I was born in El Salvador, where my mom and dad got divorced before I turned one.
I never knew my Dad or had the chance to form a relationship with him, but shortly after my mom and I moved to the United States, she got remarried and I finally felt like I had a family.
My relationship with my stepdad was never good, though.
I desired so badly to receive love from a father and to have that special relationship, but I was constantly feeling like I wasn’t good enough and that I wasn’t worth it. I wanted so badly to be loved and was constantly trying to establish my identity in other things, like taking pride in the material things I had, in friendships, and the house I lived in.
The entire time though, I still felt like it wasn’t enough. I felt like I needed the approval of those around me in order to feel valued and loved.
Around junior year of high school, my mom and stepdad got divorced. I felt angry, confused, hurt and unwanted. I began turning to boys, alcohol, and drugs to try to gain that approval and love I was desperately seeking. Alcohol was my escape and a way to avoid my emotions. It was then that I was raped.
Before leaving for college, I was at my lowest. I felt worthless, like I had nothing else to offer. I was so lost in the partying lifestyle and was convinced this was what life was all about.
The second week of school at the University of Central Florida, I was invited to Cru, where I signed up for a small group. Although apprehensive the first week, I went and left feeling surprisingly good.
I remember feeling so loved and watching the other girls and the joy they had while talking about this Savior. It made me want what they had.
As I kept attending small group and began to be discipled, I began to understand the gospel. I still wasn’t ready to make the decision to follow Christ until I went home Christmas break. It was then that for the first time, I became aware of the weight of sin in my life and my need for a Savior.
It was as if a blindfold had been removed from my eyes; I was able to see and understand why I needed Jesus, and that he LOVED me. In that moment I accepted Christ into my life.
Even from that moment I have seen God teach me so much. I’ve come to understand that I have a heavenly Father who is crazy about me; He genuinely cares and knows me. And because of his death on the cross, I can be forgiven and live a life free in Christ. I no longer turn to temporary things for approval or worth because I know that my worth and identity lie fully in Jesus and what he did for me!
Never in my life have I experienced joy or peace like I have now. And although I continue to sin daily, I am daily shown God’s grace and reminded of just how much I need Him.
What’s your story? Did you become a Christian through Cru or any ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ? If so, tell us more at firstname.lastname@example.org.