Not About Rules

A college student discovers what church is really about.

Monique (left) with her mentor Karen. photo courtesy Jeff Grant

Every time I met a Christian, I felt almost a jealousy: They can live the Christian life, but I can’t.

I was fearful that I couldn’t have a boyfriend or go to a party or feel like I had a normal life. I felt like there were a bunch of rules, so I just did my own thing.

Then at Georgian Court University, I was running a table for the vegetarian society on Club Day. Next to my table was Karen from Campus Crusade for Christ. She was just so welcoming and I felt like I could open up with her. I said, “you know what, I’m going to try this out,” and I accepted Jesus into my heart.

But I still didn’t feel changed. I was living the life that I was living with my boyfriend and I still wasn’t having a daily relationship with Jesus or even trying to. Then Karen asked if she could mentor me. I learned how to walk in my Christian life. She bought me my first study Bible, and I still use it all the time. It’s just great being able to open up with somebody you can trust.

She told me what I was doing was wrong, but not because God was angry and going to punish me. It was more that I was hurting myself and could be living a much more fruitful life.

The Lord kept speaking into my heart that I needed to get out of that relationship, which I did, and to surrender my life to Him.

I grew up thinking church was a chore, but I went to church with Karen and it is so different. I brought my mom and my sister and we all got baptized together. It’s a miracle because my father also goes now. It’s amazing how God can save a whole family through people.

Before, my life was in slavery to rules and I wasn’t me. But, God has been seeking me my whole life. I have a new identity in Jesus Christ and I’m truly free to be me.

I thought I was going to have to sacrifice something to follow God, but He did everything perfectly according to His will and it’s just amazing. I met Marco, now my husband, and God had prepared us both for each other during the time we weren’t together. Now I serve in a church, and the Lord has given us those experiences so that we can help others now.