Growing up things were easy for me. School, music, dance, family. As I was praised for being "good" and good at things, I wanted to remain "good". I found success in academics and other things throughout my school years. But something got added to my list of success near the beginning of High School. I quickly realized that although getting good grades and being in clubs had made me cool in school before, High School was different. If I wanted to hang with the cool kids, then I needed to do what they did: PARTY. I kept the grades and the clubs and the activities but I added partying. And I felt cool.
I left for college and continued on in the same pursuits. I found my significance in academics, however partying had become a huge part of my lifestyle. As I juggled these two parts of my life, I headed further into darkness and made more and more irresponsible decisions.
A friend saw my life headed in a destructive direction and invited me to a meeting on campus where they discussed Jesus and the life He led. I began hearing that Jesus had lived a perfect life and died as a payment for sin, and then defeated death 3 days later to give eternal life to any who might believe. After two years of studying the Bible and hearing about the life of Jesus Christ, I realized that though I agreed it was TRUTH that Jesus had died to pay for sin and reconcile me to God, I'd never accepted it for myself. It was easy for me to see that I was not perfect. That I was not reconciled to God. That I did not experience the joy and peace that the Bible said Christ-followers could experience. So one day, I sat down on a bench in the middle of campus and told God that though I'd come to believe that I had a need to be reconciled to Him, I'd never accepted Jesus' death and resurrection as MY OWN means for that reconciliation. It was a simple conversation, but that was the truth that it expressed. That day, Jesus became Lord of my life and with my invitation began to transform me. I no longer looked to academic success to provide significance. God changed the desires I had to be cool and fit in. He led me from a life of partying and poor choices to a life of joy and peace and purity and abundance. It's been nearly 15 years since I sat on that bench. I can hardly recognize the Jessica that sat there. "Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come." 2 Corinthians 5:17 I've truly been made new by Christ.
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