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!
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.
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!