Hey friends! I hope you’re having a great week! Spring is kind-of (?) coming out around here, so that’s exciting. I’m a first-time gardener, and my budding tulips are making me super happy!
I’m excited about this third post in my Vulnerability series, because it’s the part of the story that gives me teary-eyes on the regular. If you’re new, I’d love for you to start from the beginning of the series so you get the full account of God’s goodness in my past.
Part 1- The “V” Word
Part 2- BEFORE
Part 2 ended with myself in a pretty dark, desperate time of my life. The time of my life where I hit rock bottom. Praise God that wasn’t the end!
So my first semester of college was ending, and I was deeply confused by the person I had turned into. I was having fun, but I wasn’t fulfilled. I felt shame for my new lifestyle, but I didn’t know how to change anything.
Before Christmas break I learned that my roommate and best college friend would be transferring to a different school. This left me with a lot of unknowns as I drove home for break, but I don’t remember being completely torn up about the situation. Looking back, I can see God using this break at home as a time of refreshment. I didn’t tell my family about my new lifestyle, but being away from my new college environment was a healthy break that I needed. God knew I needed some time to be around my previous friends and my family who loved me best. I was still apprehensive to talk to God and was constantly struggling with guilt and shame, but God was so good to take me home to my roots for a good month.
When I headed back up to K-State in January I still didn’t have a roommate and had no clue what this semester was going to look like socially. One day I was in my room, unpacking with the door open to the hallway. A couple of girls that lived a few doors down stopped by to say hi and let me know that I could always come hangout with them if I ever wanted to. Little did I know these girls would become some of my best friends, and I was going to practically live in their room for the rest of the semester.
Hannah and Alyssa were so sweet to invite me into their lives, and because of that brave act, I got to see up close what it looked like to follow Jesus on a day-to-day basis. These girls loved the Lord, and they loved Him every single moment of their lives. Not just on Sundays or at church camp, but in every moment. They made studying God’s Word a priority and they loved me so incredibly well. They ended up introducing me to an amazing group of girls. These girls were my sisters throughout college and I can’t imagine those next few years without them!
So back to Hannah and Alyssa. I loved spending time with them and I learned so much from them, but shame and guilt were still deep in my heart. I couldn’t let go of the things I had done. I couldn’t let go of the feeling that God was mad at me or disappointed in who I was. Why would He want to talk to me? Why would He want me to live for Him? I had really messed up.
During this time of life I also became best friends with two girls in my sorority, Lauren and Sarah. These ladies also loved Jesus and showed me what it looked like to follow Him. One late night, we were driving to a sorority event that was out of town, and Lauren and Sarah were in the front of the car talking about the goodness of God. I don’t remember the specifics, but I do remember sitting in the back, listening to every word but keeping my own mouth shut.
At some point on that car ride, I heard Jesus say to me “Nicole, I still love you. I have always loved you.”
Jesus, the man who knew every detail of my life, made it a point to let me know He still loved me.
He still loved me, the girl who had completely rejected him for months on end.
The girl who had lived for herself and for pleasing those around her.
The girl who had been wearing guilt around like a second skin.
This is the girl whom He loved.
This was the moment where I finally understood what grace was. Yes, I knew that Jesus had died on a cross for my sins, but I finally understood how crappy and disgusting my sins were. I finally understood how much Jesus carried to the cross for ME. He knew the sins I would commit, and He died for me anyway.
I finally understood how valuable I was to my Creator.
I am so thankful for the way Jesus heavily pursued me that second semester of college. His fingerprints are in all the little details from the friends who left to the sorority I pledged to the hallway I lived on. He knew exactly what I needed and drew me closer and closer to His heart.
PRAISE GOD for grace and new life. I will never fully understand the true depth of grace, but I’m so thankful for the slice of it I’ve been able to experience.
As you read this part of my story, did it bring back memories of God’s goodness in your own life? All of our stories are beautiful, no matter how simple or complicated they may seem. I’d love to hear how you came to understand grace! Comment below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for reading Part 3 of my story, and I can’t wait to come back and share what life looks like now as a follower of Jesus. 🙂