Growing up, I was always a happy child and never really thought that there was something missing in my life. I grew up in a non-religious family. I don’t think we even owned a Bible and we definitely didn’t talk about God or being Christians.
Then things started going wrong.
My great-grandpa passed away when I was going into 6th grade. It was incredibly difficult for me because I knew he had been sick for a long time. With his heart condition, he should have died well before I was born— so it really was a miracle that he had lived as long as he did. But even still, it was a really hard time for me.
We had a formal funeral church service for him, and that was the first time I had ever really sat in a church. In the program I remember they printed Psalms 23. I didn’t know it then, but that would become one of my favorite verses— reminding me that through every hardship, the Lord is still there guiding us.
As I sat there greiving the loss of my great-grandfather, it’s true— the Lord was there. I just didn’t know it.
However, in high school things didn’t get any better— they got worse.
My great-grandma passed away from Alzheimer’s my freshman year. She couldn’t remember memories past 1989, including my parents getting married, and I felt out of place at her funeral because she didn’t know who I was. We even have the same birthday, which made it more bittersweet for me.
Hardships continued, as my friends from middle school began drifting away. I felt like I was on my own.
During my time in high school, a boyfriend at the time said that I really needed to go to church. I did, but only because I didn’t want to disappoint him. Still, God was slowly working His way into my heart whether I knew it or not.
Coming into college, life slowly began to get better for me. I made new friends and got involved with different activities, one of which was an organization called Cru.
A friend from Cru had invited me to their weekly meetings, and I agreed to go. That’s when I really started coming out of my shell. And when I learned Cru had an upcoming Fall Getaway, I couldn’t think of a reason not to go.
At the retreat, the speaker talked about a father protecting his daughter from a fatal bee sting and sacrificing himself with the sting. This story was in relation to how Jesus suffered the ultimate sacrifice by dying on the cross and freeing us from our sins, including mine.
Relating this story to my life, I realized at that moment that I needed God and His protection and love. I’ve been given this amazing gift, and I haven’t been accepting it.
That weekend I gave my life to Christ.
Now, I have a different outlook on everything. I’m more positive and so much more open to growing in my relationship with Jesus. I’ve never had someone sacrifice for me. I felt like I had to do everything for myself. Now, I can find strength in God alone instead of trying to live a happy life on my own. I now know what had been missing in my life: Jesus.
What’s your story? Did you become a Christian through Cru or any ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ? If so, tell us more at email@example.com.
Michael is the director of affairs for India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives. He leads 600 full-time trained staff and over 2,500 JESUS Film and administrative staff members. Michael became a staff member in 1979 and married Judith in 1988. They have three children: Jonathan Michael, Jeremy Michael and Grace Michael.
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