My story starts in a world of dissidence. My childhood was darker than most, and I grew up thinking that God was like a celebrity everyone heard of, but know one really knew. Church was there to make my mom feel like she was doing the right thing, and to occupy some time over the summers. But even that didn't last long. The few times I was invited to a church with a friend, it was never about introducing me to who God is, it was about getting me to go to church for the sake of me going to church. Faith was not a priority for me, self-success was.
Skip forward to me moving to Cleveland, TN from Vero Beach, Florida. I'm a 21 year old who moved away from my family and tried to start my own life, in a city that has a culture I'd never witnessed. It was a bit of a blur until I started working at Starbucks, and that's where I began to make some true life-long friends. Friends who challenged my thought processes and my reservations. It took me some time to get comfortable enough to express my curiosities, about Jesus and what He meant to them. The answers of genuine passion and adoration struck me, but I wasn't ready for any type of action.
There came a point where my life began to decline and bottom out. My dad was in the hospital constantly, my living situation was struggling, I'd graduated college and had little to show for it, and I was exhausted. I knew I needed more, I needed purpose and change.
Throughout all of this, I had met Todd through Starbucks and for some reason he was genuinely interested in my life, and always cared about what I had to say. A couple friends served at Candies Creek City Church and through to the transition to Public Church, and had nothing but good things to say about Todd. As my curiosity and needs grew, I realized that Todd had my respect, and that was enough for me to branch out of my norm and take a chance.
The series they were on was called #RelationshipGoals, which was real and interesting enough to keep me coming back. Each service seemed to have something I could learn from and apply to my everyday life, but I got hooked when we started a series called Authenic, that talked about being real, genuine, and vulnerable with others. I realized I was forcing myself to walk through the world alone when I was staring straight at the truth, that I am not alone. I began to read the gospels and really meet Jesus for myself, slowly but surely realizing that He was always waiting for me, and at that point I was ready. I was saved at the 5:30, at the beginning of summer 2017.
Soon after, I began serving on the production team and began to meet some really cool people that have since become great examples of how to find joy in the journey and pour out for others. Opening my heart to Jesus lead to conversations and growth in friendships that I could never have imagined, and as my faith grew my need for others to know just how good and sovereign God is grew too. Just to be able to show people this through my actions is an amazing gift. The idea of baptism started as I began studying Romans, because I was so excited to know that this was His plan from the very beginning, and when I decided to come to Unified it just sealed the deal. I am so unbelievably thankful for the last year and four months of my life, and even more thankful for the fact that this is only the beginning of the most beautiful relationship there is. (Quote of the day? Romans 8:38-39)