I was raised in a church community. I was taught about Scripture and God and what a relationship with Him could mean for me. I chose to be confirmed and believed that was all that was needed to have a relationship with Christ.

In the years that followed my confirmation, I was certain that everything in my relationship with Christ was great, life was great!

However, by the end of my teens life began to have hardships. I began to feel loss, loss of my father, loss of my health, loss of the control that I thought I had over my life. It was in the midst of these hardships and the years that followed that I began to feel God drawing me close. He truly took those moments to work in my heart and help me to truly understand His grace and love.

I remember a moment with a friend from college. She said to me, “Ellie, I think that you yearn for paradise in a way that I don’t.” That moment hit me hard. I really began to see how my relationship with Christ had grown and deepened.

In the deepest midst of my suffering, after my father passed, and when I found myself at the mercy of a chronic incurable disease it was always my mom at my side. She pushed me into confronting my grief and healing the anger in my heart. And in the years where I spent weeks at a time in the hospital she was there praying over me. There was one particular time when the hospital staff could not give me an IV. They had tried more than 15 times. My mom finally grabbed my hands and began praying over my hands asking for God to make my veins “fluffy.” When the phlebotomist came in, she got a vein on the back of my hand with no problem. God was good and ever present, and my mom was a tangible reminder of that for me.

In the years since I began to feel Christ pulling me close I have seen significant changes. I have begun to work on helping others experience the same closeness that I am privileged to know. I have gone on a international mission trip and begun working with Grace Students. I know that I am not defined by the world around me, but by the love of the Father who made me and I want to share that love with everyone that I possibly can.

The past two years I have been blessed, I have been in remission. In that time I have found comfort in Psalms 139:14 “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Despite the difficulties I have experienced I know that God intentionally made me who I am. He made me with purpose, and as I walk the road laid before me I know that any road I walk leads me to that purpose. I am getting baptized in order to publicly declare that Jesus is my Lord and Savior. Any road I walk or action I take is made with intention to draw me closer to Him, to be His servant in all that I do.

–Ellie Philmon, Baptized September 2018
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