If you are new to JP Ministries, let me introduce myself. My name is Joy and I am a 22 year old, curly haired brunette who is madly in love with Jesus. Today I’ll be answering a few questions about my journey of believing the gospel, surrendering my life to Jesus and living for God. If you have any additional questions for me – leave them in the comment section below! xoxo Joy
What was your life like before you met Jesus?
I searched for love, fulfillment, and acceptance in all the wrong places. I was a happy person, but I just felt like there had to be something more to life. I turned to guys and friends seeking love and approval, but nothing was enough. I was told religion would satisfy me, so I went to church and tried to be a ‘good and perfect’ person. I failed miserably.
I was doing it all wrong. Nothing satisfied me. Yet, Jesus kept pursuing me.
What was central in your life before Jesus? Where did you find security, happiness? What made/makes you feel valuable, significant?
Before Jesus, life was all about me and what I thought would make me feel loved. I felt secure when I was held in the arms of a guy. I felt loved when they told me I was beautiful. I did whatever it took to have those feelings, even though in my heart I knew something wasn’t right. I questioned, this can’t be real love? There has to be something more.
In what way did see these areas let you down?
I entered college still looking for fulfillment. I had given up on church because I was sick of trying to be perfect and always failing and feeling guilty. I had yet to experience God’s grace.
I searched for love, but I never found it. I again turned to guys, but this time was date raped. My heart broke. I was depressed and filled with shame, but Jesus saw the situation differently. Jesus kept pursing me.
When was the first time you heard the gospel?
I had heard the gospel growing up in church and at Jumonville, a Christian summer camp, but it never clicked until college.
The gospel finally clicked as I was sharing my faith on a Cru Spring Break mission trip. We went out evangelizing on the beach. I went with a girl a few years older, and we sat down with a lady who was at the beach that day. As I listened to my friend share the gospel with this woman I had just met, it clicked in my mind and heart. It clicked that I had never fully surrendered my life to Jesus. It clicked that I wanted to know God personally. It clicked that I could not do life on my own and that I would never find fulfillment without God.
So on a mission trip where I was supposed to share the gospel with others and pray for their salvation, God choose to save me.
Before college I knew about God, and I believed in Jesus, but not until college did I make the individual choice to make Jesus the king of my life. Before, everything was about me. I was the king of my life, but now Jesus is king. I no longer only give God my Sunday mornings, I give him my whole life.
What were your initial reactions?
Entering college, I thought I was already a Christian, but when I heard my friend say that I could know God personally, it began to make sense. That was the huge part I had been missing all along.
My freshman year in college, I was so broken and at the end of myself, that I had no other choice but to give everything to God and trust that he could heal me. I believe God had to break my heart in order for me to open my eyes to him.
When did your attitude begin to turn around? Why?
God brought me to a point of utter dependency. I was a freshman in college, in a different state, without close friends, depressed, shameful, and Jesus used all of this to get me to reach out to him. My whole life I went to church, but I lacked the heart of Christianity, a personal relationship with Jesus. I was not living a fulfilled and satisfied life because I was looking for love in all the wrong places.
I began to finally understand that only through a personal relationship with Jesus could I find complete fulfillment. After realizing this, I learned that God truly loves me, even with my brokenness, and has a wonderful plan for my life. I learned that I was broken and searching, but God was perfect and holy. I learned that I can know 100% that I will spend eternity with my savior, and it had nothing to do with being good enough.
In your own words, what is the gospel?
God desires to know us, but our sin stands in the way. Since God wanted so badly for us to be together in a relationship, he sent his son Jesus to die for our sins, so that we could know God personally. It is not enough to believe in Jesus, we have to fully surrender our lives to him. We have to fully believe that the cross is enough.
In what way/s do you find yourself drawn to Jesus?
I’m drawn to Jesus because of the way he makes my heart feel. It’s hard to explain, but when I get to spend time with Jesus reading his word for a long period of time, my heart feels so full. When my heart is full of Jesus, I just want to dance. Jesus is the perfect savior. He loves me for who I am, not who I want to be. He knows my heart, has seen me in my most darkest moments, and yet still gave his life for me. Jesus is the prince charming I was always looking for.
How does this truth that you are greatly loved while also being deeply flawed compel your heart towards worshiping Jesus?
I used to only believe the second part – that I was deeply flawed. Once I started to believe that I was also greatly loved, then I could really experience God’s grace and the power of the cross.
How do you see Jesus continue to meet you in your brokenness?
Today, I still fail. I still make myself king. I put myself on the throne every time I do what I want instead of what God wants. Thank goodness for grace and forgiveness. I am learning that relationships are not one time decisions, but are lifelong journeys. I am on a journey to try and make Jesus the main character, and that everything I do would be about him.
Jesus is still working in my heart and is still fixing the brokenness. But it is amazing to look back and see how far I’ve come, and Jesus gets all the credit.