Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Share Your Story: Chloe

I'm so excited to get started back up with our Share Your Story series.  We start back up with a sweet, sweet young woman, Chloe.  I can't wait for you to get to know her!

Tell us a little about yourself-Before I can get too deep into my story, you should know a little more about me. The past 18 years I have grown up in the great city of Cary, North Carolina with my loving parents, an older brother, and an older sister up until this past fall when I began my first year of college at UNC Asheville.

When did you first experience God and become a Christian?-When I was younger, faith and God were not really a big part of my life and I knew very little about either. However, in about fourth grade my good friend Allison often invited me to her church Salem Baptist for GA’s and Sunday school. Soon after, I got really involved with the youth group, which immediately changed my life. I felt so welcomed by everyone, like they actually wanted me there, which encouraged me to attend youth trips and meet more people. It quickly began to feel like I was part of an incredible family and something bigger than myself. On one trip in particular I realized I didn’t really have a personal relationship with Christ and that I wanted that more than anything. That night, my sister and I both gave our lives to Christ and we both later got baptized along with my mother. Having an amazing youth group to back me up, encourage me, and lead me the right direction was an awesome blessing for a new believer like me. This group of students over the years really helped me define what I believe and grow immensely in my faith. Not only that, but it’s also given me every single one of my best, life-long friends and given me the greatest memories of my teen years. I really cannot express how much this youth group means to me and how much the students and especially the leaders changed my life.



Have you ever faced a big future decision or walked through a valley regarding your faith?-I could never have dreamed of having the life God blessed me with. And I never could imagine having to leave it behind either. But, all good things must end, right? That was my battle senior year. I started to realize that I was soon going to have to face the real world, leave my beloved family, town, and church family behind, and I was going to have to be a responsible, independent, adult. This was incredibly scary and stressful. Anyone who knows me at all knows that I cannot make decisions whatsoever (it runs in the family). So the idea of having to decide on my entire future in just a few months seemed impossible. Now, in this case most people logically think through things and turn to God for His wisdom and guidance, but I did the complete opposite. I completely shut out reality and even God Himself. I placed said church family as “number one” in my life and decided to make the most of the little time I had left with them, putting literally everything else as second priority to them (yes, even God). This led to some drama naturally and left me cramming to make a decision about college one month before the deadline. With my circumstances, UNC Asheville was essentially my only option so I accepted somewhat unwillingly. My original plan to go there and room with my cousin failed and I liked the campus, but didn’t care enough to look at the academics so I felt unsure about going there. I had heard so many awful things about how “Christians were not accepted there,” it was an “extremely liberal school” (like that’s always a bad thing), and how “all the strange people go there.” All year I had just expected God to place my future in my lap and I wouldn’t have to lift a finger, but at this point it felt like He had just not been paying attention. Needless to say, all of this combined gave me some serious doubts, and being far from God at the time didn’t help. The more I thought about it, the more I disliked it and really believed I had made the wrong choice. I even got upset with God. I mean, how could He send me to such an Anit-Christian, non-popular, weirdo-filled school four hours away from everything I love, right? So I did what I do best again and simply ignored it all.



How did God move and change you through this situation?-One of my last trips as a member of my youth group that summer brought me the confirmation and peace I had been longing for. We were at one of my favorite places in the world, Camp Caswell. It is always the best week of every summer, and this one was no different. That year’s theme was about finding our identity in Christ (how fitting). One night towards the end of the week God shook me and completely broke my heart of stone and remolded it into something beautiful. I was sitting on top of what has been deemed the “Spanish Fort” by our youth group, reflecting on what God had done that week with my friends. I’m not entirely sure how, but God told me that He had wanted me at UNCA for a reason, to do what I love most-to help people. He told me that it was going to be my mission field, preparing me for my future, and that I was going to impact that campus. Like I had heard so many times that year, I finally realized that God had a plan for me all along, to give me a hope and a future, and I was the one not paying attention. I felt a peace and even an excitement about it. After the “camp high” faded a bit I had a few more doubts throughout the summer, but God continued to reassure and grow me. Once I arrived in Asheville I knew God was right and His hand had been in my future all along.

Do you have any advice for someone in a similar circumstance as you?-In every stage of life we are faced with big decisions that are often life-changing. And it never gets any easier or any less frightening. My advice is to not worry, which I know is easier said than done. But worrying does absolutely nothing good for us and essentially is us not trusting God. Whenever you feel doubtful, worried, scared, or whatever simply turn to God. He knows everything about your life and wants what is best for His children, He will never steer you wrong. God has the answers, and He’s just waiting for you to ask for them. I also encourage everyone, whether in a good, bad, or okay stage of life, to find a strong group of other Christians to be closely connected with. Their encouragement, guidance, and love are so vital to growing deeper with Christ.

Tell us about one of your most favorite times or events in your life.-Going to UNCA has honestly been one of the biggest blessings of my life. I never thought I would find anyone like my church family back home, but within the first week God led me to the wonderful people of Campus Crusade. Again, I was immediately accepted and felt wanted there, I even was offered rides to church and was invited to hang out with these kids I hardly knew. I was truly shown God’s love by these people. Cru could never replace my Salem family, but they sure come close. By October I had already become best friends with everyone in Cru and had found my suitemates for next year, and now I’m even a leader. Cru has given me opportunities to grow with other Christians on my campus, reach out and serve my community, and encounter God daily. God has also placed an inspiring, new church family into my life where I have gotten involved with an amazing Bible study that has taken me in like family. Both of these groups have been an incredible blessing and have helped me challenge my faith in so many different ways and really strengthen what I believe. Through the past year I’ve learned that God really does know what He is doing, He will provide what is best for us no matter what. And most importantly, I’ve learned to always trust God with everything. We like to think we have it all under control, but He wrote our life story, so why shouldn’t we turn to Him for guidance?

What are some of your most favorite pieces of scripture?-I have always loved Romans 8, but particularly verses 35-39. It is an incredible reminder that nothing in the entire universe, including ourselves, can separate us from the love of Christ. Because “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” More than conquerors!!! Why should we ever worry about anything if that is true?! God loves us no matter what, and because of that we can conquer the trials of this world through Him who died for us. Along with that, I also love John 16:33-“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” This is a beautiful reminder that God knows we will face hard times and that life isn’t easy, but if we live in Him, we can live in peace. Because if we are in Him, He is in us and He has already overcome all that we will face in this world.

Thanks so much Chloe for sharing your story today! It was such a blessing and encouragement.  

Hope everyone has a wonderful Wednesday!  If you would ever want to Share Your Story just email me!

3 comments:

  1. UNC-A rocks and, in retrospect, I wish I'd considered going there. So many fabulous things up in the NC mountains!

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  2. Chloe,

    I loved reading your story! Thank you for sharing from your heart. I pray your story will be an encouragement to many other young women.

    You are RIGHT - God is and will continue to use you in a MIGHTY way wherever He has placed you, both now and in the future!

    So proud of you!

    Hugs,
    Cyndee

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  3. Wow Chloe - I just read your story and it was such a huge blessing to me. Your testimony is beautiful. I pray God continue to bless you at UNC-A and beyond. I have no doubt that He is going to use you in mighty ways - now and in the future. Thanks for sharing!
    Mrs. N

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