Stephanie Behnke

Berlin, Germany

Wow, I have never heard that before in my life!

I entered college as a very scared and broken person.  I felt like I was starting from scratch. I was in a new town. I didn’t have any grades as a cushion to say that my performance was good or not.  I didn’t have people to support me like I did when I was in high school, so I was having trouble making friends.  I felt really down and depressed.  

One of the girls who lived in my dorm at the time, she sensed my pain and my anxiety, so she invited me to a weekend getaway with some other Christians.  I thought, “Ok, that sounds really fun.  What do people do when they are sad? They go to God.  And then when my life feels like it is more put together I can run away from God and just go my own way.”  Some background from my life- I was raised in a home where I had heard that Jesus died for my sins (the things we do wrong in our life), but I never understood why Jesus had to die. When I was at this weekend getaway I heard for the first time that Jesus died because, it says in the Bible, that there is a death penalty for our sin.  Jesus was able to pay that penalty because He is God, because He lived a perfect life and because He rose from the dead.  I thought “Wow, I have never heard that before in my life!”  At the same time, I wanted more information.  I wanted to know how this information impacted my life.

While I was still on this weekend away, I was feeling down and a little bit depressed.  I was talking to some of the women who were there with me and I just started crying- mostly about what my life had been like my first few weeks in college.  The women really cared about my story, really cared about what pain and hurt I was experiencing.  It was the first time since I had entered college that I felt like I wasn’t a bummer, like I wasn’t dragging people down.  They really cared about me and made me wonder “What is it about their relationship with each other and with God that sets them apart and makes them different?” A few weeks later, as I was continuing to wrestle with these questions about who God is, I was thinking “If Jesus is who He says He is, then I want to follow Him with my life.” That’s when I decided to follow God, when I decided to follow Jesus with my life.

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