I was born and raised into a Christian family. My father was the pastor of the church we attended at the time. My parents were both quite busy, leaving my four older sisters and myself to figure things out on our own. My father kept himself busy with his ministry work and my mother worked tirelessly to provide for us.
The summer before I entered middle school, my parents decided to get a divorce. My father left to pursue ministry work and my mother was left to take care of her five kids on her own. The divorce did not seem like a huge deal to me at the time. In fact, I was excited as it meant that I no longer had to attend church. At the time, I felt as though I was living the dream. It was what every kid my age would have wanted — the freedom to do what I wanted when I wanted. I no longer had anyone telling me what I could and could not do. However, with that added freedom came an even further lack of guidance.
By the time I entered high school, I had already developed terrible habits. I had already begun skipping classes and completely neglecting my school work. As I progressed through high school, I developed a number of addictions. By the time I hit eleventh grade I had developed various drug addictions, a smoking addiction, gaming addiction and a pornography addiction.
My endless hedonistic pursuits were a result of trying to cope with what I had lost. In my heart I knew that I was hurting so badly because I had so desperately desired a normal family and two parents who loved and cared for me, but I could never get myself to admit it.
These addictions eventually took control of my life. I desired nothing more than to not feel anything at all anymore. I could no longer bear the pain of existence anymore and decided I would finally put an end to my own misery. With that, I dropped out of high school at age 17. A few months later, I attempted to take my own life, but by the grace of God I was not able to go through with it.
The next half year of my life was miserable. I dreaded living, but I was too much of a coward to put myself out of my own misery, until one night I when had visited the hospital. I spoke with a doctor after having some complications with a surgery I underwent a few weeks prior. The doctor cleared me and told me I had nothing to worry about. However, that night as I was playing video games in my room, around three in the morning, I started feeling an unfamiliar pain in my chest. At first, I didn’t think much of it and thought the pain would just subside but eventually it came to a point where it had gotten so painful that I feared for my life. It had felt like someone had grabbed one of my lungs and proceeded to squeeze them as hard as they could. In that moment, I thought I would breathe my last. I was so afraid of death that I did the only thing I could think of. I fell to my knees and began to pray for the first time in my life. I began with the words “God, I don’t know if you’re even there or if you’re real, but I’m sorry for living my life like this.” I continued confessing my sins for what felt like hours and by the end of it I was met with an indescribable feeling of peace.
A few days later, I was introduced to a friend who began to teach me about the Bible. We read through the book of Mark together and for the first time in my life I was introduced to the person and the work of Jesus Christ and gradually my heart began to change. I began to desire things I had never even thought of before and the sins that I once enjoyed so much only left a sour taste in my mouth. The more I learned about Jesus, the more I began to hate my own sin and desire him instead. My heart was so touched when I learned that Jesus understood my pain and came down to earth to suffer the penalties for the sins that I had committed and through his resurrection I was given an everlasting hope knowing that, soon enough, I will be spending eternity with my Saviour.
I do not remember a specific time in my life where I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, but I do know that my life has never been the same ever since that night I prayed that first prayer. Jesus has changed my life in every way imaginable and I can confidently say that ”[it is no longer I who] live, but Christ [who] lives in me” (Galatians 2:20a).