Sayler, 17, Tennessee, USA
When I was 13, my mom had an affair that destroyed my parents’ marriage. My mom and I were close, so her betrayal crushed me. I was furious and in serious pain, so when my dad moved out, I went with him.
My pain gradually developed into a deep depression. In an attempt to escape the pain, I tried to numb myself to my circumstances and the people around me. But, the pain grew. I battled suicidal thoughts. I found myself in such a dark mental and emotional place and I worried that I would be stuck there forever.
It was during this time that my dad began working as a security guard at a local church. A few months after he started, he invited me to join him at service. I’d never been to church before, so I was pretty skeptical. I knew I was suffering, but I thought church was the last thing I needed. Plus, I was a really shy kid; I was super self-conscious and simply did not know how to talk to people, so I didn’t. Churches, which are very social spaces, were intimidating.
But, I went. And I will never forget how I felt the first time I walked through those church doors. I immediately knew that there was something different about the place — and that difference was God’s presence. Without a doubt, the Holy Spirit was there. So, I kept going.
It didn’t take long for me to recognize the truth of the Gospel. Jesus saved all of us from sin and death on the Cross and He also saved me from my own, earthly misery. Before I visited that church, I was suicidal, depressed, and purposeless. I just didn’t think there was any point in living. But when I met Christ, His overwhelming love washed away those thoughts. He renewed my mind!
A year later, I got baptized. It was an easy choice. I knew that I wanted to give my life to Christ, because of all He had done for me. I was and am certain that God is really working in my life. I’m a completely different person; as Scripture reads, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). That is the truth. God has even healed me of my personal insecurities!
I’m now 17, confident in who I am in Christ, talkative, and most importantly, following Jesus.