I constantly found myself making plans. I planned out my days, my weeks, and even my years to a certain degree. My bladder condition had forced me to become a life planner. Some days I felt as if my mind would plan my actions minute by minute. At the age of 13, I can remember sitting on the front porch with my mom just after dark. She had just gotten off the phone with a doctor from UVA and delivered the news. I kept repeating the diagnosis over and over again, thinking that the more I pronounced the words that they would make more sense.
Interstitial Cysistis is a big and fancy way to say that my body is attacking its own bladder, which causes ulcers, thinning of the tissue, and most importantly, pain. After two surgeries and almost two years bedridden, my entire life focused around my health. I stopped showering, stopped eating regularly, and felt that it was just easier to be asleep than to feel the pain.
Coming from a family that went to church every Sunday, I felt like I knew who God was. I had this image in my head that this old man in the clouds held the world in his hands, and somehow I just slipped through his fingers. How could He claim to love me but make me go through this horrible situation? I began looking everywhere else for love until I thought I found it in a teenage boy. Struggling through the pain, I managed to return to high school and eventually attend Radford.
The end of my sophomore year in college is where it all finally started to become clear. I was invited to a service held by Chi Alpha, and I made excuses not to go. I was terrified that I would be judged, or that I would not fit in. During the service, I felt nervous and ashamed. My childhood of church going, the mistakes that I have made, and my false Christianity led me to where I was that night. I was lost, and I was hungry. At the end of the service, the speaker called out to anyone who needed the Lord. He asked for anyone to come to the front so that he could pray over them, and I did not go. I stood in the back row, tears rolling down my face and shaking in my bones. The Lord was calling me. I could feel my heart being pulled down to the front of the room, but I stayed. After a few minutes, I just couldn’t resist the call any longer. I thought to myself, “This is my chance”, and I moved to the front. People immediately surrounded me, and the hands of strangers and friends touched my shoulders. Everything I had been holding in my heart raced out through my fingertips. The electricity and fire lit up my entire body until I fell to my knees.
Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Since that night, I had the opportunity to have a water baptism surrounded by tons of my friends. In January of 2017, I felt the call on my life to do missions work in the nation of Cololmbia, and have been there twice on spring break missions trips. It's definitely still a struggle to get through painful days or rough situations, but I have not felt alone once since giving it all to God. He used Chi Alpha to literally change my life. I no longer feel the constant need to plan out every detail of my life, but instead I trust in God's plans and try my best to let Him be the guide