As a child, I was brought up in the church and my parents had me baptized when I was six months old. My family and I prayed over every meal, and I prayed every night before I went to sleep. I went to Sunday school almost every week but did not receive much from what I learned—the lessons were conducted from a very traditional perspective, which did not inspire or even give me an adequate sense of God’s abundant love. My days in the church I grew up in did not spark in me a desire to take my faith and devotion to the next level. I never truly surrendered until much later in life.

My faith deepened when I matriculated at the University of Maryland; I made life-long friends who just happened to be incredibly God-fearing, spiritual people…I mean literally every friend I made had a deep and personal relationship with Jesus. I felt compelled to deepen my own faith, and in 2009, my first year of college, I decided to embark on my own faith journey.

I graduated college in 2013, and fast-forward to two years later—March 11, 2015—I had a stroke caused by intracranial cerebral hemorrhage; essentially, my brain started spontaneously bleeding for no diagnosable reason at all. I was on my way to work and collapsed outside of the metro station. I was airlifted to Washington Hospital Center where I stayed for a month. On March 31, 2015 I had brain surgery that saved my life — three years to the day of my upcoming baptism! This life-or death situation brought me even closer to God, and since then I’ve felt that I have God’s protection and that, for some reason, he is paying special attention to me. I made a full recovery except for some double vision that required surgery. I was only 23 at this time!

In late 2015, shortly following my stroke, my ex-boyfriend and I broke up. He was the first person I met in college that inspired me to grow in my faith, and was at that time the most deeply spiritual person I ever met, making the separation all the more difficult. Following these two traumatic situations, I began to develop anxiety and depression. I was hopeless…I remember sitting on the train on my way home from work and looking out of the window and crying because I just didn’t know how I would find love again, but most importantly, IF I would find love again. I thought I was destined to be alone for the rest of my life. I clearly remember looking out of the window thinking…there is nothing I can do. Then, out of nowhere God put on my heart to turn it over to him. It was like an “ah-ha” moment. I was like “OH YEAH, I never thought about that… if I give it up to God, He will work it all out for me!” I gave this burden to Him and never felt hopeless about love again. I am certain that it is coming, and coming soon.

In July of 2017 I was involved in a car accident that should have killed me. A car hit me on the passenger side, and my car flipped over three or four times, eventually landing on the passenger side. I had to crawl out of the windshield. I emerged calm, no tears at all, surveyed the damage and said to the paramedic, “I should be dead,” but quietly in my mind I thought “but God’s got me covered.” By this point I was so convinced in God’s protection over my life that I was not at all surprised that I survived. I was completely uninjured, save for a few cuts that required stitches. My miracle.

The anxiety that this caused, on top of the general anxiety I was experiencing day to day, led me to my breaking point. I was in the shower this past January, experiencing a full on panic attack. I kept trying to control it every way I knew how. Then I came to the sudden realization— similar to what I realized on the train in 2015— that I was already doing everything I could do and the rest I had to give to God. I surrendered in that moment, completely. I declared that I would accept His will over mine every day of my life, and that He was Lord over my life. I felt immense peace, and from that day forward, I began to heal and started feeling better and better each day. The veil of anxiety and depression is slowly lifting and I am laughing again, making jokes again and feeling the peace of the Lord growing inside of me every day.

— Aden Daniel, Baptized March 2018
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