I grew up in a devout Christian home. When I was 6 years old, I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart. Even though I trusted that Jesus Christ was the son of God, I believed God to be a tyrant. I also have a speech impediment that started when I was 6 years old. Throughout my childhood I endured bullying and rejection that contributed to a low self-esteem. I often questioned God in anger, failing to understand how He could let someone He loved suffer so much. I pleaded with him every year to take my speech impediment away to no avail. I would go to church on Sunday and hear how God loves us, but I felt like the rest of the week my experience proved differently.

I lived with one foot in the world and one foot in the church until I stopped going to church in high school. Starting to drink in college, I tried to find satisfaction in idols the culture worships: acceptance, comfort, power. These idols didn’t satisfy.

Remembering my upbringing, I decided to check out a Bible study from Cru on my college campus. I only went twice, but I met my best friend in that study. He asked me to get lunch weekly and talk about the Bible, which I reluctantly did. We soon became great friends, and he joyously fielded my raw, fiery questions about God and His role in our suffering. This friend helped me see that suffering was never part of God’s plan, but instead how God first had a fulfilling relationship with Adam and Eve before they turned against Him.

Although this was great head knowledge for me, my heart was still wounded from my childhood of feeling like God rejected me most in my time of need. After graduating from college, I struggled to find a professional job. I travelled around the country and worked random jobs. In 2015 I fell into a depression. I was unable to do anything except work part-time and sleep the rest of the day. I had no hope for any sort of future. One day I remember sitting in my townhouse and saying to myself, “Well, you haven’t tried the Bible yet.”

I happened to open to Job, and I started reading. It almost instantly felt like that book was written for me. It felt like a personal letter from God to me. After this encounter, God started to change my heart in our time together, and I was hooked. I was overjoyed with this new hope for living. I think in this moment God became more loving and real to me. He comforted my heart, and this showed me an important part of His character.

Since that encounter with Christ, He has become everything to me. I have been seeking Him and growing with Him daily. Our relationship has shown me that there’s nothing else on this Earth as good as Him. Life is still rocky at many points, but God remains the same.

Today I’m deciding to get baptized because Jesus calls us to be baptized. I’ve decided to make Grace Community Church my church, and I think baptism is an important declaration to the world of what you believe in.

— Clay Girard, Baptized November 2019

If you’re interested in getting baptized at Grace, click here to learn more and sign up for our next Baptism Workshop.

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