Keven, 19, Puerto Rico
When I was seven, my mom died in a plane crash. I was supposed to be on the flight, but my parents had recently separated and it was my dad’s weekend. Had God not orchestrated for me to stay with my dad, I would be dead.
In the aftermath, I mourned the loss; but because of the many issues in our family, I couldn’t grieve in a healthy way. Then, God entered. I’d never been exposed to any sort of faith at home, but in middle school, I met a woman who was on fire for Jesus.
Her passion showed me that there was more to Christianity than the rules and doctrine I’d heard at school. She had a deep love for God — and I wanted that for myself.
Alone in my bedroom, I Googled “How can I be saved?” I then got down on my knees and asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. After that, I just kept seeking Him. I slowly developed my own passion and hunger for God, but because I relied on my own strength, I kept falling into sin. Especially porn. I was a “perfect” Christian on the surface, but behind closed doors, I was in chains.
Things worsened in high school, when I developed obsessive-compulsive disorder. I doubted my salvation on a daily basis and completed all sorts of weird rituals to “get God’s approval.” On my worst days, I tried to “get saved” up to five times a day. I eventually also developed depression and severe anxiety. I was a mess…but God stayed with me.
When I finally looked for help, God brought healing. He forced me to confront the pain of my mother’s death and for first time, I truly grieved. I realized that I’d been desperately trying to get rid of the symptoms of my trauma, but God was trying to tend to the root. He didn’t want to deal with my mask — He wanted to heal me! Nothing could save me but Christ alone and He was more than enough. When I realized this and finally surrendered, I found lasting freedom.
Though temptations still come, I’m stronger than I was. But even when I fall, I turn right back to Him. It’s tempting to get so discouraged and distracted by sin that we take our eyes off Jesus, but that only pulls us deeper. No matter what we do, the Lord is there. Our God is faithful!