My story starts off in the church. I was born in Iowa City, Iowa and grew up in the church there. All of my friends were made at church since I was really shy as a child. I moved to Winston-Salem, North Carolina when I was around 4 years old. We moved into a small blue house on Miller Street and started attending Ardmore Baptist Church. I didn’t know many people and mainly just followed my mother around, hiding behind her legs if a stranger approached me. On days that my mom had to work the night shift at the hospital, my sister would wheel me in my stroller down the street to church in the mornings. Despite the fact that I hadn’t really made any friends in the church, my mother signed me up for every VBS and Passport Camp in attempts to help break me out of my shell. I didn’t particularly like going to church but I didn’t particularly hate it either. It just seemed like a task to be completed every Sunday morning. But things changed in the 4th grade. A new girl moved to Ardmore. She was talkative, funny, and very tall. We clicked instantly and boy, were we chatty. Sunday school teachers will always remember the two girls who could not shut their mouths. I was still rather shy even though I had found my best friend for life.
That all changed once I became part of the youth group. The youth group opened up many new people and experiences. This was where I finally started to break out of my shell and make new friends and voice my opinion. Church became a place where I could be comfortable with the new family I had around me and I looked forward to every single Sunday. Even though this was all very great, my relationship with God hadn’t really changed at all. Church was more of a place to socialize rather than a place to worship. After going to a few retreats, I started to feel more of a connection with God. I started to really listen during the sermons to see what I could learn. When I went to BigStuf for the first time, I really felt God calling out to me to take the next big step in my faith, but there was something holding me back. That something was fear. I was too scared to stand up in front of everybody and voice my faith in Christ. I talked to my best friend and realized she had felt the same way. After this, we began to talk more about our faith with each other. This year, at D’Now God gave me the final push I needed to finally give my life to Christ. I decided to make my profession of faith on the second night of D’Now and the next morning I stood in front of the congregation with my best friends at my side. I could not be more thrilled to finally have made my decision and to start my new life with my brothers and sisters in Christ. There are many influential people in the church that helped me make my decision and shaped me into the person I am today, from friends, Sunday School teachers, and all of the amazing ministers. Thank you for the impact you have made in my life!