so I grew up in a Christian home, and for me going to church was kind of something we just did every Sunday and was more of a routine. I didn’t really understand what it meant to have a true relationship with God and didn’t believe I was a bad person. I knew all the Bible stories and all the “right” things to say, and at the time I felt like I was pretty good compared to other people.
in my senior year of high school, my older sister moved home from college. God had grown her a lot spiritually during her undergrad, and when she moved back she felt like our home church’s preaching wasn’t very solid. she started looking for another church and found one called cornerstone bible church in fullerton/garden grove and brought our family out. we decided to start going there, and that’s where I feel like I first heard the gospel truly preached in its entirety. the pastor’s messages were always very gospel-centered and emphasized sins of the heart. but also during that year, I was starting to have doubts about Christianity and questioned whether I truly believed in God, and if I did, if it was because my parents raised me in this environment and I was just comfortable with it.
those doubts carried over into college, but I started looking for Christian fellowships and churches anyway because I knew it was the “right” thing to do. my heart wasn’t really into it though, and I wasn’t very consistent with pursing fellowships and churches. after a while, I just became really apathetic and stopped going to church starting my second year of college, but would go with my parents when I went home. I began pursuing my own desires and was focused on seeking affirmation and approval from others in a lot of ways, and I feel like my self-seeking focus was destructive in my relationships with others. I always found that no matter how much I sought those things, I was never really satisfied and ended up being hurt, or hurting others. I lost some really good childhood friends and didn’t quite understand what was going on at the time or why it was happening.
God put some really awesome people in my life during that time, including a college friend who I’d met my freshman year at AACF. she ministered and reached out to me in a lot of ways. my older sister was also really encouraging and answered lots of questions I had about God and Christianity in general. starting my junior year, I started going to church again more regularly and slowly over time, I feel like God softened my heart to show me the wretchedness of my heart and how sinful I really was. it was the first time I’d really been convicted of my sins, and that no matter how hard I tried I would never meet God’s standard of holiness. I’m not exactly sure when I became a Christian, but over a period of time, God changed my heart attitude of how I perceived sin in light of a holy and just God. He also gave me clarity as to why certain things happened during my first two years of college and showed me that pursuing my own kingdom and worldly desires would never bring true satisfaction, and that only through Christ can I truly be satisfied.