My testimony began as I grew up in a Christian home in Minnesota. I was christened as a baby and grew up going to church every Sunday. But I hadn’t made a personal decision at this age to follow Jesus. I also had no understanding of how empty life without Christ could be, until I was older.

In my teen years I battled an eating disorder and depression, which drove a wedge further between me and my faith. There was a period of time when I absolutely hated myself and my family for trying to help me. This was something that followed me into adulthood and in many ways crippled my ability to interact with others. It made me feel like I wasn’t worthy to be loved by anyone. Let alone by Jesus.

By the time I reached college, I had mostly fallen away from my Christian upbringing. I was attracted to Eastern philosophy and new age beliefs, hearing stories from friends and watching videos online about chakras, universal consciousness and meditation. I slowly began to sink into these practices with the hope that they would fill up the ever-empty void inside of me that only Christ could fill. But my self-destructive thoughts, anxiety, and depression never left me. I actually began to believe that these feelings were me. That I deserved to feel the way I did.

In my final years of college, my life took a sharp turn. I was selected to do my student teaching abroad in Seoul, South Korea. This was a time when I felt a tug at my heart to remember Christ. All of my coworkers went to church regularly and invited me to join them every week. I went along one time and cried during the service. But for whatever reason, I told myself I wasn’t ready to believe in Christ. I still was stubborn enough to think I could do it alone.

Fast-forward a year: I met my husband while working at an English school in Seoul. We moved to Israel the next year to be near his family and job, and I found myself feeling more isolated and unhappier than I had ever felt. While we lived there I also went deeper into dangerous New Age practices like astral projection. I would have nightmares and bouts of unexplainable fatigue and emotional distress. I felt like something was seriously wrong. And yet, I still wasn’t broken enough to admit that I needed help.

In the spring of 2018 we decided to move back to the U.S., and my husband got a job in Maryland. During the initial waiting period for his green card, I spent several lonely months here looking in all the wrong places for spirituality. It was actually through one of these empty pursuits that I was finally brought back to Christ. I was instructed by a “Spiritual Teacher” to read several verses in Scripture. And that first night, I felt something that I had never felt before.

Reading through Matthew 9:12, where Jesus says “It is not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick,” immediately I was broken. I realized that all of my searching through different beliefs was just my futile attempt at finding something that would heal me. I wasn’t “enlightened” or even facing the right direction. God reached down and met me where I was. He can use any situation, good or bad, to make himself known, and he made it very clear that I would continue to wander blindly for my entire life if I didn’t turn to him.

That day I prayed for Jesus to heal me, and he did. My anxiety and depression are gone, I no longer feel tormented and confused. And from that point until today, I have been completely changed. I cried for a week, began devouring my Bible, and found Grace Community Church.

I have a memory of being a little girl and shutting myself in my room and hugging the air because I knew that God was everywhere. When I prayed for Jesus to come back into my life, I felt him hug me.

— Katie Caswell, Baptized April 2019

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