Like many teenagers who gained admission into a tertiary institution at a young age, I was very excited to leave home and experience the “bigger life.” Though I wasn’t sure what to expect, I believed I was ready.
I realize now that perhaps the most crucial and determining moments in the life of any teenager regardless of who they were and the kind of company they had kept in high school, would be their first few encounters in the university. These new “university encounters” would determine the friends you make and keep, and whether you choose to cultivate a relationship with God or decide to just be lukewarm or blatantly worldly; there are no in-betweens. As a result, you would either have embarked on a journey to destruction or one that leads to success and progress.
Having said that, for me it was the cliché “good girl gone bad” drama that was my life’s story. The first few friends I made in school were not exactly Godly. We skipped most classes, partied hard, consumed alcohol for fun (I would drink so much and walk down the streets of my school inebriated with my ‘boyfriend’ doing crazy things), and smoked (I couldn’t do that because I was asthmatic and scared that it would kill me). Also, following immense pressure from my ‘boyfriend’, I had sex for the first time at the age of seventeen. Somehow, I found it difficult to tell my friends at the time. I didn’t trust them not to judge me for whatever reason even though I was sure they were doing exactly what I was. I had no one I could turn to, no friend that could give me good advice, and talking to my parents about it was obviously not on my agenda so I turned to God.
I didn’t know what to say to him, so I just prayed for forgiveness the morning after and moved on. I later had a pregnancy scare that made me worry so much, I would cry myself to sleep a lot till I eventually fell ill. The relationship I was in was a commanding and toxic one and when I eventually walked away, I became very uptight and introverted.
I constantly felt dirty, smelly and inferior, and cried myself to sleep a lot.
I still couldn’t run to God. I had no clear what it meant to be saved and felt I had done wrong by God. I had gone against the basics of all I’d learnt in my parents’ church from childhood.
When I finally picked myself up and got better, it was back into the world again. The foundation still was bad and I simply dusted the former dirt off and fell right into another. The only takeaway from my past experience was to stay away from sex. Every other thing either stayed the same worsened. I lived that way for more than a year until one fateful morning, recently awoken from sleeping away the stress of a night spent clubbing, a voice whispered to me “It’s time to stop and come home. The peace you are looking for can only be found in me.” A Bible quote came to mind.
“for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, being freely justified by his grace through Christ Jesus”
Once fully awake, I started searching for these words in the bible and I found them in Roman 3:23. I read the whole chapter and I burst into tears. Sobbing uncontrollably, I realized that all the while I was running and hiding from God, he was waiting for me, knocking for me to open up my heart. Up until that moment, I had never understood the true meaning of salvation. It was nothing like I’d been taught. The peace, joy and assurance I felt in that moment was mind-blowing. Nothing else mattered.
I realized that all the while I was running and hiding from God, he was waiting for me, knocking for me to open up my heart.
That was not the end of it. The spirit of God led me to find two of my Christian acquaintances at the time, tell them my story; ask them to help me and pray for me because I believed that if I tried to do it on my own, I would fall ten times backwards. God blessed me through them and within a short period of time, God changed my story. I found peace, salvation, assurance, a church and godly friends.
If the son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed – JOHN 8:36.
I know I said when I began this story that the first encounters are what shape your life; the truth is it’s never too late to go down the right path. If you’re lucky, you can choose your friends wisely from the start but if you’re like me, know also that no matter how deep in the world you are, no matter how dirty and unworthy you feel, his arms are wide open and it’s never too late.
Salvation is a gift we don’t deserve. Jesus Christ came for the most undeserving people so you shouldn’t be running away because you’re unworthy.
You should be running towards Jesus because he died to give you this gift. Why do you still refuse to accept it?.
Jesus Christ came for the most undeserving people so you shouldn’t be running away because you’re unworthy.