  4. Enjoyed your story, Jamie. The picture of you getting baptized screams freedom! :)

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  5. beautiful story! I love how even though everyone's testimony is unique, they're all still the same. I think we all have those low points and struggles to look back to. And that's what makes great testimonies. Thanks for sharing yours.

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  6. Love this sweet Jamie!! So thankful for your testimony and how God is using it to reach others!

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  7. Beautiful story! Thank you so much for sharing!

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  8. This story has made my heart smile so much! I am currently training to become a young life leader and what an encouragement this post was to me! Jamie, thank you so much for sharing!

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