Satan didn’t like that I had dedicated my whole being to living for God’s glory. I didn’t know what true spiritual warfare felt like until the semester after Urbana 12. Day after day, pain and hardship rushed into my life.
School work and my ambitious extracurricular life started to feel like too much, leaving me with barely enough energy to read God’s Word and pray. Then my grandfather passed away, which hit me especially hard because I don’t believe he was a follower of Jesus. I felt suffocated and alone; my whole spirit was crushed from the pain.
In my agony I cried out to God, though. And he brought me through all of it, teaching me that I had to place my trust in him, and that, as the Author and Creator of this world, he knows what is right.
Holding On to Sin
That wasn’t all, though. As the semester continued, I had arguments with my parents, leaving me in tears every night. I realized that I was sexually attracted to my best friend, who’s the same gender as me. I couldn’t go a day without breaking down in the hallways and feeling completely crushed. And I couldn’t understand why things were so hard, since I was doing God’s work. There were victories, but they were never independent from struggles and failures. I felt so alone, unable to share my problems with anyone.
And then recently I gave in to my idol of lust. I hate that it happened, but after a series of poor decisions, I found myself pushed against a bed, without the will to stop a guy from kissing me. To make matters worse, the girl I was attracted to and this guy who I lusted for were the very ones I held the GIGs with. I was a mess, and still am a mess.
But that’s my point. Deciding to live for God is easy, but doing so continuously is hard. Until the day we enter heaven, we will never be perfect. I want to be honest about my struggles, because deep inside, this is me and this is you. The spiritual lows are as real as the highs.
Living Under Forgiveness and Grace
Through my sins, God has put me to another test. “What is more important to you,” I sensed him asking, “me or your idols?” My answer was maybe one of the hardest decisions I’ll ever make. After coming before the Lord and laying my sins in front of him, I decided that I was willing to give up some of my most precious friendships and interactions so that I can be the pure and godly woman of God that he wants me to be.
My story is really a story of God’s greatness. He has loved and redeemed me. Through all of my struggles and inadequacies, he has been there, ready to forgive me as soon as I repent.
What’s Your Story?
Do you feel like you’ve messed up one too many times since Urbana, or before? Do you feel like God could never use you? Remember the men and women he chose to use. Abraham, Moses, David—a coward, a murderer, and an adulterer (to name a few). When we come to the end of our strength, that’s when God’s power begins working. He has a purpose through the pain. Our failures can make us more humble, more teachable, and more ready to hear God’s voice convicting us of sin.
The question is, are you willing to really put your faith and trust in God? To surrender to him? That’s how you’ll learn true happiness and love—through him. I believe in that, and am therefore never giving up. I’m running the race because Jesus is worth it.
This week at the blog, just over six months since close to 16,000 of us gathered in St. Louis, we’re telling stories from Urbana 12. How did God speak there? What has he done in these past six months? What have you learned? How are you different?
The stories we’re sharing offer a range of experiences—both hard struggles and deep joy. We hope they encourage you to reflect on your own Urbana experience, and to continue to tell others the story of God’s work in you.
The author is a second-year student who loves reading, dancing, longboarding, and crafting. Most importantly, she is a child of God who is enraptured by his crazy love. Her mission is to glorify him in all that she does.
Have the months since Urbana been hard for you? Check out these post-Urbana resources to help you on your journey.