Before I decided to truly let Jesus lead my life, I was ruled by my sinful heart and desires. Though raised in a Christian home, I only followed the guidelines outwardly, treating the “rules” more as a point of superiority than an act of obedient love to God. I was achievement-oriented, driven by fear, prideful, and isolated.

Through my early life and adulthood I oscillated between feeling I was doing pretty well and a deep sense that something was wrong with me that I could not ever fix. After I moved across the country upon graduating college, this sense intensified.

Without ever having a relationship with God, I was frustrated that I did not see His work in my life like I saw it in my fellow church-goers and roommates. I started leaning on sin, figured His help just wasn’t for me, and sank into a season of deep depression. I was unable to work, to laugh, to do anything.

Looking back, I see what God was doing here – breaking my attachment to my pride. I quit my job, moved back home, and stopped being myself altogether. I felt no reason to wake up in the morning and could not see how my life would ever straighten out after so much failure.

But slowly a light appeared. I felt there was nothing to live for – unless, there was a way to escape the prison of self. I gradually started reading in the mornings again, a habit I had dropped months prior. The moment I began to understand what God’s grace is came while reading some lines by poet TS Eliot:

The release from action and suffering, release from the inner
And the outer compulsion, yet surrounded
By a grace of sense, a white light still and moving.

I cannot explain this moment any more than all my searching somehow clicked. I wasn’t stuck here, and there was not cause for total despair because God has love and purpose for us. Jesus loves us and He does not leave us to wither in our sins. It is up to us to love and worship Him, not to rule ourselves and the world. What a relief! From this point onward, I made a commitment to trust God with the direction of my life, all my decisions, and actions.

Change did not happen all at once, but it has mostly been evident in my relationships. It has required prayer, determination and study of the Bible, but I am already less of my old self and more of what I believe to be Jesus’s vision of me. In the old days, I had difficulty being vulnerable enough to have meaningful relationships. I always felt like the odd one out in Bible studies and youth groups. This was just another expression of my pride, though. I am now able to really engage in church – joining and sticking with a small group, as well as being involved in several mentoring programs at Grace. I take this outward sign of humility as all due to Christ’s work in me. I never would have been able to do this before. And the future is bright! There is so much still to learn and grow through. In light of this, I have decided to be baptized to outwardly demonstrate this decision to give my life to Christ and follow God’s will for it.

— Laura Asher, Baptized September 2018
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