Emily Ogle

I grew up in church but realize now I was never authentically following God. My knowledge of God was only based in other opinions instead of researching myself. Now there were still moments in my life where I truly did experience God’s presence. But every time I “got saved” or “confessed my love for Him” was always out of either feeling obligated, fearful, or ridden with guilt. I realize now I never fully chose Him or really wanted to honestly. I wouldn’t admit it but a part of me was angry at Him. Deep down I was bitter with the cards I had been dealt. If God really loved me why would He put me in a broken home and allow me to be in a position to experience immense pain? With having that unstable foundation on top of all the pain in my life I refused to confront, I stopped going to church when I turned 18. 

I believed in God but I didn’t see what He had to do with me or why it mattered. To me nothing really mattered. I had struggled with depression and anxiety most of my life due to the traumatic events I experienced. My mental health was at its worst between the ages of 16-22. I would go days without sleeping and developed a lot of bad habits of coping. I had episodes of anger which I would take out on myself through self-harm. Random panic attacks became a daily thing. It was hard for me to see why life mattered and honestly I was tired of having to live it. I truly got to my lowest point. And I was good at hiding it all, pretending I was okay. 

Being in the place I am now I can see how God was working in my life even then. He was always in the back of my mind speaking against all of the confusing negative thoughts. I just didn’t realize it was Him. The beginning of 2017 was when that voice started getting louder. In the months to come it felt like a 24/7 war was going on in my head. It had always been happening but now I was consciously aware of it. I had always ignored God’s voice but it was becoming so loud that I couldn’t anymore.  Late in September 2017, I fully and authentically surrendered my life to God and have chosen Him every day since. 

The months that followed were both amazing and more challenging than ever. I still struggle and still have bad days of course. But I feel myself more at peace every day. Thoughts of anxiety and depression are fleeting instead of having constant residence in my mind. I hear God’s voice more and more clearly. Not too long ago, He put it on my heart to be baptized and make a public declaration of my choice to follow Him. I’ve been baptized before but it was always out of the feeling of obligation. But God has now put an overwhelming desire for me to do this out of authentic desire and obedience to Him.