My earliest memories include going to church. My parents valued religious education, and they ensured that my brother, sister and I attended whenever the doors were open. I enjoyed the stories and the activities. Church was as normal and routine as going to school and family supper. I learned how to make good decisions and how to live a good life that would not disappoint my parents or anger God. There were clear rules to follow, and I wanted to be a good person.

When I was 13, I attended a youth retreat and the Gospel was explained to me. I felt a longing in my soul for God and to know Him, and I made a public profession of faith and accepted Jesus as my Savior.

Despite my commitment and decision to follow Christ, throughout high school and college I wandered from Him. I was in and out of church, closer to God at times and distant at others. I was mostly closer when I needed Him. I still didn’t have a relationship with Him, but I always considered myself a believer. I aimed to make the choices a “good Christian” would make: going to church, reading my Bible (sometimes), living morally, and doing good works. When I was failing in one of these areas I would try harder, or I would hide from God, always feeling like I wasn’t good enough.

In 2002, I heard the Gospel again, and I was pointed to Zephaniah 3:17: “The Lord your God is with you, he is a mighty warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you, in His love He will no longer rebuke you but will rejoice over you with singing.” I have a mighty Savior. He loves me and is with me. He does not rebuke me for my failings, but instead he takes delight in me. I had always known that I couldn’t measure up. What I didn’t know was that I didn’t have to. My mighty Savior took the punishment for all my sin and failings, and He loves me still. I don’t have to do anything to earn his approval or favor. He isn’t interested in how good I can be. I
was and still am overwhelmed by His grace. This Savior was one I wanted to know, and from then forward, I have been pursuing Him.

As I have fallen deeper in love with Jesus and who He is I want to be more and more like Him. I have slowly learned what it means to surrender my life to Him. I haven’t had to learn on my own. God has given me community of friends who have walked alongside me, showing me what it means to love Jesus and seek His will for my life. I am still learning what it means to relinquish control of my life and to be open to God’s will and plans for me. The plans He has for me are greater and so much wilder than anything I could dream of or hope for.

— Amberlee Rust, Baptized March 2018
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