This post is to give you some background information on who I am. It will be long and wordy, as I am not the best person to make my words short and sweet, but I hope you take the time to read all of it. I believe that through this particular post, the others that follow will be clearer.
First, the "not-so-important" facts:
- My name is Laura
- I am 23 years old
- I was born and raised in Pascagoula, MS.
- I graduated from Mississippi College in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education (Endorsements in Elementary Education K-6th, Social Studies 7th-12th, and English 7th-12th)
- I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters- all who are married with beautiful children (7 nieces and nephews total)
- I am currently the 2nd Grade Teacher at Benedict Day School.
- I have two amazing parents (Kenny and Debbie) and a set of irreplaceable grandparents (Mawmaw and Pawpaw)
I was 8 years old when I was saved. By "saved" I mean I realized I was a sinner, I verbally confessed my sinfulness to God, and I knew that I needed His son Jesus to rescue me from myself and then lead my life. I can't say that I knew exactly who Jesus was at the time, but I was aware that I was lost without Him. I also knew I was bound to an eternity in hell without His saving grace.
To give you some additional background information, trying to be short and sweet here, I did not grow up going to church regularly and learning all of your traditional bible stories. We went to church on and off, and wound up staying on the "off" side for a long time. Then when I was twelve, my sister and I began going to Arlington Heights Baptist Church. Not long after that, my parents and grandparents began doing the same.
Moving on. It wasn't until I was twelve years old that I began understanding that my salvation through Jesus was a relationship with Him. A man, Nathan, came to speak to our youth group one night. After talking with him for a little while and asking him very serious questions about the Christian walk, he explained to me that my walk with the Lord is done by faith (Romans 1: 17, Habakkuk 2:4, Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 10:38). He also explained that my faith is not based on my emotions, something I am still learning even now.
Since then, my walk with the Lord has been anything but perfect. I went through the whole "party" scene in high school. I've been in some dumb dating relationships. I have some real scars and baggage that I allow to hinder me more often than I'd care to admit. I've attempted denying God and His plans for my life. I've chosen sin over Jesus and lies over truth. I've struggled with loving those God has called me to love. I've even hated those who have done me wrong. I've also battled the desire to cling to hatred for my fellow "Christian" brothers and sisters. When I was 19, I started to really question why I believed what I "believed." I even decided to write about it in a note on my facebook page. Even now, I have to consciously check myself. Do I believe this (whatever it may be) because God said it in His word and/or revealed it to me through His Holy Spirit? Or am I claiming this to be true because some awesome Christian speaker/preacher said it?
Anyways, all that to say this: I know beyond any inkling of doubt that God has sovereignly chosen me to walk in His path that He laid out for me, even before I was born. Looking back now, I can see that His hand has been over every inch of my life. Every wrong decision I have made has been redirected by Him for good. When I am weak, He is strong. When I fall, He picks me up- sometimes later than sooner. When I doubt, He pulls me along- always faithful, never changing. When I fail Him, He corrects my steps- sometimes after He allows me to suffer the consequences of my decisions first. God knows me better than I could ever know myself. On my emotional days, during my crazy mood swings, in my time of need, when I am on my "best" behavior, when I allow fear to take over, the days I don't shower and look like anything but the prettiest human being to ever walk the face of the earth, and even when I have put on the full armor of God and am walking with Him step-by-step, His love is constant.
I am a sinner saved by grace. I want my life to count. I refuse to waste what I am on worldly success and dreams. What I desire more than anything is this: at the end of my life, I want to know that I did everything humanly possible to serve the Lord and serve Him well. When I look back on my life, I want to see that I was a catalyst in God's ultimate plan.