Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Year(s) (01/20/11)
TITLE: Lost & Found
By Candace Meiler
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Though my parents divorced when I was sixteen, I never felt cheated. I knew they both loved me and I didn’t respond to their divorce as some rebellious teenagers do. I never got in a lot of trouble, mostly because my mom knew everyone and I knew I’d get caught. For that reason, I always hated the town I grew up in. It was small and boring and by the time I graduated from high school, I was ready to move on, to chase my dreams. So when I chose a college, I picked a small university in a small city—four hours away.
It was never my intention to go to college to major in Party 101, but I ended up at one of the main bars that first night. I began drinking two to three nights per week like it was something common for me. And so it continued my entire first year of college. I was caught in the moment, living for myself with no concern for how my actions would affect me, let alone anyone else. But all of that changed my sophomore year.
I started dating a guy and the relationship quickly became physical, and after only a month, the perfect little world I had created for myself came crashing down around me. I was nineteen years old, single, and pregnant by a guy I hardly knew. Life was no longer about me and never would be again. All I could think about was what I was losing.
Five months into my pregnancy, I had reached a breaking point. I was an emotional wreck and certain that God had it out for me. I was at church with my mom, and I couldn’t tell you anything about the sermon except what I knew the pastor was saying to me. His voice was soft, non-threatening. “Jesus knows your heart, but you have to surrender your life to Him before He can help you. Your burden is heavy, but His is light. Come to Him and He will give you rest. Won’t you give your life to Him today?”
Rest. God could give me rest? I was so tired of carrying the load. My burden was so heavy. And God wanted to take it. But I didn’t deserve it. All of it was too much to fathom.
That night, I knelt at the altar of God. So much of my life was selfish and it made me sick. God was showing me that my next heartbeat, my next breath, was up to Him and Him alone. I was so focused on myself that I hadn’t even taken the time to consider the life of the innocent child growing inside of me; to consider what her life was going to be like. God was about sacrifice. He gave His Son willingly to save us from our sins. He didn’t want to. But we needed a Savior. God was about giving up what He wanted and doing what was best for us, His children. I asked God to forgive me and make me a new person. I asked Him to make me the mom I was supposed to be.
I stood up from the altar that night a new person. Nothing was different about my circumstances, but I was filled with hope I’d never experienced before. I knew that my life wasn’t going to be easy, but, most of all, I knew that God was leading me on this journey and I’d never face anything alone.
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