I grew up in a Christian home. My dad has been a pastor for as long as I can remember.
Growing up in a "Fishbowl" family and with 4 siblings and a step sibling, I felt very isolated and lonely. When I was ten, I started contimplating suicide. I would sit alone in the darkness of my closet for hours and just hide from the world. No one saw who I was. At church, I was a great girl who loved God. I would raise my hands when I sang and appear to be totally into the worship, while on the inside, I was cursing God's name. I began to hate and I stopped forgiving even the smallest offenses. I saw hypocrits surrounding me at church, not from my family, but they were there and we all knew who they were.
But down deep, though I used the hypocracy as my reason for hating Christians and Christ, I knew it was because of something I didn't believe... I didn't believe that God could love me. I believed he loved many people, even saw him miraculously heal my friend from a disease that would have killed her.
I hardened my heart to love in any form. I would get the creeps if hugged and I never trusted a soul. My relationship with my parents was going downhill fast and I decided to take action. I truly believe Satan helped me plan my suicide perfectly. I would sign up for a mission trip to Africa, get "lost" and jump off a cliff or something. Africa was dangerous. There would be chances. But I didn't count on God's saving love. Neither did Satan. In a large church that LOVED mission trips, I couldn't get a single backer. The trip fell through.
At the end of their rope, my parents sent me off to camp with another church. I didn't want to go, but when I saw that we'd go repeling, I knew that I could cause an "accident" and not return.
I didn't believe in God's love and so I wasn't expecting that the night of my arrival they'd have a speaker that would be touched by God in an amazing way. He came and spoke and reached out to those that were most hurt in the group. Instead of reaching the people who are "fine" he reached out to the outcasts, just as Jesus did. He spoke about loneliness that consumes and gave us the antidote... Christ's love. Accept it and have a guaranteed friend for life. Never alone again. He asked people who warred against this to stand. Foolishly (I thought) I sat at the front and something inside stood me up. The second I stood, I wanted to sit down! I didn't want these strangers at camp (I only knew one girl) to see my weakness. It was too late though! I couldn't sit down because the girls from my room and my counselor stood and surrounded me, hugging me and praying over me, they poured out love to a stranger in need. No hypocracy, not to be cool or look like "good Christians" and for the first time in four years, I cried from the bottom of my heart. My soul began to be cleaned out and it continued all week. I hadn't cried in so long that my body and heart had a LOT of cleaning to do. I cried all day and through the nights with cleansing tears. Even in my sleep I cried (which caused some worry with my counselor!) It totally changed me. I gave my life to Christ for the first time that warm June day in 1994 and have never been alone again. Just as God promised.
It's been a continual growing process. There have been some hard times and some great times. If there's only one thing I know in this life, it's that serving God, letting HIM be my boss and living as the Bible teaches has brought me more joy and peace and love then I ever could have imagined or hoped for.