Jake Tillman's Story - A Typical American Bible Belt Kid
I grew up in a "Christian" home. My parents took my siblings and myself to church but I never understood the importance of it all and we definitely did not talk about it as a family. I grew up in the "Bible Belt" of America. "Everyone believed in God," I thought. It is simply something you do. I grew up with a completey improper view of Christ and myself. Also, I grew up lacking confidence in myself and because of that I would often wear different masks for different groups of people. I loved the approval of others. I jumped from mask to mask so often that it caused a lot of confusion in my mind and soul. Looking back, I had no identity and that was what I was wrestling with. The wrestling showed itself as anger and mainly towards my family. I ruined a lot of family dynamic growing up and to be frank was a pain in the ass. I acted that way until I was seventeen. At seventeen, I went on a mission tirp with my church to Mexico. I lacked complete understanding but something happened while I was there. All I knew was that there is something more to God and it requires all of me, my whole life. At that point, I put my trust in Christ. I did my best to live for Him. At the same, I did not fully understand the Gospel. While, I was saved. I still did fully comprehend Christ's love for me. I put on the "good Christian kid/role model" mask. Again, I loved the praises I received from parents and those older than me. When I went to college, I found myself in dark place because that praise did not follow me to college. I was at a point to make my faith truly my own and I struggled for my first year of college trying to figure it out. I finally got plugged into a bible study with a campus ministry called Cru. There, I heard and understood the Gospel clearly for the first time. Our leader, Mike, taught on Luke 7 where the woman washes Jesus's feet with her tears, how she wipes them with her hair and pours perfume over them. It was then that I understood my depravity and desperate need for Jesus's love and forgiveness. From that point, it has been nothing but slow sanctification. It has not been easy but Jesus has not stopped working in my heart. I could go on and on about His great love but all I know is that I would be a much different if he had not intervened in my life.